Moving down the highway
Association rolls up 2011 accomplishments
By Laurie Knudsen
Over the past year, our association has been like the driver of a car in tough conditions. The weather hasn’t been good, but we’ve stayed focused on the road and the task at hand.
Given the economy, I thought we would do well in 2011 if we could just hold the car (association!) on the road. Thanks to association leadership from both members and staff, we have done much more. We’ve actually progressed down the road.
And most importantly, the reason we exist — to serve the membership — has remained strong.
As I move into the role of past president and Jennifer Frontera takes over as president in January, I want to recap a few of our highlights from 2011.
- Membership: Because of the economy, we forecast that we might lose 10 percent of our membership this year from where we ended 2010. Fortunately, our attrition has not been that bad. Through Oct. 26, we had lost approximately 950 members (Realtors® and affiliates), but we have gained 447 members. Our overall membership as of late October was 6,328.
- Programming: Our education and events have remained strong. Bringing in Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, on Nov. 1, is a good example. We also had a record number of vendors, 157, at the Candidate Fish Fry Sept. 22.
- Mingle School: We’ve done some reorganization and marketing to make Mingle School classes more attractive and visible. A Mingle School task force headed by Elaine Price did a great job in helping us think through these improvements.
- CMLS: We’ve made some significant changes to CMLS this year, improving functions based on member input. We upgraded the Realist tax system, added a new password security system and pushed an automated valuation tool, “ValueMap,” that members can put on their websites for consumers to obtain property valuations.
In the first quarter of 2012, the MLS will become “browser independent.” That is, it will work with Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer (what we’ve had) and other browsers.
We are also continuing to look at CMLS for overall improvements. Jennifer Frontera is heading up the effort, titled the TEMPO Statuses and IDX Task Force.
- Our Property: The biggest physical change we’ve made is demolishing the office building we owned at the corner of Greenwood Cliff and Kenilworth Avenue, near our headquarters in midtown. Removing the building changed the whole landscape, opening up better marketing possibilities for the land — which was the reason we bought the property in the first place. We own over five contiguous acres counting that site.
As our CEO Anne Marie Howard outlined in her September/October Executive Report, we took down the building and gave the city a small amount of land in exchange for significant road improvements on Kenilworth (a turn lane!) and a road directly into our property (an extension of Pearl Street Way).
In looking at the future, Joe Rempson is chairing a task force that will report next year on what it sees as the highest and best use of our property.
These highlights are only a few important stops on our journey in 2011, which, by the way, has gone extremely fast for me. In fact, it’s gone so quickly that I can hardly believe it.
I’m thrilled that Jennifer will be our president next year. She brings so much experience, especially with technology. Not only has she been on the search committee for our last two MLS systems, but she has also served on both the CMLS and association boards.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the privilege of being your president this year. Though resale, foreclosure and short-sale inventory declines are perking up the market as I write this in late October, we’ll likely have a challenging market for some time. But based on 2011, I’m betting we will not only keep the association “car” out of the ditch, we’ll also keep it moving down the highway.