Core Under COVID

While certain standards have been waived for 2020, consider completing them anyway.

By: Lauri Rottmayer, e-PRO, AHWD, an AE at the North Central Board of REALTORS® in Mountain Home, Ark. You can reach her at ncbrae@gmail.com or 870-425-6999.

As the impact of COVID-19 became clear in March, the National Association of REALTORS®’ leadership team agreed to approve the Association Executive Committee’s recommendation to waive Section 2, Standard E and all of Section 3 for the current Core Standards cycle, which ends Dec. 31, 2020. When the word came, our board had already completed those items on our Core Standards checklist.

Why? Because when I became an AE last July, I was baffled by the Core Standards. I went through the checklist every single day until I was finally sure we had satisfied them. In the process, I learned a lot—and I resolved that this year, I would complete our Core Standards with time to spare.

If you haven’t gotten to that place yet, you may be wondering what the changes encompass and how can you can complete your Core Standards requirements now that our day-to-day lives have changed so much. Here are some thoughts on that:

Advocacy Is Easy

Section 2, Standard E includes REALTOR® Party’s “Vote–Act–Invest” goals. With this year being an election year, this section is easy to complete even though it isn’t required. You might conduct an online get-out-the-vote activity, share information about the U.S. Census, or remind people to sign up for NAR Calls for Action via social media.

You should be able to complete the rest of Section 2 without too much trouble. Sharing information from NAR and your state association with members can be as simple as including it in your newsletter and social media posts. If you follow the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) on Twitter, you’ll have so many ideas, you won’t know what to do with them.

In Arkansas, we’re having a Loyal Companion Photo Contest to raise funds for RPAC. One photogenic pet will be chosen to represent each local association, and those winners will compete at the state convention in September; preliminary voting will take place online. The folks at Aristotle will be happy to help you set up a contest like this or an online trivia night to raise funds.

Outreach Is Essential

Section 3 involves consumer outreach. This is where we demonstrate engagement with the community. We have many associations that have excelled in response to COVID-19. “I am super-proud of my Connecticut association execs,” says Cindy Butts, CEO of Connecticut REALTORS®. “I’m finding they are stepping up in huge ways to continue to expand their commitment to their communities during the pandemic and through the rest of the year.”

Andrew Sims, CEO of the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®, N.C., offers a wealth of ideas to help you complete Core Standards:

  • Be the voice for real estate in your market, using news releases, media interviews, and other channels to share market statistics, NAR research reports, and the local or state analysis of NAR statistics.
  • Collect money using a GoFundMe page and donate it to a local food bank, or raise money for gift cards that can be donated to homeless shelter residents.
  • Have your local president do an interview with appraisers and inspectors to talk about changes in the marketplace. Or interview a lender about the changes in the mortgage industry and share it with the local news.

“It’s crucial that we’re doing these things right now for our communities,” Sims says. 

I feel like the waived areas are the meat and potatoes of the Core Standards, and what remains isn’t difficult to complete.

NAR and state associations offer all types of free training opportunities for staff and leadership. Continue to look for and promote them! This year’s NAR Leadership Summit will take place virtually, enabling AEs and volunteer leaders to participate easily.

At face value, Core Standards appear to be much more difficult than they actually are. When you take them apart section by section, it’s easy to see how they can be completed during the pandemic. I’m the only staffer at my small association, and if I can do it, you can do it.

“Even if you aren’t ‘required’ to report it in Core Standards, please do these things anyway,” Butts says. “It’s really hard now, but this is when our members and communities need us most. This is our time for greatness, everyone!”

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