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While many people know that a REALTOR® helps consumers buy and sell homes, not many know that a REALTOR® and a real estate agent are not the same. Last week, the National Association of REALTOR® (NAR) launched the “That’s Who We R” campaign that seeks to educate consumers on the difference and the value of a REALTOR®.

The term “REALTOR®” is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and abides by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. More than just agents who help clients buy and sell homes, REALTORS® are advocates for property owners, engaged community members and trusted advisors with in-depth knowledge of the industry. The new NAR campaign features compelling stories about REALTORS® helping individuals and families find homes and property, build communities and turn their dreams into realities.

“Our story is a century in the making as we began to set NAR members apart from the rest by establishing a Code of Ethics in 1913. This code is as relevant now as it was one hundred years ago; it’s our pledge of honesty, integrity, professionalism and community service as a true partner for buying or selling a home, or property,” says John Smaby, NAR 2019 president. “’That’s Who We R®’ reinforces that partnering with a REALTOR®, delivers the peace of mind that can only come from working with a real person who is committed to their clients’ futures and neighborhoods just as much as they are.”

Founded in 1908, NAR has grown to be America’s largest trade association representing more than 1.3 million REALTORS® involved in residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors, and others who are engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry. Members belong to one or more of 1,700 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS®. Additionally, NAR provides a facility for professional development, research, and exchange of information among its members.

Alan Barbic, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®, which has over 5,000 REALTOR® and affiliate members practicing real estate on the Peninsula and in the South Bay, says the REALTOR® pledge to a strict Code of Ethics and Standard of Practice raises the bar among real estate professionals.

“Today’s homebuyers and sellers deserve a real estate professional whom they can trust and who has their best interests at heart. The Code of Ethics goes beyond state licensing requirements and protects all parties to the real estate transaction, not just a REALTOR®’s client. If a local association of REALTORS® finds a REALTOR® member in violation of the Code of Ethics, disciplinary action can be imposed,” explains Barbic.

Barbic adds in order to maintain membership with NAR, SILVAR or any other local association of REALTORS®, NAR requires every REALTOR® to complete two and a half hours of Code of Ethics training every two years.

 

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Even though income and sales volume of REALTORS® have dropped slightly in the past year, membership in the National Association of REALTORS® has increased, as more younger agents continue to enter the industry. According to the “2018 National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile,” membership increased 6 percent from 1.22 million in March 2017 to 1.30 million in April 2018.

“Younger Americans are seeking business opportunities that working in real estate provides,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun. But Yun also noted the overall trend is still a slightly older age profile.

Members of NAR account for about half of all active real estate licensees in the U.S. REALTORS® go beyond state licensing requirements by subscribing to NAR’s Code of Ethics and standards of practice and committing to continuing education.

“All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They display the REALTOR® logo on their business card or other marketing material,” explained Bill Moody, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. The REALTOR® association has over 4,500 REALTORS® and affiliate members engaged in the business of real estate on the Peninsula and in the South Bay.

“REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are required to complete a two and a half hour Code of Ethics course every two years,” said Moody.

The NAR member survey found the median age of REALTORS® was 54 this year, slightly up from 53, the last two years. Sixty-three percent of realtors are female. The typical REALTOR® is a 54-year-old white female who attended college and is a homeowner.

Sixty-five percent of REALTORS® are licensed sales agents, 21 percent hold broker licenses, and 15 percent hold broker associate licenses. New members tended to be more diverse than more experienced members. Twenty-five percent with two years of experience or less were minorities, up from 22 percent last year.

According to Moody, the national survey reflects the profile of incoming members in the local REALTOR® group, which has over 4,500 members. “Our new members definitely reflect a younger and more diverse group of agents,” said Moody.

Impacted by low inventory, the typical number of transactions decreased slightly from 12 transactions in 2016 to 11 transactions in 2017. REALTORS® said the main factors limiting potential clients in completing transactions are difficulty finding the right property (35 percent), housing affordability (17 percent), and difficulty in obtaining mortgage financing (12 percent).

 

 

There’s an optimism in the air. It’s quite evident in attendance at the different SILVAR district meetings. It’s also evident in the attitudes and points of view of the various speakers at each of SILVAR’s districts.

Left to right: Chris Trapani (Sereno Group), John Thompson (Intero Real Estate), Bill Lewis (Alain Pinel Realtors) and Fred Hibbert (Coldwell Banker)

The first 2011 Los Altos/Mountain View District tour meeting took place last Friday with a good attendance and a broker/manager panel, which included Chris Trapani (Sereno Group), John Thompson (Intero Real Estate), Bill Lewis (Alain Pinel Realtors) and Fred Hibbert (Coldwell Banker). 2011 District Chair Denise Welsh, who served as moderator, asked the brokers to share their greatest challenges, advice to agents for positioning buyers (and sellers) in 2011, and valuable traits they look for in an agent.

For Fred Hibbert, the greatest challenge is managing expectations of buyers and sellers.

Bill Lewis said it’s staying on top of the market. “Success is preparation and opportunity. You need to know the market,” he stressed.

John Thompson said knowledge and skills in the industry are important. An agent needs to be objective and focus on what he/she should improve.

Chris Trapani said it’s important for him as a manager to see growth in his office. His goal is to have his agents succeed. He especially wants to coach agents who have not yet experienced levels of success and guide them to a place of stability.

What is the panel’s advice to agents for 2011? Hibbert advised agents to study the information, be knowledgeable about the market, and know the stats.

“Stats are important and talking points are important,” confirmed Lewis. Armed with this knowledge, Lewis said agents can discuss real estate and show their knowledge to everyone, even while waiting in line in the supermarket.

“Have patience,” Lewis added. “You have to understand your clients and help your clients understand the market and manage their expectations.”

Thompson said there’s no excuse for agents to be operating without stats. Agents have access to the data and need to be able to explain the short and long-term impact on value in the different neighborhoods.

As for valuable traits the managers look for in an agent, Trapani said he looks at the agent’s track record, and most of all, he looks for a “culture fit” in his company.

Thompson looks for intangibles, especially personality. “If a person knows what they want to get out of this business, I can help them with a business plan. They have to know what they want,” Thompson stressed.

Lewis looks for a high level of honesty, integrity and fair dealing in an agent. It’s his foundation to building a culture in the office. The agent would need to get along with others in the office.

Hibbert wants the agent to have a game plan and goals.

A red flag to these managers is when the agent immediately wants to know what the deal is, and does not express much interest in the company’s philosophy.

The brokers are very optimistic about 2011. Enjoy the ride, be prepared, focus on what you want, but you have to work. Get out there, get the inventory, get the listings, they said.

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