A Message To You From NAR!

As I predicted in my article on March 25th, your National Association of Realtors® officially rubber-stamped the national dues increase of 50% in the face of overwhelming agent opposition.  I was troubled when it was floated without so much as asking us, the membership, but I thought maybe I was out of touch with the mainstream agent opinion.

Then came the flood of comments — my little blog article received five times more comments than most lead editorials in the New York Times.  I realized that I had touched a nerve.  The comments were, just like me, overwhelmingly against the proposed dues increase.  I was glad to see that I wasn’t out of touch, but that NAR was.

Several of my readers asked me if I would do something… if I would use my meager platform and my ability to articulate my opinion to help stop NAR from cramming the dues increase down our throats.  After some thought I decided to at least try to use what little influence I have to help change their minds.  I suspected I was on a fool’s errand but thought that if I didn’t at least try then I couldn’t complain later.

So I used the technology resources at my disposal, combined with the flood of comments I received from my readers, to put together a survey that would give NAR a statistically valid basis for changing their minds.  When we put the survey in the field, as we anticipated, the results we received were astoundingly one-sided.  See for yourself.

And more importantly, with nearly a thousand survey submissions, we were able to provide NAR with a very high confidence level.  The statistical margin of error was a remarkably low 3.17% — a much lower margin of error than most political surveys conducted today.  And as it turns out, we were not the only ones assessing agent sentiment.  There were at least two others that queried members.

Another real estate blog, AgentGenius.com conducted their own poll which showed agent sentiment strongly against the dues increase.  RealTown conducted a survey where over 82% of the agents who responded were against the dues increase.  In other words, our survey was not an anomaly.  The member opinion was very clear and non-ambiguous.

What was the common result?  Agents were/are universally and overwhelmingly against the dues increase.  There was simply no room for misinterpretation of member sentiment.  At least three surveys and NAR leadership was aware of all three.  And at least three overwhelmingly negative outcomes.  But that didn’t in any way deter your National Association of Realtors® directors.  And why not?

Because they know what is best for you.  You and I are too stupid to know what’s going on!  Without the all-knowing, all-caring, almighty hand of the National Association of Realtors® how can we possibly make it in this world?  They know it all.  We know nothing.  Political activism is the cure for all that ails our industry.  Didn’t you know that?

And they’ve demonstrated that they are so very good at political activism.  So good, in fact, that I challenge any of my readers to cite one single example where NAR successfully changed a political outcome.  The fact is there are no examples to be found.  Millions and millions of our dollars spent.  No tangible results. Think about it.  Banks in real estate?  Nope.  Keeping our listings private?  Are you kidding?  Their greed actually opened the door when they sold our listings to Realtor.com.

No, they are good at spending our money… at wasting our money.  And I am sick of it.  I have a better idea.  How about we take up our own causes.  When something effects us, we know it.  We don’t need to fund the huge expense accounts of our out-of-touch NAR officers and directors. Thanks, but no thanks.

Here is my bottom line:  It’s not the $40.  It is the blatant and arrogant disregard for the very clearly articulated opinions of us, the members.  We’re stupid and out of touch.  We don’t even know what is best for us and so they don’t want to hear from us.  Don’t believe me?  Try finding the contact information for any single director or officer on the entire Realtor.org website.   No, they don’t want to talk to us.  They want to rule over us and spend our money.

I say, “Fire them all!”  The sooner the better.  I neither want them nor need them to represent my interests — in fact, they have now shown me that they have little regard for my interests or the interests of 97% of the agent community.  Am I being too harsh? Let me ask you this: What would you do if it were your yard guy?  Your maid?  Your secretary? Your mechanic? Your attorney? You’d fire them.  As far as I’m concerned, they work for us, and they are giving us the finger.  I say throw them out now!

But that’s just me.  If you feel the same way, or if you totally disagree, please take a moment to post a comment.  I’d love to hear your opinion.

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Comments 21

  1. author Bob Latigona posted May 20th 2011. 4:44 pm

    NAR increases board dues, while agents are making less income, go figure!

  2. author Bill Schmiett posted May 20th 2011. 4:49 pm

    I say withhold the $40 from next years dues. This will of course put us in suspended status and let’s see if NAR can claim to represent as many agents as they claim now.

  3. author Jack Walton Jr posted May 20th 2011. 4:53 pm

    NAR was using scare tactics to get this passed. I was told Congress was going to do away with the Mortgage Interest Deduction. I am personnel friends with my Congressman and she told me it would be political sucide to do this. She stated it is and has never been talked about on Capital Hill. I was not able to locate anything other than what was coming down through my local association concerning doing away with MID.

  4. author Mitch Muller posted May 20th 2011. 6:27 pm

    I think we should all box up $40 dollars worth of pennies to pay the increase, and enclose this article with a copy of the picture at the top this page!! I agree with you 100% Max and wish I could do what you did. Unfortunately, they have a monopoly stranglehold on me as I have a company with 30 agents. I wish somebody would come up with a kick a$$ private national MLS!

  5. author Sharon Currie posted May 20th 2011. 6:40 pm

    What incentive does NAR have NOT to raise fees? They govern a body of people who have no choice but to pay whatever is required of them. Hmmmm ….. history repeating itself. Where is Robin Hood when you need him?

  6. author Anonymous User posted May 20th 2011. 4:46 pm

    I think they are rogues.

    They are there to serve us.

    Obviously that is not what they do or believe as their actions clearly indicate.

    We are in the worst real estate recession in history and they are increasing our dues. What rationality will justify that?

    They are no better than our politicians who are running up our national debt and will continue to do so. After all, it is not their money.

    Ratna Babu
    Peoria, IL

  7. author Anonymous User posted May 20th 2011. 4:52 pm

    I didn’t like the unilateral 50% dues increase either and since NAR chose to act like Obama’s Congress, I refused to renew my membership with them. This is one American who will fight back against forcing something down my throat. The sheer idiocy of them to do it anyway. I’m certain other Realtors feel exactly as I do.

  8. author Anonymous User posted May 20th 2011. 4:54 pm

    the folks at NAR and the DC politcians are all drinking the same water

  9. author Max Smith posted May 20th 2011. 4:55 pm

    Thank you Matt and Realtown for your surveys!!

    I finally fired the crooked b@stards this year by not renewing my membership… first time in almost 15 years… and I know of other brokerages following suit. And for those extra greedy local states where the local Realtor Assoc. has a monopoly on MLS data and FORCES you to purchase Realtor membership FIRST, before they will “allow” you the right to purchase MLS data direct (that they also own)… didn’t Microsoft go down for this same thing?? I thought bundling services like this was anti-competitive? I know for certain that it creates unfair competition against other professional organizations and can even prevent a licensee from purchasing MLS data for an area and that does neither the broker nor the client any good.

    Personally… I think it’s incredible that they were able to vote in the rule (and have been getting away with it all these years) that an entire brokerage either has to be all Realtor or no Realtor firm at all. Talk about anti-competitive.. NAR has to FORCE people to belong?!! Belonging should be an individual choice and should NOT be a prerequisite to the brokerage you work for or being able to purchase the separate MLS subscription. Federal and State Trade Commissions… where are you when we need you?

    Thanks again Matt!! Max

  10. author Ginger Pugliese posted May 20th 2011. 5:47 pm

    Ron Phipps stated, ‘As the only organization speaking on behalf of America’s home owners, NAR must remain strong and influential at all levels of government. ‘ Clearly, he is NOT speaking on behalf of the actual ‘members’…the Realtors. If NAR wants to speak on behalf of property owners, then he should get the additional monies from them.
    At a time when many Realtors are struggling to pay bills, keep up their health insurance, and in some cases, keep their doors open, the dues increase is a blatant slap in the face. If the dues increase would assist in obtaining health insurance coverage for agents, the money would be better spent.

  11. author Anonymous User posted May 20th 2011. 5:47 pm

    I personally never liked the thought of career politicans or any professions that are not based upon actual performance. I always thought that NAR dues were too high already.What is the total $$ amount NAR receives each year in revenue & what % of that is used for all forms of compensation & expenses for administrative costs? Can we reduce expenditures instead of increasing dues ? Has that approach been used at all ? Basically I just have similar questions about total costs & total revenues.Last, but not least,how do make this information available to ALL members so we can make fact based suggestions to NAR rather than just say we do not want to spend more money ? Of course all suggestions are welcome.

  12. author Pearl Bozzay posted May 20th 2011. 10:14 pm

    We should NOT give them this power. Take it away from them… Fire them All and we have enough smart people in our organization to come up with a better solution. What happened to the people’s best interest? We have to stop this Spending habbit once and for all……

  13. author Anonymous User posted May 20th 2011. 10:56 pm

    Taxation without representation!! Sound familiar!!! Same thing our congressman are doing to us. We have no voice,yet!

  14. author Susan Sandoz posted May 21st 2011. 10:34 am

    Thanks Matt. How would you boycott this increase as in my office you have to be a local board member for MLS access (and along with that comes CAR and NAR) and dues come all bundled together in one large amount due. Do you suggest deducting the $40 for NAR when the bill arrives? If I don’t pay board dues, I have no MLS access within my office.

  15. author Anonymous User posted May 21st 2011. 1:18 pm

    What Matt points out is the embarrassingly little good NAR seems to do for Real Estate. It’s almost proportional to a protection racket. While they may not send Guido if you don’t pay, they don’t seem to do much for the industry with all the millions they collect from agents.

    I smell a bunch of lazy NAR executives skimming huge salaries, but apparently not doing much to earn it. Reminds me of some charity organizations that devour huge percentages of donations to enrich its executives and then a tiny left over percentage is trickled to the actual cause.

    More than ever in the era of “Obama intrusions”, every industry today needs protection from arrogant narcissistic big government interference. Especially industries involved in housing where the Obama doctrine is for government to outright control huge swaths of the economy. You/we the people need to be defended from government power-grabs and NAR is supposed to be doing that.

    If NAR is showing signs of greed and apathy, they may be too far gone to repair.
    Perhaps agents should de-fund NAR by not renewing membership and create something else that represents them. Kind of like a Tea Party for Realtors.

    Getting rid of bloated government is priority one along with getting rid of entrenched apathetic organizations, and crooked Unions.

    NAR is starting to look NAR-cissistic.

    Mr. Trump will aptly close now …… “NAR … You’re Fired”

  16. author Deborah J. Amery posted May 22nd 2011. 2:12 pm

    I also have been curious about is the compensation and expense budgets of the NAR staff and board. We, as Realtors, for the most part have taken income hits. When we do most of us take the time to see where our expenses are and how can we economize. We reassess how we are spending our money and how to put it to better use.

    As an example, a fellow Realtor in the Midwest was going to the NAR National conference. As she boarded the plane, on her way to coach, she noted that her local board was all seated in first class. Another member posted on her blog about how when the NAR came to her area they were booked in the most expensive hotel.

    I think it is time that we know where our money is going and how it is being spent. I would like to see the compensation and expense reports. It is our money, we should know where it is going. It is time for the NAR to prove to us that they are taking steps to cut unnecessary expenses.

  17. author Anonymous User posted May 22nd 2011. 11:19 am

    Matt, please, post the names of those on the Board with NAR who voted to increase our dues.

  18. author Matt Jones posted May 22nd 2011. 4:05 pm

    Thank you guys for reading and for posting. I would love to know where all the millions go. I can’t find it anywhere on the Realtor.org website. I wonder why? I’d love to post the names and contact information for all the directors, but unfortunately, those are not available on the NAR website either. Sure makes you wonder why?

  19. author Anonymous User posted May 23rd 2011. 2:15 pm

    I am not opposed to a National Association of Realtors if it’s truly a National Association that represents us all as Realtor’s. We should concentrate on a national association and empower them not local or state associations, we should be involved on a National level with leaders in the Real Estate industry, vote with term limits and vote in associates with experience in the industry as active Realtors that have actually assisted consumers with buying and selling their homes -those are true Realtors, track records should be the main consideration, how long has the board member/officer been an active Realtor, what are their recommendations, what kinds of civic activity have they been involved with…these should all be taken into account. I’d like to see gone the days of the high-powered executives who have the financial means to rise to the crest but not the knowledge.

    Why is the USA so far behind in offering what’s in the consumers best interest? We should enjoy reciprocity with each state and our licenses should be transferable anywhere in the US with state applicable differences the only part that needs to be addressed.

    We are professionals, we have earned the right to be listened to and respected, especially by those who are voted in to represent us. No problem paying an increase if we receive an increase in the product being offered. So far, that’s not occuring.

  20. author Bruce Forge posted June 3rd 2011. 1:44 pm

    Fundamental fact is that if you earn money providing quality service to willing clients as a real estate agent, then all of it is yours.

    You traded your time and use of your mind (your knowledge and skill gained through your study) in a fair exchange of value. No one has a higher claim on you (your money, your time, your life) than you do.

    This is true for all men who earn their bread through non coerced exchange with other similar men.

    We must stop feeding cannibals, whether at NAR or any other alphabet soup agency. All we get are broken promises and lies.

    Whether by force or by fraud, through the history of man, when you accept their lie that they or anyone has a valid claim on your life because they “need” it, you have met another cannibal.

    The solution is to say just say NO.

    Matt states that about 97% of those who responded to his survey said NO. What would happen to NAR if 97% of their members dropped out?

    So, what are you waiting for?

  21. author Matt Jones posted June 3rd 2011. 2:26 pm

    Hi Bruce. I’m waiting on a national MLS!