After nearly two years of talks, the members of two Ohio real estate boards have approved a merger.

The Cleveland Area Board of Realtors (CABOR) and the Akron Area Board of Realtors (AABOR), which have 4,500 members combined, will merge Oct. 1 to become the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors.

“There’s more power in numbers,” Tony DeLuke, the Akron board’s president, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We’re really into lobbying and protecting homeowners’ rights, and you have a bigger voice when you have a bigger board.”

The merger was subject to member approval. The Cleveland board’s members voted online between July 3 and 17 while the Akron board’s members voted at a special meeting on July 17. About 13 percent of the Akron board’s 1,400 or so members showed up to vote at the special meeting, and nearly 70 percent favored the merger, the Plain Dealer said.

Both boards are more than 100 years old. In a statement, DeLuke and Joanne Zettl, board chairwoman of CABOR, said their members recognized the advantages of regionalism.

“Our members will now be served by a much larger, stronger and more influential association,” they said.

Later this month, CABOR and AABOR will put in place a shared board of directors to file paperwork, implement new policies and search for a CEO, the Plain Dealer said. The merged association will continue to maintain both current board offices in Akron and Independence due to existing leases in force until 2017, DeLuke told the paper.

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