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This checklist includes general job functions and guidelines listed in chronological order but not necessarily in priority order. Please note that the time of year, the length of time the position was previously vacant, and specific expectations communicated at hiring may significantly impact the timing and order of these functions and duties.

Time on the job

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Week 1 on the job

____Contact the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® by completing and returning a form that provides your contact information to ensure you will be added to the New AE roster and receive important communications and resources. You will also be invited to attend a New AE Orientation in Chicago. 

____Plan to attend a day and a half orientation for new AEs held twice a year.  You will learn about NAR programs, products, resources, and NAR staff contacts that will help you succeed in your new role. Questions?  Contact Krystal Allen.

____Add yourself to NRDS as a new member (member type – staff), or contact your Point of Entry (POE) to request assistance in creating your individual NRDS record. POEs are most often staff at local associations, and in some cases, the state association acting for the local association. Access the NRDS monthly news.  NRDS (National REALTORS® Database System) is a single internet database that stores the member and office records for the entire REALTOR® organization (call 800-868-3225 for assistance).  All new chief staff executives will automatically be added to the mailing list for all AE communications.  

____Review the exit interview with your predecessor (if one exists); checklists you can reference, passwords, specific issues you should be aware of, etc.

____Review NAR’s Good Sense Governance series for resources local and state associations can use  to develop and update bylaws, policies, and procedures tailored to the association’s needs.

____Address computer security issues:

  • Change computer passwords.
  • Back up of all files for storage (do not overwrite existing files/tapes); back-up data as necessary

____View and access NAR’s Core Standards 

  • Contact state association for Core Standards deadlines for local associations
  • Review association’s previous year Core Standards submission

____Review and secure association financial records, documents and past audits. State and local associations can use these model financial policy documents to help meet the Financial Solvency standard of NAR's Core Standards

____Meet with the association’s accountant/bookkeeper (if applicable) to address the following:

  • Accountant's responsibilities and fees
  • Sales tax and tax deposits
  • Property taxes (review)
  • Tax returns (review the last one) and filing requirements
  • Location of checkbook, CDs, safe deposit box, etc.
  • Identify authorized check signers and their amount limits.
  • Conduct a financial audit if necessary

____Develop or update financial policies; review the association’s system of checks and balances

____Document all association fiscal and physical assets (have leadership sign-off):

  • Do you own a building?
  • What equipment do you own?
  • What savings accounts, investments, and bank accounts do you have? 

____Locate and review your association’s internal policies, procedures, and employee manual. 

If written policies do not exist, start writing them as you go along, and be sure the items below are included. Access association internal policies from other associations at the REALTOR® Association Resource Exchange (RARE)

  • Annual dues – bylaws
  • Election of officers – bylaws
  • Installation and new member induction
  • REALTOR® of the Year (ROTY) selection
  • Human resources policies
  • Harassment policy
  • Consult with current and past leaders for advice and feedback
  • Know and understand your association’s policy regarding distribution of membership rosters and email addresses.
  • Know and understand association’s emergency procedures (unplanned staff vacancies, weather emergencies, and other crises)
  • Know when staff evaluations are conducted. View the Chief Staff Evaluation Resources on for guidance
  • Review association holidays and office closings schedule.

____Meet with staff, if applicable, to review job descriptions and responsibilities. Express your leadership and management style. Review sample job descriptions for local and state association staff.

  • Review association’s strategic plan
  • Meet individually with each staff member

____Meet with your volunteer leadership.

____Local AEs should contact your state association:

  • Introduce yourself (they may not know your association has a new AE) and have them change their records to list you as the AE.
  • Inquire about available resources and publications that you should be receiving from the state association.`
  • Inquire about getting involved in state committees and task forces
  • Confirm state meeting schedule
  • Inquire whether the state association has a mentor program
  • Compile a state staff contact list

First 2 to 4 weeks on the job

____Review the NRDS Manual online to learn more about the following topics:

  • POE (Point of Entry) -- know and understand your responsibility with NRDS
  • Staff Records -- Review your individual NRDS staff record and update your association NRDS record with your contact information
  • Add the following staff specialists (if applicable) to NRDS to ensure that they receive important information from NAR: 

 Education Director

 Government Affairs Director

 Communications Director

 MLS Director

 Member Services Director

  • Know and understand the functionality of your association’s membership system and how it interacts with NRDS
  • Contact NRDS helpline (800-868-3225) with detailed questions, 

____Identify other Web sites and other online resources you should reference:

  • Local/state association Web site
  • Your MLS vendor site

____Identify methods of communicating with members and leadership (Website, newsletter, message board, email, snail mail, listserv, social media)

____Access association’s meeting capabilities (conference call, video, online, etc.)

____Know and understand how to prepare for and coordinate meetings. Read this chapter on Managing Meetings from The Answer Book  (Section 1/Chapter 8 – page 223).

  • Review past agendas and minutes
  • Review committee meeting schedule
  • Identify who sets meetings, creates agendas, and prepares minutes
  • Communicate with committee chairs and the president to implement goals; determine if goals are stated in the strategic plan
  • Review association’s annual events calendar
  • Review events annual budgets
  • Review NAR’s events calendar for annual events
  • Access NAR’s REALTOR® Association Planning Calendar for important reminders and deadlines
  • Plan ahead to reserve dates and space for each event
  • Reference past plans, so you don’t reinvent the when
  • Determine if a calendar already exists, if not, create one
  • Consult with the board of directors and presidents when compiling calendar of event

Be sure to include the following:

- membership, board and committee meetings (check bylaws for required frequency)

-social events

-annual installation

-officer elections

-state and national meetings

-community service events

-holidays and office closings

____Identify all outside contractors or professionals (accountants, lawyers, speakers, etc.) to arrange a meeting (if necessary)

____Locate and review the contracts and agreements listed below. Know the terms and renewal dates of all contracts

  • Lease agreements for office equipment; note time frames and expirations
  • Rental agreement on building space
  • Maintenance agreements
  • Tenant contracts, if you own the building and are the property manager
  • MLS and all vendor contracts
  • Website domain registrations

____Arrange meeting with the association’s legal counsel to review and discuss the following:

  • Legal counsel's responsibilities and fees
  • Basic understanding of antitrust concerns for real estate—no standard commissions, boycotting
  • All pending legal issues

____Locate your association's letter of incorporation; check with secretary of state or bureau of corporations to be sure corporate status is current.

____Learn about NAR’s AE Mentor Program and consider requesting a mentor

____Know and understand your association's membership policies:

  • Dues policies (nonmember sales assessments)
  • Types of membership
  • Basic "Board of Choice" (secondary membership, MLS of choice, across state lines)
  • Proration of dues
  • National Association's Public Awareness Campaign assessment
  • Membership application form

____Know and understand professional standards procedures and policies.

____Understand basic MLS policy, including the common terms below. Refer to NAR's Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy for definitions. Also, contact your MLS vendor and review contracts. Understand:

  • Who is a "Participant"?
  • Who are "Subscribers"?
  • What's your MLS billing policy?
  • What's a "Lockbox"?
  • Is the MLS a wholly owned subsidiary corporation or a committee of the association?

____ Know and understand RPAC – the REALTORS® Political Action Committee. (For more information call, 202-383-1072)

____Review RPAC fundraising resources and develop a plan for your association

____Contact neighboring associations for advice and guidance.

  • Introduce yourself
  • Begin to develop a contact list of other association executives

2 to 4 months on the job

____Plan to attend the annual AE Institute (AEI).  The AE Institute is the premier professional development event for local and state REALTOR® association staff. The Institute offers programming for all staff levels of the REALTOR® organization, from newer AEs and those who manage small associations to veteran AEs.

____Understand dues collection policies and procedures

  • Determine when dues are collected, and develop a schedule to send member invoices in timely manner
  • Contact your state association for dues disclosures.
  • Work with the state association to make sure you collect state and NAR dues and transmit them properly.
  • Know and understand member and nonmember dues policies.
  • Collect new member dues throughout the year.
  • Create procedures to ensure consistency
  • Determine whether your association uses the REALTOR® Ecommerce Network.

____Know the association’s revenue sources, such as dues, product sales, classes, or marketing alliances.

____Know and understand NAR’s Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance.

  • Know and understand E&O insurance coverage and what the requirements are for maintaining coverage, including responsibilities with governing documents
  • Know and understand what policies can affect E&O insurance—employee policies, antitrust
  • Know and understand procedures for filing a claim
  • Add NAR Legal staff to your NAR staff contact list

____Review your MLS's rules, regulations, and bylaws. Access NAR's model MLS governing documents.

What are your MLS enforcement policies and fines (Review MLS Policy Statements)?

____Know and understand your responsibilities regarding bylaws and MLS rules

  • Determine when your association bylaws and MLS rules were last reviewed by NAR
  • Send bylaws and MLS rules to NAR for review (required annually), and whenever you make changes
  • Add Member Experience staff to your NAR staff contact list

____Know the association’s travel policy (possible sources of information: written financial policies, bylaws, budget, treasurer, bookkeeper/accountant, office manager)

  • Know and understand who is covered in the state and national meetings travel budget
  • Know and understand what travel expenses are covered and the IRS travel requirements
  • Know and understand mileage reimbursement rates
  • Know policies regarding who requires association credit card
  • Review/create travel expense form

____Confirm with leadership who makes travel reservations and which travel events the chief staff is responsible for planning and organizing.

____Review the Value Proposition Toolkit to learn how to talk to members about the value of association membership and develop your association’s value proposition.

____Review the Code of Ethics and review NAR’s Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual

____Know and understand the new member orientation requirements, which must include Code of Ethics training:

  • How often are orientations scheduled, and when was the last one?
  • Is there a program agenda in place?
  • Does it meet NAR requirements – antitrust, fair housing, and ethics?
  • Who teaches the orientation? Assign speakers or instructors.
  • When and how many times a year is your orientation required? Review the bylaws.
  • What AV equipment is needed to deliver orientation materials?

4 to 6 months on the job  

____Identify NAR resources for HR and employment laws at the state and federal levels. Visit the Human Resources Toolkit on

____Learn and understand the Three-way Agreement between the local, state, and national REALTOR® organizations

____Locate and review your association's insurance plans:

  • Directors and Officers (D&O)
  • Errors and Omissions (E&O)
  • Workers' compensation
  • Business policy
  • Indemnification clause for D&O
  • Indemnification for building
  • Bonding

____Assess the association’s minimum IT requirements (software and hardware) and office equipment needs.

  • Determine whether equipment is leased or owned; identify pros and cons of each option.
  • Conduct needs assessment for replacement/addition needs.
  • Prepare, as needed, a capital budget request plan.

____Learn what types of product and service discounts you and your members can receive through NAR's REALTOR Benefits® Program.

____Learn about the education resources available to you and your members -- professional designations, publications, web sites, technology hotlines. Visit the Education Page for an overview.

____Know and understand liability issues -- antitrust, fair housing, legal hotline, E&O insurance policy, legal action committee, MLS (REALTOR® requirement, nonmember MLS).

____Know and understand legislative issues; determine your association’s role in the local legislative and political arena. Get started by visiting the REALTOR® Action Center.

7 to 12 months on the job

____Know and understand basic real estate practices. To learn the business of your members, read the NAR member magazine, REALTOR® Magazine, and other industry publications and resources. Search topics can include:

____Explore professional development opportunities for association executives (chief staff and staff specialists) on the AE Professional Development page, including:

____Develop a strategic planning process involving volunteer leaders. View NAR’s Strategic Framework

Related: view this checklist by category.