All it takes is one drive through the Mile High City — navigating new construction and moving vans — to know there is a wave of migration continuing to happen in the greater Denver metro area. Millennials in particular are flocking to Denver for its healthy job market, plethora of recreational opportunities, progressive culture and urban feel.
With this influx of population, Denver has also become one of the best places in the country to work in real estate. The metro area housing market continues to lead the nation in a variety of categories, and Realtors are now finding the benefits and support provided by Realtor organizations to be not only beneficial, but crucial.
Four years ago, three Denver-area Realtor Associations merged to form what is now the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR) — one of the largest Realtor associations in the nation with more than 5,500 members and growing.
Since that defining merger, DMAR has grown to adapt to the booming real estate market and the subsequent needs of its members. Denver isn’t the only city with a booming housing market, though. If local Realtor associations are looking to stay relevant, they need to learn how to grow and adapt to address the changing needs of members.
There’s a reason Dale Stinton, CEO of the National Association of Realtors, commented that the progressive posture of DMAR serves as a model for others in the real estate industry to follow.
From my desk to yours, here are five things local associations need to change in order to stay relevant:
1. Choose collaboration over competition.
To adapt to the growing market, Realtor organizations need to cut through the bureaucracy and politics that often weigh down organizations and create a united front.
During our merger four years ago, we came together and implemented changes with two goals in mind: to serve our growing community and strengthen the Realtor brand. Making decisions for the benefit of the agent and broker has always been our guiding principle.
2. Create an environment that promotes synergy among members.
Earlier this year, DMAR relocated its headquarters — from the cyber cafe and member lounge to our state-of-the-art training facility — to a new 6,700-square-foot office space that more adequately reflects our adaptability to a growing membership base.
We wanted a design inspired by our commitment to collaboration that was also inviting and flexible for the on-the-go needs of our members.
3. Offer truly valuable resources to members.
As part of our transformation, DMAR began adding real value to its membership benefits. One successful example is the publication of our monthly Market Trends Report, which provides timely, consistent and relevant summaries of local real estate market data accompanied by insights from industry experts.
The report is consistently recognized by numerous media outlets as providing pertinent commentary for the real estate industry. The goal is to find a trademark benefit that continues to stay top of mind of members.
4. Engage online.
After a successful rebranding, we were determined to stay on brand and offer members a truly unique online experience. That is why our new website is interactive, responsive and mobile with tons of engaging content.
We are making it easier for members to connect, communicate with each other and access all the information we provide more effectively. Associations across the country need to focus on staying digitally relevant and becoming a desirable resource to the larger community.
5. Elevate the Realtor brand.
Divided, we can’t accomplish our goals — our voice is stronger and our impact is bigger if we work together to protect and elevate the Realtor brand. DMAR is building a stronger community of dedicated Realtors through its continued work with other local associations, as well as the Colorado Association of Realtors at the state level.
Together, we’ve defended key issues important to Realtors and consumers, and we’ve protected the industry as a whole.
I am incredibly proud of the progress that has been made at DMAR since our merger, and I’m looking forward to seeing continued success stories as other Realtor associations put these five recommendations into practice.
As we proceed — whether large or small — all Realtor associations must be open to the changes that are necessary to thrive during this evolving time in our industry.
Above all else, we must be steadfast in our mission to put the best interest of the real estate agent and broker at the forefront of everything we do, and we must foster our unique value propositions for the betterment of members and the real estate community as a whole.
Ann Turner is the chief executive officer at the Denver Metro Association of Realtors (DMAR). You can follow DMAR on Twitter at @DMARealtors.