The Mainstreet Organization of Realtors (MORe) will become the largest Realtor association in Illinois and fourth largest in the nation when it merges with the Realtor Association of NorthWest Chicagoland (RANWC) on Oct. 1.
Members of both organizations voted last week to sign off on a merger plan adopted by the associations’ boards in May. The merged associations will operate as MORe, serving nearly 16,000 Realtors in close to 200 municipalities in DuPage, Lake and suburban Cook County.
MORe CEO Pam Krieter will oversee the merged association, and RANWC CEO Peggy Kayser will assume the role of chief programs director.
MORe — which with 11,500 members is more than twice as big as RANWC — is based in Downers Grove, and operates satellite offices in Naperville and Tinley Park.
Realtor association exec-turned-consultant Jerry Matthews says that when he’s working with associations that want to explore mergers, he can "get them to the preacher," but "it’s up to them to get married."
Although there are compelling reasons for Realtor associations to consider consolidation, there’s also no shortage of issues that can derail merger talks — even after they’re well under way.
Having an objective third-party mediator "is probably the biggest thing" determining whether merger talks will succeed or fail, he said.
"When one member tries to drive the process, they are biased or perceived as biased," Matthews said. "When you have negotiations between parties, one of the parties can’t be the facilitator. This is not a (for-sale-by-owner) deal — you should have somebody who’s been through it, and knows the nuances."
Jerry Matthews has never shied away from contemplating the "what ifs" that keep Realtor association executives awake at night.
In 1989, when Matthews was CEO of the Florida Association of Realtors, he produced a video that explored some dramatic changes he thought might play out in real estate over the next 20 years.
The video asked its audience to consider what would happen if Realtor associations lost their control over multiple listings services (MLSs).
It also considered what the implications would be if the "three way agreement" — ties that bind the National Association of Realtors to state and local associations, requiring members to pay dues to all three — was declared invalid.