The National Association of Realtors is gearing up to host its first hybrid in-person and virtual annual conference next week, where the lineup includes star athletes Drew Brees and Simone Biles, an economic update and forecast and votes on a slew of proposed multiple listing service policies that have the eye of antitrust regulators.
NAR, which has 1.5 million members, has chosen “Rise and Shine” as this year’s theme for the Realtors Conference & Expo, colloquially known as “NAR Annual,” which will take place Nov. 10-15 at the San Diego Convention Center.
The event will offer 80 educational sessions on a variety of topics, including emerging real estate technology, housing supply, housing affordability, cybersecurity, the Realtor Code of Ethics and fair housing, as well as governance meetings for the trade group’s dozens of committees.
NAR expects about 10,000 attendees at the event, all of whom will be required to either show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within the previous 72 hours. The trade group is offering a “virtual pass” for those who would like to attend educational sessions from home; governance meetings will largely be in person, with the exception of the NAR board of directors meeting and delegate body meeting on Nov. 15, which will be livestreamed to NAR members who log in at nar.realtor.
“NAR’s last in-person annual conference was nearly two years ago. In that time, Realtors have risen to meet daunting business challenges and have helped lead our industry and our economy through the difficult times presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler in a statement.
“NAR members and real estate professionals from around the world will come together to share best practices, network, give back to the local community, and shine a light on what’s new and next in our constantly changing industry.”
The agenda for the event includes appearances from two superstar athletes: former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who will join Oppler for the conference’s general session on Nov. 13, and four-time Olympic gold medalist gymnast Simone Biles, who will deliver the keynote address during the conference’s general session on Nov. 14. Both sessions will be livestreamed.
On Nov. 12, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun will give his usual — and highly anticipated — economic trends update and forecast for the housing market at the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum, which will also be livestreamed.
On Nov 13, Oppler and CNBC contributor and radio host Ron Insana will discuss the nation’s political climate during the livestreamed Federal Legislative and Political Forum.
MLS policy will also be on the minds of attendees, though they will have to be in person to catch any debate fireworks before the board of directors meeting. NAR’s MLS Executives Session and MLS Forum will be on Nov. 11 and its Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee meeting will be on Nov. 13.
In September and October, the trade group’s MLS advisory board approved several policies the committee will consider, including a request from real estate brokerage giant Realogy to change a rule regarding listing broker attribution as well as rules regarding buyer agents touting their services as “free,” filtering listings by commission or brokerage name and broker back office feeds. NAR will also consider a policy requiring MLSs to display buyer broker commissions on their listing sites and in the data feeds they provide to agents and brokers.
The proposed policies regarding buyer agents, filtering listings by commission and displaying buyer broker commissions were inspired by a now-scuttled antitrust settlement between NAR and the U.S. Department of Justice.
Any proposals approved by the MLS committee would then go to the NAR board of directors, who will meet on Nov. 15. If the board votes in favor of the policies they would go into effect Jan. 1, 2022 and MLSs would have until March 1 to implement them. The trade group will also install its 2022 officers at the Nov. 15 board meeting.