Plan Now for a Smooth 2016

You know the requirements and understand the rationale for the Core Standards, but you wish you had more time to handle all the responsibilities while keeping up with everything else on your to-do list.

As in life, attitude toward the process often determines the outcome. As we move forward, gathering all of the documentation can be daunting. But it doesn't need to be.

I'm the Core Standards Compliance Liaison for the state of Oregon, a position that focuses on helping local associations with all aspects of compliance. Oregon manages one local association, but several others have no full-time paid staff, and we went from 30 local associations to 26 due to mergers in the last year.

Essential tools

A useful tool to gain insight into Core Standards criteria and identify areas of strength and weakness is the Core Standards Certification Form. It spells out exactly what needs to be done. Use the form's tools to help you structure conversations, committee agendas, and task force assignments.

Every association brings special characteristics to the REALTOR® organization; yet leadership teams, members, and staff in all associations have many similarities. The Core Standards were developed to help associations identify and build on their unique assets within the context of shared strengths. We are one group united by the term REALTOR® and everything it means. We have built a solid reputation. But as the first certification cycle is completed and we are in the next cycle, action plans need to be put into place for any weaknesses that were identified. That's a good thing: Organizations are only as strong as their weakest links. Corrective action needn't be challenging given all the resources you have at your fingertips.

Ways to make 2016 certification better

Planning is the key to successful certification. But don't forget to document, document, and document. Areas where I noticed associations struggling most were with documenting Calls to Action and with evidence of being the "The Voice for Real Estate." A handful of associations needed to beef up their websites to include the links to Code of Ethics information. (The technology guide provides all of the information to have a compliant website.) Another area of weakness was with financial policies. Many associations provided budgets and financial reports but still needed the actual policy document. Lastly, AE professional development was highlighted throughout the process.

NAR has listened to feedback from association executives around the country and provided helpful tools. All of the resources necessary to become certified are available on nar.realtor/corestandards.

Now is the time to get your files ready. It adds more to the mix of daily operational duties but will pay off in the long run. The purpose of Core Standards is to keep the REALTOR® organization strong. This is where I believe attitude comes into play. Once AEs in my area settled down and relaxed—and tuned into thinking about the exercise as one to strengthen their organization—it was much easier.

The new compliance form is online so you can begin completing and uploading items on a regular basis; working with your fellow local AEs and state association staff, you will be on track for success.

Here's to a "corefully" compliant 2016!

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