Note: These additional FAQs supplement the full Core Standards FAQs available on nar.realtor and are incorporated into that document.

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 (the "Compliance Tool") has been developed to facilitate tracking and reporting compliance. The system details the specific information required to demonstrate compliance. (Revised 9.26.14)

2.3. How does the reporting/enforcement database ("Compliance Tool") function?

The Compliance Tool provides simple, objective determiners for associations to confirm and/or demonstrate they've met the Core Standards requirements for the current cycle. (Revised 9.26.14)

2.6. What options/alternatives are available to local associations that anticipate difficulty in meeting the Core Standards?

Given the goals of the Organizational Alignment/Core Standards program, some associations may determine that the needs of their members may be best served by merging with another association. Local identity, something understandably important to associations of any size, can be retained in large measure by establishing community-specific chapters or councils of local associations. The Association Merger Procedures are available at nar.realtor.

Shared services is another option/alternative for associations that anticipate difficulty meeting the Core Standards. State associations may want to consider conducting a shared services workshop for local associations that might benefit from using shared services. Information on nar.realtor includes workshop materials and facilitator resources. https://www.nar.realtor/ae/manage-your-association/shared-services (Revised 9.26.14)

3.1. What financial and other resources are or will be available from NAR to facilitate mergers?

Grants at a minimum of $15,000 and a maximum of $25,000 are available to merged associations. Grant amount are calculated at $25 times the number of primary REALTOR® members in the newly-merged association but will not in any instance exceed $25,000. If the newly merged association later merges with yet another association, additional monies may be requested but any subsequent grant will be limited to (a) the number of additional primary REALTOR® members gained through the subsequent merger, and (b) the aggregate funding available through the grant program will not exceed $25,000. To be eligible, all mergers 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. The white paper An Alternative to Merging is also available on nar.realtor. (Revised 9.26.14)

3.1.1. Our association merged with another association resulting in the now-merged association having eight hundred primary REALTOR® members. We requested and received an NAR merger grant of $20,000 (800 members times $25). We are now considering a merger with another association which, if consummated, will increase our membership to approximately nine hundred fifty primary REALTOR ® members. Would we be eligible for a second merger grant, and if we would be, how would it be calculated?

You would be eligible for a second merger grant. It would be based on the one hundred fifty additional primary REALTOR® members gained through the second merger or $3,750. That brings the total grant monies paid to $23,750. If yet another merger happens, any additional grant would be capped at $1,250 due to the aggregate cap of $25,000. (Added 9.26.14)

3.1.2. Our association has 250 members. We are in the process of completing a merger with another association that will result in the newly-merged association having about 400 primary REALTOR® members. We realize that the merger grant that will then be available from NAR would be greater than 400 members times $25 since the minimum grant amount is $15,000. Our question is if in 2015 we then merge with still another association bringing the total of primary REALTOR® members to 500, would we then be eligible for a second merger grant of $15,000? If not, what amount would we be eligible for?

Under these circumstances, a second merger grant would not be available because the total of primary REALTOR® members in the association that resulted from the two mergers is still less than the number needed to qualify for a grant larger than the already-awarded minimum of $15,000. (Added 9.26.14)

3.1.3. Following up on question 3.1.2, what if we complete a third merger resulting in an association with 750 primary REALTOR® members. Would we then be eligible for another merger grant, and what would it be.

Yes, a second grant would be available. Because the initial grant was the minimum payable ($15,000) which is equivalent to 600 members times $25, the additional funds available would be $3,750 (150 members times $25). (Added 9.26.14)

3.1.4. We are a large association involved in merger discussions with several smaller associations. One of the mergers is about to be finalized. It will result in the newly-merged association having approximately eleven hundred members. We realize the grant money from NAR is capped at $25,000. But if the newly-merged association then merges with another association resulting an association with twelve hundred and fifty primary REALTOR® members, are we eligible for another $25,000 merger grant?

No. The aggregate amount available to an association regardless of how many separate mergers occur is capped at $25,000. (Added 9.26.14)

3.6. How do we obtain financial assistance for mergers from NAR?

The merger grant program is administered by the NAR Finance Committee through the Finance Division. Grant applications are available on nar.realtor. (Revised 9.26.14)

3.7. If three (or more) local associations merge, can each request funding from NAR?

Merger grants will only be available to successfully merged associations, based on the number of primary REALTOR® members in the resulting merged association. Secondary members (i.e. those who hold their primary REALTOR® membership in another association) cannot be included in this calculation. (Revised 9.26.14)

4.2. What financial and other resources are available from NAR to facilitate development of strategic plans?

Grants at a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $5,000 are available to associations to develop a strategic plan, or to enhance an existing strategic plan. Grants are disbursed after the strategic plan has been completed, and submitted to and approved by NAR. Grants are based on the number of primary REALTOR® members at $10 per member with a minimum grant of $2,500 and a maximum grant of $5,000 regardless of association size. Secondary members (i.e. those who hold their primary REALTOR® membership in another association) cannot be included in this calculation. Grants are available for strategic plans created or enhanced between May 17, 2014 and June 30, 2015. (Revised 9.26.14)

4.5. How do facilitators qualify for the NAR strategic planning facilitator training?

Information about eligibility to participate in this training as shared with local and state associations via the Internal News Service (INS) report for AEs. Applicants were required to provide a resume documenting their strategic planning experience over the past five (5) years (including client names and references), and a copy of the most recent strategic plan completed (with the client's identity redacted if requested by the client). (Revised 9.26.14)

4.6. (Deleted 9.26.14)

4.7. How do we obtain financial assistance for strategic planning from NAR?

The strategic planning grant program is administered by the NAR Finance Committee through the Finance Division. Strategic plans should by email to csgrantrequest@realtors.org. Once approved, the association's strategic plan should also be attached to the online compliance database ("Compliance Tool"). Grant applications are available on nar.realtor. (Revised 9.26.14)

4.12. Our association has strong, collegial relationship with the state association. However, we are also competitors when it comes to offering certain products, services and benefits to members. Our plans for new offerings are incorporated in our strategic plan or, in some cases in our business plan. We do not want to share that information with the state association or with other competitors. Do the Core Standards require us to make these plans available to the state association?

The short answer is no. Strategic and/or business plans will be reviewed at the national level only and will not be made available to the state association or to any other association in your state. (Revised 9.26.14)

4.13. We don't intend to apply for a strategic planning grant. How do we send our strategic plan to NAR for approval?

Even if a strategic planning grant isn't being requested, the plans should be sent to csgrantrequest@realtors.org. Once approved, the association's strategic plan should also be attached to the online compliance database ("Compliance Tool").

5.5.2. What if my local association regularly meets its fundraising goal annually without doing dues billing? Must I still dues bill for RPAC or the PAF to comply with the Core Standards requirement?

Surpassing your fundraising goal, even if by a significant amount, does not relieve your association of its obligation to comply with the Core Standard requirement to include RPAC or the PAF in your dues billing statement or to send a check in the amount of the NAR-established RPAC fundraising goal. (Added 9.26.14)

5.5.3. Do we have to bill all members the same RPAC or PAF amount on their dues billing statements, or can we bill different types of members for different amounts (for example, $35 for agents and $75 for brokers)?

You may bill any amount for RPAC or the PAF on the dues billing statement as long as it is at least "in an amount adequate to meet any NAR established fundraising goals." (Added 9.26.14)

5.5.4. Do State Associations with at-large REALTOR® members need to request a voluntary RPAC or PAF contribution in the dues billing statements sent to such members?

Yes, a State Association that bills at-large members directly should include RPAC or PAF in their dues billing and the state will transmit the NAR portion accordingly. (Added 9.26.14)

5.5.5. If my Local Association elects to write a corporate check as opposed to implementing dues billing, is there a limit on the amount for which the corporate check can be written?

There is no legal limit on how much can be sent to NAR's Political Advocacy Fund (PAF). There may be a limit if the association elects to also make a contribution using association treasury funds to the State PAC where corporate contributions are permitted but limited in amount, and in some states associations may be prohibited from making contributions to the state PAC. Please check with your state association for more information about the available options. (Added 9.26.14)

5.5.6 If we choose to write a corporate check in lieu of dues billing, what date and therefore what membership count do we use to determine the amount? And if our membership increases during the year, do we "owe" more money later since the membership went up?

October 31 of the previous year which is the same date RPAC uses to set the states' fundraising goals. If your membership changes throughout the year, the amount required via a corporate check will not change. (Added 9.26.14)

5.5.7 If we write a corporate check that represents a contribution from each member, does that put our Association at 100% participation?

A corporate check from an association does not equate to 100% participation by its members. In order for a contribution to be counted towards RPAC participation, the national RPAC Trustees voted it must be a voluntary contribution made by the member. (Added 9.26.14)

8.5. (Deleted 9.26.14)

9.7. Our MLS has a website accessible by our members and by consumers. It includes some information about our association as well. Does that satisfy the Core Standards requirement?

There is no prohibition on an association and its MLS sharing a website. But to satisfy the Core Standards it should be clear to consumers - and to members as well - that when they land on the website they have arrived at a destination that's the source of information about the association, its programs and the resources available to members and to consumers. (Added 9.26.14)

10.2.4 For the first compliance cycle (ending June 30, 2015) in what tax year should the audit, review or compilation be for?

The audit, review or compilation should be for the first fiscal year-end following May 17, 2014. (Added 9.26.14)

10.2.5. Our association's gross revenues (excluding amounts received for state and national dues and assessments) are greater than $50,000. What type of financial reporting are we required to have?

Associations with revenues of more than $50,000 (excluding amounts received for state and national dues and assessments) must have a CPA's audit opinion or an Accountant's Review Report. (Added 9.26.14)

Advertisement