Note: These additional FAQs supplement the full Core Standards FAQs available on nar.realtor and are incorporated into that document.
1.8. Must the activities mandated by the Core Standards start after the May 17, 2014 adoption date? Will consumer outreach efforts, for example, initiated before May 17, 2014 satisfy the Core Standards?
As long as the activity continued after the May 17, 2014 adoption of the Core Standards, the fact that it was "initiated" before that date doesn't make it ineligible. (Added 8.7.14)
1.9. Will the NAR Board of Directors vote on whether associations' charter will be revoked?
The charter revocation process will begin automatically if an association's compliance with the Core Standards isn't confirmed by the state association. The NAR Board of Directors will become involved only if an association appeals the state association's conclusion that the local association had not met the Core Standards. In that case, the local association will have an opportunity to appear before a three (3) member panel of the NAR Association Executives Committee and show cause why the association's charter shouldn't be revoked. Following that, the panel's recommendation will be reported to the NAR Board of Directors for final action. If the Directors determine the charter should be revoked, the revocation will be effective immediately. (Added 8.7.14)
1.10 If our charter is revoked, how long do we have to dissolve the corporation? And what happens to the corporation's assets?
Revocation of an association's charter doesn't automatically result in the corporation being dissolved. The future of the corporation will be determined pursuant to the provisions of the articles of incorporation and the association's bylaws. The decision may be to wind up the affairs of the corporation and dissolve or, alternatively, to continue to function as a real estate association, though not as a member of NAR.
If the corporation is dissolved, the assets would be paid out pursuant to the relevant bylaw provision. Generally the bylaws of associations of REALTORS® (Article XVII in the NAR model association bylaws) provide that upon dissolution the assets will be paid to the state association or to another non-profit, tax exempt organization. (Added 8.7.14)
2.1. What must we do to meet the Core Standards?
The Core Standards themselves spell out what's required of local and state associations to maintain their charters. In addition, an online compliance certification system is being developed to facilitate tracking and reporting compliance. The system will include additional, specific, detailed information of what's required to demonstrate compliance. The compliance criteria being built into the database is viewable at nar.realtor. (Revised 8.7.14)
2.5.1. What "proof" will local associations need to provide their state association to demonstrate compliance?
Many of the compliance criteria simply request that examples be submitted using the compliance database. In cases where a state association needs additional information to make a knowledgeable compliance determination, additional information may be requested from the local association.
It's important to keep in mind throughout the process that trust - at all levels of the REALTOR® organization - is essential to successful implementation of this effort. The profession itself exists on trust. Clients and customers trust the REALTORS® they work with. REALTORS® need to - and do - trust each other. Associations rely on the word of their members. Members need to be able to rely on what their association tells them. The representations made via the compliance database will be attested to by each local association's elected president and president-elect (or equivalent officers) as well as by the association's chief staff. Except in the most unusual circumstances, their assurance that the information shared via the compliance database is truthful and accurate to the best of their knowledge should be sufficient "proof". (Added 8.7.14)
2.6.1 Question 2.6 (above) refers to "chapters or councils of local associations" as a possibility for associations that surrender their charter as part of a merger with another association(s). Is there an NAR chapter "model" for local associations to adopt?
No. While over the years a few associations have surrendered their charter to merge into another association, with the resulting association creating a community-based "chapter" that allowed the dissolved association to retain a local presence and a measure of local identity, these have been the exception rather than the rule. As a result, there is little experience to draw on. NAR and the state associations do not charter "chapters", nor is there any defined "chapter" structure within the REALTOR organization.
Simply put, chapters are sub-units of an existing, chartered local association of REALTORS®, with that association of REALTORS® being the only chartered (or recognized) entity. The structure, as well as the privileges and responsibilities (if any) of a local association's "chapter" would need to be determined locally (presumably as part of the merger discussions/negotiations) and should be spelled out with specificity in the "parent" association's bylaws or other governing documents.
In most cases, chapters are the residual effect of mergers of two or more associations that resulted in a larger "regional" association. Chapters can enable the former associations that surrendered their charters as part of a merger to retain some measure of identity/presence in their community, coupled with the efficiencies and economies of scale resulting from the merger. Use of the term REALTOR® in a chapter's name must be in connection with the parent organization (e.g. The _______ Chapter of the _______ Association of REALTORS®). (Added 8.7.14)
2.8 Must the professional development training required of associations' chief paid staff be "in-person" or will relevant on-line and "distance learning" programs satisfy the requirement?
While attendance at in-person educational programs like the NAR AE Institute and similar programs conducted by state associations is an optimum learning experience because of the opportunity to interact with peers face-to-face, it should also be considered that much of the educational offerings available to REALTORS® from NAR (including REALTOR® University) and its Institutes, Societies and Councils is delivered online. What's important here is that the program addresses management/administration of real estate associations. Where a question arises about the relevancy of programming offered in satisfaction of this requirement, the state association could require documentation or explanation of how the course related to real estate association management. Given the broad experience and skillsets required of association executives, it's anticipated this requirement will be construed liberally. Added 8.7.14)
2.9 How will consistent application and enforcement of the Core Standards be assured from one state to another? How will the state associations be "policed"?
The simple answer is that it's anticipated that each state association will make consistent, objective, good faith efforts to evaluate the information provided by their local associations in determining compliance. Obviously, this requires significant trust between all levels of the REALTOR® family. (Added 8.7.14)
2.10 Can state associations require local associations to submit their compliance information prior to June, 30, 2015?
Yes. State associations can set their own deadlines for their local associations to submit information demonstrating compliance with the Core Standards. Additionally, while the deadline for local associations to submit compliance information using the compliance database is June 30, 2015, state associations will have an additional 30 days (until July 30th) to certify their local associations' compliance status to NAR. (Added 8.7.14)
3.1. What financial and other resources are or will be available from NAR to facilitate mergers?
Grants of $15,000-25,000 will be available to "merged associations". The grant amount will be based on the number of REALTOR® members in the resulting merged association. To be eligible, the merger must become final between May 17, 2014 and June 30, 2016.
The merger grants will be available for two years because it's anticipated that in some cases merger discussions may not commence until after the associations have first attempted to meet the Core Standards; also because merger negotiations can take considerable time to complete.
A comprehensive NAR Merger Kit is available on nar.realtor. (Revised 8.7.14)
3.3. Is there a directory of NAR-approved merger facilitators?
The directory of NAR-approved merger facilitators is available at nar.realtor. (Revised 8.7.14)
3.6. How do we obtain financial assistance for mergers from NAR?
3.10. Can we retain our local identity/autonomy by becoming a chapter or council of a local association?
Yes. As discussed in the answer to question 2.6, a degree of local identity and presence can be maintained by establishing community-specific chapters or councils of local associations. Please also see Question 2.6.1 for further information on the relationship between local associations of REALTORS® and their chapters. (Revised 8.7.14)
4.3.2 What date is used for determining whether we must use an NAR-approved strategic planning facilitator to be eligible for an NAR grant? Is it the date we contract with the facilitator or the date we submit the strategic plan to NAR? Let me explain. We currently have 503 members and want to use a well-qualified local facilitator who has done outstanding work for other associations of REALTORS®. We're worried, though, that something unforeseen could happen between the time we contract with the facilitator and the time the finished strategic plan is submitted to NAR that would cause our membership to drop below 500 members.
The point at which eligibility for a grant requires using an NAR-approved facilitator is the date you contract with the facilitator. It's not intended that associations of your size would be kept on tenterhooks while they develop their strategic plans. The amount of the grant will be determined by your membership count at the point you submit the plan to NAR. So while the amount you anticipate receiving will be reduced if your membership drops, it may increase if your membership grows.
An association with more than 500 members when they began the strategic planning process not using an NAR-approved facilitator will not lose eligibility for a grant if their membership drops to 500 or fewer members while the plan is being developed. (Added 8.7.1)
4.4. Is there a directory of NAR-approved strategic planning facilitators?
The directory of NAR-approved strategic planning facilitators is available at nar.realtor. (Revised 8.7.14)
4.7. How do we obtain financial assistance for strategic planning from NAR?
The strategic planning grant program will be administered by the NAR Finance Committee through the Finance Division. Strategic plans will be submitted to NAR using the online compliance database currently being developed. Grant applications are available on nar.realtor. (Revised 8.7.14)
6.10 Our Grievance Committee doesn't meet on a scheduled basis. Rather, when an ethics complaint or an arbitration request is filed, we select members from the Grievance Committee roster to review the complaint/request. Is this permissible under the Core Standards and applicable policy?
Yes. (added 8.7.14)
8.3. What training for local and state association chief staff satisfies the Core Standards requirements?
Training meeting the requirement includes offerings at the NAR Association Executives Institute, similar programs conducted regionally by one or more state associations, and other programming focused on real estate association management/administration issues. Also see Question 2.8. (Revised 8.7.14)
8.6 Can "shared services" be used to satisfy certain Core Standards (e.g. press releases) if the partner organization isn't another association of REALTORS® (for instance our local Chamber of Commerce)?
Yes, as long as the content itself meets the Core Standards requirement, the "partner" organization doesn't matter. (Added 8.7.14)
9.2. Is there specific content/information that must be available on local and state association's interactive websites?
Associations' interactive websites (defined as including the ability to move between websites and to create active links) must give members and consumers access to professional standards and arbitration filing processes available, and must link to the websites of the other levels of the REALTOR® organization for promotion of member programs, products and services.
To assist associations in meeting this requirement, NAR's Member Experience staff has created a comprehensive compendium of information that includes the Code of Ethics, explanatory whitepapers (e.g. Before You File an Ethics Complaint, the Sanctioning Guidelines, and others), standard forms for filing and processing ethics complaints and arbitration requests, the Statements of Professional Standards Policy adopted by the NAR Board of Directors, as well as resources for professional standards administrators. These materials can be linked to from nar.realtor. (Revised 8.7.14)
9.5 How can our association prove it uses email to communicate with our members?
The assertion of the association President, President-elect and Association Executive that the association uses email to communicate with members should be satisfactory "proof." (added 8.7.14)
9.6 How do we prove to the state association that we have an interactive association website?
The website's URL should be sufficient to enable the state association to confirm your association has a qualifying interactive website. (Added 8.7.14)
10.2.1 How do we know if we are eligible to meet the Core Standards by obtaining a "CPA's Compilation Report?"
Only associations with gross revenues of less than $50,000 can satisfy the Core Standards using a "CPA's Compilation Report" (defined in Question 10.5 below). Please note, though, that state and national dues and assessments are not considered to be revenue for purposes of this measurement. (Added 8.7.14)
10.2.2 Are the revenues generated by our MLS included in the $50,000 cut-off for using a "CPA's Compilation Report" to satisfy the Core Standards?
If the MLS is operated as a committee of the association of REALTORS® (and not a separate corporation), then the MLS's revenues and expenses are part and parcel of the association's overall finances, and would be included in the association's financial review duties under the Core Standards.
If the MLS is separately incorporated, then it's revenues would not be counted as part of the association's revenues for purposes of the Core Standards. (added 8.7.14)
10.2.3 Our CPA wants to know if footnotes are required for a "CPA's Compilation Report" to satisfy the Core Standards.
No, the Core Standards do not require footnotes. (added 8.7.14)