Cover of the 2023 Association Profile Report


The Association became the largest trade association in the United States in the early 1970s, with over 400,000 members in 1975. Today, the National Association of REALTORS® has over 1.5 million members, 54 state associations (including Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands), and more than 1,000 local associations. With varying sizes, markets, members, and resources, different associations have different priorities and policies. The purpose of this report is to serve as a reference guide of best and common practices for Association Executives and staff members nationwide.

The report is broken down by size of association, determined by NAR’s predetermined categories: Mega, Large, Medium, and Small. More details about the association size definition can be found in the Methodology section.


With a network of more than 1,000 local associations and 54 state associations, it is important to understand commonalities and differences and to understand best practices. With varying sizes, resources, and local markets, let’s take a look at how REALTOR® associations operate and compare to each other:

Associations Overview

  • Many local REALTOR® associations are smaller in size: 74% represent fewer than 2,000 members each.
  • Seventy-four percent of associations fully own their local MLS, while 12% are shareholders of their local MLS.
  • Thirty-eight percent of associations’ MLSs allow non-REALTOR® participation.

Staff Characteristics

  • Associations are most likely to at least employ an Association Executive/CEO (94%). Many REALTOR® associations also employ a Membership Director, Government Affairs Director, Education Director, and Communications Director.
  • Twenty-two percent of associations share staff and services with other REALTOR® associations to conserve and optimize resources.
  • The typical REALTOR® association employs three full-time staff members and one part-time staff member.


  • While this varies by association size, the most common benefit offered to full-time staff is paid vacation time off (89%), followed by paid sick time (78%), bonuses (68%), and health insurance (58%).
  • Fourteen percent of associations offer health plans to their REALTOR® members.

Rules & Guidelines

  • Associations are most likely to have a social media policy or guidelines for staff (87%) and least likely to have these for members (35%).
  • REALTOR® associations are most likely to have a conflict-of-interest policy (95 percent), followed by a whistle-blower policy (81%), and a social media policy (65%).
  • Among associations with a social media policy, violations are most likely dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Financial & Operations

  • REALTOR® associations most often maintain financial reserves for a 1–2-year timeline (39%), followed by a 6-month – less than 1-year timeline (33%).
  • The most common non-dues revenue sources of REALTOR® associations are penalties through late fees (64%) and CE courses (63%), followed by affiliate programs and the local MLS.
  • Associations primarily (85%) conduct dues billing on an annual basis, where all members are charged at the same time.
  • Nearly three-fourths of REALTOR® associations (72%) owned their buildings pre-COVID and still own them.

Offerings & Courses

  • Nearly all (94%) associations have an award program for REALTOR® of the Year, while more than half (54%) have an awards program for service/community/charitable actions.
  • Nearly one-fifth (19%) of REALTOR® associations have a commercial division, group, or committee. Only 5% have a commercial overlay board, while 77% have neither.
  • REALTOR® associations most often participate in advocacy efforts for fair housing (85%), property rights (80%), and housing affordability (73%).
  • The typical REALTOR® association offers 12 continuing education courses and 20 total classes.

Governance/Board of Directors

  • More than half (56%) of REALTOR® associations use virtual voting for governance meetings.
  • REALTOR® associations are most likely (38%) to have a three-year term limit for their board members.
  • The most common criterion for Board of Directors participation among REALTOR® associations is a minimum tenure as a member of the association (52%), followed by a minimum tenure on committee(s) (41%).

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