Throughout its history and various name changes, American Home Week has featured numerous events, including open houses, contests, community service projects, speeches, and consumer education sessions. The National Association of REALTORS® often debuted new radio, television, and newspaper advertisements during the week. A book, Under All Is the Land, was distributed during REALTOR® Week in 1970; a REALTOR® Week song was featured in 1973; a half-hour TV special on homeownership aired nationally in 1986; and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History's Within These Walls... exhibition was sponsored by NAR in conjunction with American Home Week in 2001.
The concept for American Home Week began in the 1920s, when local real estate associations often held "Real Estate Week" or "Real Estate Day" events as a way to promote the idea of home ownership and bring consumers together with real estate brokers in their communities. The events would include speeches, educational sessions, contests, tours, and more.
In 1926, the California Real Estate Association suggested that the National Association of Real Estate Boards (now NAR) sponsor a national Real Estate Week event. The Board of Directors tabled the idea.
The Board of Directors finally revisited and approved the real estate week idea in 1955, following a recommendation from the Association's Committee on REALTOR® (a group charged with promoting the REALTOR® term among the general public). The event, known as REALTOR® Week, sought to promote the value of dealing with a Realtor to the public.
The first REALTOR® Week was celebrated nationally from March 11-17, 1956. "Almost a quarter of a million pamphlets, "Realtors – Those Pledged to an Established Code of Ethics," were distributed to the public in connection with luncheons, dinners, open houses, and other functions. The message was spread too by countless local ads, newspaper stories, and radio programs, reported the weekly REALTOR® HEADLINES. The governors of seven states signed proclamations to officially recognize REALTOR® Week.
In 1976, REALTOR® Week was renamed to Private Property Week. "The reason for the change was to make the observance of this important week more basic to all Americans. It was felt that the broadening of this important public service event will be highly attractive to the national press, radio and TV," according to a brief announcement in REALTOR® HEADLINES.
In 1986, the event was renamed again, becoming American Home Week, in an effort to make it more appealing to the general public and the media. The new name was a reflection of the most popular perception of private property —the home.
In 2002, American Home Week expanded in scope and was joined with a HUD initiative to become National Homeownership Month, celebrated in June. National Homeownership Month was last celebrated in June 2008.
Although the National Association no longer plays a major role in the event, many local REALTOR® associations still celebrate American Home Week, usually during the second week of April.
Sample activities and events from NAR's American Home Week kits for 1993 and 2002):
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Home Ownership Matters—Through advocacy and outreach to lawmakers, consumers, thought leaders, and the media, NAR is working to preserve the important American institution of home ownership and provide REALTORS® and state and local associations with valuable information and tools to address concerns from clients and the community. The Home Ownership Matters section of REALTOR.org includes news, articles, statistics, videos, and other material you can use.
REALTOR® Open House Events—Talking points, media resources, tools from realtor.com®, and more information for open house events sponsored by many state and local REALTOR® associations throughout the U.S.