Keeping a finger on the pulse of an industry, its membership, and the consumer led the National Association of Realtors to push for major changes at its annual meeting last week. NAR plans to develop a new Code of Excellence and realtor ratings, among other things.
People are not buying homes the same way they did 50 or 75 years ago. A potential homebuyer’s first instinct today, rather than leafing through the newspaper or a bulky home-buying guide, is to log onto Zillow or HotPads to begin their search. Sure, this isn’t groundbreaking news, but it is the impetus behind efforts at the National Association of Realtors to raise the bar in real estate.
Times have changed, people have changed, and as a result, we as realtors always feel like we need to stay ahead of the curve in what we do as an association.
That work took a big step forward at NAR’s annual meeting last week when the board passed policy recommendations [PDF] that included implementing a new Code of Excellence.
“Times have changed, people have changed, and as a result, we as realtors always feel like we need to stay ahead of the curve in what we do as an association,” said Chris Polychron, NAR’s newly installed president. “We felt like we did need additional education and training to go along with our Code of Ethics, and these new policies get at doing just that.”
The goal of the new policies, Polychron said, is to measurably increase the level of professionalism in the industry through training and recognition of the core values that a customer looks for in a realtor. That includes bringing everyone in the industry up to speed on new technologies and the importance of things like big data and its impact on the profession. The Code of Excellence is an aspirational document at this point, he said.
Another policy recommendation the board approved was developing realtor ratings. This wouldn’t be an NAR-hosted review site like Yelp, Polychron explained. Rather, the association would develop guidelines for how a realtor should be rated.
“There are probably 50 different portals or online experts in some form or fashion that have some kind of company that are rating realtors right today—Zillow, for example, is working on their own realtor review website,” he said. “We are not pushing ratings at all, but we feel like it’s important for us to at least have a say in how realtors should be rated.”
The board received some pushback on the different policies but it was minimal, and those who weren’t in favor eventually came around because they saw that this was the direction the industry was heading, said Polychron.
“We feel like the consumer is asking for it,” he said. “Associations are going to have to realize that change is imminent, and to be viable you have to do what the market is telling you, what your clients are telling you, what the consumers are telling you, and what your members are telling you. Our members were asking for more professionalism and professional development from us. Every association should be able to relate to that.”