Brokers Seek Community, Support in Volatile Market

Support group

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The meetings of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Broker Engagement Council and Broker Engagement Committee were standing-room-only at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in Washington, D.C., this week—a sign that brokers are increasingly turning to each other for support. “Brokers look to the association for the guidance they need, and the broker committee is that guidance,” said NAR First Vice President Tracy Kasper.

To start both meetings, she told the story of holding a virtual brokers summit amid the pandemic and expecting a few hundred brokers to attend. “We had 3,600 brokers in attendance,” Kasper said. “We brokers need each other.” She noted that brokers are banding together to learn from one another and keep each other grounded through the volatility of the market.

At the committee meeting, brokers were briefed on all of the latest data and news about the real estate market, pending and in-progress lawsuits, and MLSs. Key takeaways included:

  • MLSs are in need of broker feedback because they and their agents are the boots on the ground using the service.
  • NAR provides a ton of tools, data, and research for brokers to use, but data changes often in such a fast-moving market. One of the best ways to get the most up-to-date information is to follow NAR’s various social platforms, where information is boiled down to key points and stats.
  • The market is currently short somewhere between 4.6 million and 6.5 million housing units, and it will take creative solutions to fill the gaps.
  • The millennial generation makes up the largest generation currently in the market, and it is the largest generation in general terms. The median first-time homebuyer age is 33, which is right in the middle of the millennial generation. Inventory will continue to be a problem because the rest of the generation will be coming of age for the next several years
  • Younger buyers are more likely to use an agent, seeing the value in having someone help them navigate offers, contracts, inspections, etc.
  • There are currently three antitrust class-action lawsuits against NAR working their way through various courts. Two of them allege that sellers have been harmed as a result of the cooperative compensation rule. The third alleges that buyers have been harmed by the cooperative compensation rule because agents are adding their commission to the sale price of the home, resulting in the buyer overpaying for the home.
  • Plaintiffs in these cases are trying to convince the courts that their experiences represent the experiences of buyers and sellers all over the country. NAR’s legal team is working diligently on these cases and are hoping to highlight how different each and every real estate transaction actually is.
  • It’s important for brokers and agents to tell their stories and communicate the value of the real estate profession. Right now, these stories are being told by third parties, and it’s important that the profession itself reclaim the narrative. NAR has created to provide easy access to resources for brokers and agents to communicate their value.
  • It’s imperative that brokers make sure their websites are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as there are people combing the internet for the sole purpose of finding sites that do not comply so that they can sue.
  • Copyright infringement cases have also been on the rise in the industry, so brokers will want to make sure that they and the contractors they work with to create content understand what copyright infringement is and make sure they take every measure available to avoid it.

Right now, the committee has three Broker Power Hours planned for 2022. They are working on narrowing down topics of interest and asked for feedback. The current proposed topics are:

  1. Providing direction to new agents.
  2. DEI dos and don’ts.
  3. Department of Justice updates and how they relate to the industry.
  4. Nuances of the short-term rental market.
  5. Promoting the REALTOR® value proposition.
  6. Broker engagement in the community.
  7. How NAR and state and local associations can maintain their value to brokers.
  8. Future economic predictions concerning the real estate market.

The committee and council also talked about the Broker Engagement Grant, which is available to any broker interested in holding an event with the purpose of engaging other brokers. Examples of events include virtual broker summits, power hours, in-person networking, or educational events.

The grant offers up to $5,000 to a qualifying brokerage for an event. Many brokers don’t know that the grant is available, and both the committee and council want to see the funds used so that the grant continues to be available.