It’s been a tough several years but the market is improving and REALTORS® share in the credit for that, NAR President Moe Veissi told a standing-room-only crowd at 59 ½ Minutes, the member and director forum that kicked off the 2012 REALTORS® Conference & Expo here in Orlando last night.
“It’s because of REALTORS® that we’re getting the real estate market back on track,” Veissi said. “REALTORS® don’t just talk about how home ownership matters; we live it!”
REALTORS® have always been the heart of the deal in real estate, Veissi said, and that’s evident in the outpouring of support by REALTORS® in the wake of the devastating Hurricane Sandy, which left more than 100 people dead along the northeast coast and caused tens of billions of dollars in property destruction.
To continue the strong show of support by REALTORS®, Veissi encouraged members to join NAR in contributing if they haven’t already done so by stopping by the booth of the REALTOR® Relief Foundation in the Orange County Convention Center. “We all have the opportunity to be a hero right now,” he said.
NAR has already donated funds and is matching contributions from members dollar for dollar up to $500,000.
Attendees at the forum got the chance to preview a 30-minute video produced by NAR about how much REALTORS® do in their communities every day. The REALTOR® Heroes video, which premiered at the forum and will be showing on screens throughout the conference and in the expo, showcases the extraordinary work of five ordinary REALTORS® whose work has made a difference in the housing opportunities available in their communities.
Attendees at the forum also heard about some of the major initiatives NAR has rolled out this year, including making the REALTORS Property Resource® available to all members.
RPR, which launched two years ago, includes data on almost 150 million parcels of real estate in the United States and has partnered with MLSs and associations and others, representing 425 markets and almost 70 percent of REALTORS®. Now that it’s available nationally, all members can access RPR’s database and use its analytical, valuation, and reporting tools, although the data depth is greater in markets with participating MLSs. RPR also launched a commercial version of its tools.
Attendees also heard about NAR’s success helping REALTOR® champions in the national elections earlier this week. The congressional candidates in 7 out of 8 independent expenditure races approved by the trustees of the REALTORS® Political Action Committee came out on top, and these were very hard-fought races, said NAR Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jerry Giovaniello.
In independent expenditure races, RPAC runs ads in support of candidates but without any coordination or communication with the campaigns. RPAC saw a similar rate of success with its 96 opportunity races, in which advocacy and get-out-the-vote efforts on behalf of candidates is directed at the REALTOR® community.
State and local political advocacy efforts also saw a lot of success. In the past year, 550 associations tapped REALTOR® Party resources for advocacy and community outreach activities. In all, associations submitted 3,000 requests under the program, said NAR Director of REALTOR® Party Activities Tom Salomone.
— Robert Freedman