The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is a terrible trade Union. They force you to pay their dues, give you nothing in return, and then constantly brag about how wonderful they are. It’d be funny if it weren’t so serious.
To fully appreciate how serious, there are two things you need to know. 1) NAR yields power with a ton of money. Lobbying efforts alone were $72M in 2018 and have been $284M over the last five years. Mandatory dues, often referred to by its more popular name, “extortion”, is a great business model if you can get away with it.
2) NAR owns and controls nearly 90% of our nation’s MLSs. Meaning, most agents aren’t allowed MLS access without paying the mandatory NAR fee. Unlike Atlanta, where agents are allowed to choose, NAR’s 1.2 million members are being held hostage over their MLS access. Everybody knows, if paying NAR dues were optional, its membership wouldn’t fill a hotel ballroom.
In Atlanta, non-NAR agents outnumber those who pay for NAR. Oddly, many franchise agents continue to be told they “have” to join NAR. Not in Atlanta they don’t!
Outside of Atlanta, NAR is the real estate industry. While every other industry on the planet is scrambling to keep up with, and accommodate the millennial generation, NAR is blissfully unaware. “Hey, remember the 70s”? Millennials are changing publishing, banking, hospitality, transportation, education, health care, you get the drift. Millennials changing real estate, not so much.
The agent community needs to break-up with and get away from NAR. They’re aren’t helping. NAR will always fight innovation out of fear of upsetting THEIR own status quo. Many still remember when NAR tried to hold back the Internet? Ever wonder why NAR gives away tens of millions of dollars EVERY year to DC lobbyists? To promote real estate? Really? Who knew real estate needed that much promoting?
For most of the Country, agents wishing to leave NAR, can’t. They can’t leave because they would lose their MLS. Without the MLS, which NAR owns, the agents are shit-out-of luck. And, if agents wanted to complain through our democratic processes, NAR, with more money than God, can and will crush any agent uprising. This stranglehold has basically kept the entire real estate industry entombed in 1978.
The industry needs new advocates and cheerleaders for a different type of real estate industry. NARs vision is yesterday’s vision. NARs vision is the national franchise vision. NARs vision is one of lobbyists and influence peddling. It’s old.
Agents in Atlanta can do things agents in the rest of the Country can’t—quit NAR. Atlanta already has more non-NAR agents per capita than any other place in the U.S. Let’s keep it going. Your Broker requires NAR—leave them. There are 1,900 Brokers in Atlanta. Save yourself $500 bucks and help create a new future. And, this is where opportunity knocks.
Sure, it’s easy to make fun of NAR. Over the last 5 years, they blew through a quarter billion dollars, of agent money, and no one can articulate what we got for it? But the idea of an “association” that is really dedicated toward the betterment of its members is a good one. It just needs to be updated. Vastly updated. Hello Atlanta, we have more non-NAR agents than anywhere else. Unifying that voice will yield power. Unifying that voice will also yield creative new ideas and signposts toward the future. If you are interested in setting yourself up for, “what’s next” in real estate, this is your chance. Want to have a hand in the future? Just raise it.
You have the tools. The door is open to opportunity. If you are interested in discussing new ideas or have any thoughts on how to harness our great Atlanta, “small r collective”, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org Change will require a lot of voices.