I am a real estate broker and real estate professional and currently a Realtor®. To me, being a Realtor® simply means that I am a paying member of the Seattle/King County Board of Realtors®, Washington Association of Realtors® and National Association of Realtors®.
Here in Western Washington, the Board of Realtors® does not own the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so Realtor® membership is not required for use of the MLS. It is good to help support the organization which does a lot of lobbying on behalf the real estate industry and property owners, but how much is too much?
The dues for these organizations are not inexpensive – $470 plus “optional donations”. These are charged to each member broker, as well as every salesperson employed by that member broker. In September the Board of Directors of the Washington Association of Realtors® approved a mandatory special assessment of $100 per Realtor® to create two funds to do what the organization was already supposed to be doing – protecting homeowners and the real estate industry.
There are already a number of companies who have chosen NOT to be part of these organizations. This keeps the expenses for their agents lower and allows them to keep more of the money they earn. It can actually give them a leg up in hiring over their competition who compel their agents to join the Realtors® and pay the dues.
Prior to the “special” assessment, I was already disenfranchised with being a Realtor®. I have not been seeing any direct benefit, except for the honor of writing a check each year and getting (too) frequent emails about overpriced educational classes.
I have decided that I will let my Realtor® membership expire at the end of this year. I will continue to be a real estate professional, but will no longer be able to call myself a Realtor® – and won’t have to keep using those darn ® symbols.
3 thoughts on “A Real Estate Professional, but remain a Realtor®?”
Joe, after having been a Realtor for over 15 years, I recently have come to the same conclusion you have. At present, the Department of Justice’s Lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors, leads me to believe that some changes are in order.
For the first time in my history with NAR, I am seeing a conflict between what is best for the consumer, and NAR’s policies. Since the Department of Justice seems to agree, I will continue to be a non-member until the lawsuit issues are resolved.
We are very lucky to live in an area where we truly have a choice. In most of the country, the mls system is owned by the Board of Realtors. I would love to see this country progress to the point where being a member of the Board of Realtors is truly, pure choice. I think then the Board will be more challenged to function at a higer standard than they are, here in the Seattle area, today.
Here’s to people like you and I taking a stand toward a change for the good!
You are right Ardell – many of the MLS throughout the country are owned by their local Board of Realtors. It was that way when I was working in San Diego County.
While they didn’t compell Realtor membership, they sure made it financially savy to be a Realtor. Here they do not have the power to do that and as a result, in my humble opinion, the costs of being a Realtor greatly outweigh the benefits.
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