Realtors® Ready to Own Opportunities and Hardships Ahead

CHICAGO (November 3, 2017) — The real estate industry is rapidly evolving, but the nation's 1.3 million Realtors® are ready to own the significant challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

That's according to Elizabeth Mendenhall, incoming 2018 president of the National Association of Realtors®, who shared at a news conference today that NAR is working hard to harness the power of its 1.3 million members to deal with the most pressing industry and market issues, and there are significant consequences for inaction.

“In the year ahead, Realtors® will continue tackling some of the same ongoing issues, like flood insurance and low housing inventory and affordability, but we'll also be future focused and determining what is coming next and how best to move Realtor® boards and associations, members, and the industry forward,” said Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor® from Columbia, Missouri and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty. “These are not easy challenges to tackle, but we can either be disrupted or be the innovators, and I believe we need to come from a place of opportunity and not fear.”

Mendenhall, who officially takes office as NAR's president Monday, November 6, said a key strategic initiative for the year ahead is to increase Realtor® influence in an uncertain legislative, regulatory and political environment. High on the agenda will be advocacy issues like prohibitive mortgage fees, national disaster and flood insurance, property investments, and ensuring that 95 percent of households don't lose their homeownership tax benefits under recently proposed tax reform plans. Mendenhall noted that Realtors® are the main voice for property ownership, and it's the job of NAR's 1.3 million Realtor® members to protect the American dream, so that consumers can own it.

“NAR's strength lies in the engagement of its million-plus members. In the coming year, we'll work harder than ever to engage those grassroots at the state, local and national levels to increase our efforts and make sure our voice is heard from city hall to the halls of Congress,” she said.

Another key initiative for the year ahead is to define measurable increases in Realtor® professionalism, both within the industry and in the eyes of the consumers. Mendenhall noted that being a real estate professional looks remarkably different today than it did a decade or two ago when technology didn't play as large of a role in the real estate transaction. She aims to hone in on the expertise and experience that matter most to consumers, and then ensure Realtor® members have the knowledge and professional skillset to exceed their clients' expectations.

Mendenhall also wants to ensure that the role of the real estate professional is essential to the consumer, no matter how real estate broker business models change.

“Technology has transformed the real estate business, with growing numbers of buyers and sellers first looking online for properties and real estate information, so we have to ensure that buyers, sellers and investors know that a Realtor® is essential to the consumer and that they are better prepared and protected when they have a trusted advisor at their side,” she said. “The only way brokers and agents can do that is to ensure we continue to demonstrate our value.”

Taking the management of real estate data to the next level is also a priority for Mendenhall in the year ahead. Real estate brokers face a lot of competition in terms of who manages their listing data, and the demand for greater access and more data and analysis is forcing the management of multiple listing services and information to evolve, she said. Mendenhall highlighted the need to improve how data is shared, explore new business models, and advance partnerships or consolidations to ensure Realtors® stay competitive.

“Every day there's another headline about how the real estate industry is about to change in a big way,” said Mendenhall. “It's NAR's and my job as incoming president to advocate for and keep Realtors® and their clients one step ahead. I look forward to collaborating with new and current partners and our Realtor® associations and members across the country to meet those challenges head on and make positive change happen.”

Mendenhall made her remarks during the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago, November 3-6.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America's largest trade association, representing 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

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