In the face of recent legal challenges, including a mind-boggling $1.8 billion commission lawsuit verdict and a fresh wave of class action lawsuits, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) finds itself at a critical crossroads. The failure of NAR to win these cases and the fallout from these events have sparked a profound introspection within our community, leading many agents to question the value of their affiliation with NAR, most recently this Seattle-based Coldwell Banker brokerage.
Questions like, “Is it still worthwhile to pay our dues? Should we look for designations elsewhere? What tangible benefits does NAR offer us now? Even what have you done for me lately?” are not rhetorical. They reflect a deep-seated unease and a demand for accountability and change.
The historical significance of NAR
To understand the current predicament and the way forward, we must revisit the roots of NAR. Founded in 1908, NAR was not just another professional association but a revolutionary force that reshaped the real estate industry. Its establishment began a new era characterized by structure, ethics, and professionalism in a field that was once akin to the Wild West — unregulated and chaotic.
Over the years, NAR has been instrumental in championing landmark legislations and standards that have become the bedrock of modern real estate practice. The organization played a pivotal role in advocating for the Fair Housing Act, which transformed the landscape of property ownership in America.
NAR has also been at the forefront of developing and enforcing ethical codes that have elevated the reputation and integrity of the real estate profession. These codes protected consumers and ensured a level playing field for realtors, fostering a healthier, more competitive market.
Navigating current challenges
Despite these significant contributions, NAR’s recent history has been tumultuous, especially under the leadership that has been in place for the last several years. The organization faces allegations and legal battles that question its operational and ethical standards.
This has led to a crisis of confidence among so many members. A whole swath of our community is now reevaluating their association with NAR, and pondering whether the organization still upholds the values it was built upon.
Yet, at least in my opinion, it’s crucial to recognize that abandoning NAR in these trying times is not the solution. As members, our relationship with NAR is symbiotic. The organization’s strength and legitimacy stem from its members. We are NAR, and it is us.
Our disenchantment is not just with the organization but also with what it has come to represent. However, this also means that we possess the collective power to instigate reform and reinvigorate the association.
The path forward
Revitalizing NAR starts with active participation and engagement at all levels. This is a call to action for every real estate professional who has ever benefited from the protections and opportunities that NAR has provided. We must delve into the local chapters, participate in committees, and engage in constructive dialogue about the future of our profession. Each voice matters, and every action counts.
Reforming NAR requires a clear-eyed assessment of its current challenges and a committed effort to address them. This includes enhancing transparency, reevaluating leadership structures, and ensuring that the organization’s activities align with the best interests of its members and the public. It also means advocating for policies and practices that reflect the evolving nature of real estate in the 21st century.
Embracing the challenge
The journey ahead is not just about restoring faith in NAR; it’s about redefining and reinforcing our commitment to the principles of fairness, ethics and professionalism in real estate. This is an opportunity for us, the collective body of real estate professionals, to shape the future of our industry. It’s a chance to rebuild, reimagine, and reaffirm the values that NAR was founded upon.
As we navigate these challenging times, let’s remember NAR’s pivotal role and can continue to play in our professional lives. Our collective action can transform this period of uncertainty into a defining moment for NAR and the entire real estate industry. The future is not predetermined; it is shaped by our actions, decisions, and commitment to the ideals we hold dear.
The question isn’t whether we should abandon NAR but rather how we can work together to restore its legacy and guide it toward a brighter future. Let’s embrace this challenge with the same spirit of innovation, integrity, and community service that has been the hallmark of NAR since 1908.
Let’s not just be proud members of NAR; let’s be the driving force that reclaims and revitalizes our association. The future of real estate depends on it, and so does our collective pride in an industry we have all worked so hard to uphold. Together, we can steer NAR back to its rightful place as a beacon of excellence in the real estate world.