By Roger Parham, Association/CarolinaMLS President
It was truly an honor and privilege to serve you, my fellow Realtors®, as president of the Association, CarolinaMLS and Housing Opportunity Foundation in 2017. I look forward to continuing to serve as your past president and to supporting our new president, Jason Gentry. Smart, energetic and committed to our industry, Jason will do a great job.
As I reflect on 2017, many highlights come to mind. You can see them all in our 2017 Year in Review, but here are the biggest ones.
CarolinaMLS: Continuing to lead
- How MLSs improve and consolidate is top of mind not just here but across the country. We are fortunate our own Steve Byrd, chief technology officer of CarolinaMLS, was named to the board of the National Real Estate Standards Organization in 2017, and thus is having a hand in shaping MLS standards to streamline our industry.
- Our “Business Has No Borders” campaign — which gave Realtors® in bordering S.C. counties a chance to experience the value of CarolinaMLS — recognizes that consolidation presents a major cost savings for brokers and firms in our region. Other compelling reasons for consolidation include standardized data, rules and compliance, as well as more robust products and services for agents.
- By mid-January, CarolinaMLS is slated to purchase the North Carolina Mountains MLS. For the past two years we have been serving as the organization’s wholesale vendor for MLS and related services. The acquisition will grow our subscriber base by 35 percent to more than 15,500 subscribers and help us continue delivering timely technology, tools and products.
RPAC: Breaking records
- Big congratulations are in order for the many Realtors® in our association who stepped up to make this a record-breaking year for our campaign for the Realtors® Political Action Committee (RPAC). With $175,061 raised in 2017, we not only set a local record, we set records for the most ever raised by any local association or by any region in our state. Thank you, Region 8 RPAC Trustee Maren Brisson-Kuester, for your great leadership!
New HQ: Nearing construction
- The Association and Pappas Properties closed on the first phase of our development in September, and construction staging and clearing have started. Within two years, you will see a transformation of our complex into a walkable, pedestrian-friendly area, with much-needed transportation improvements and a revitalized Pearl Street Park.
Foundation: Making an impact
- To address unmet housing needs this year, our Housing Opportunity Foundation gave $61,500 in community grants to 17 nonprofits and seven area Habitat for Humanity chapters.
- The Foundation began Project REACH, which stands for “Realtors® Engaging and Creating Hope.” Some 75 Realtors® spent a day listening, assisting and connecting with local nonprofits. More Project REACH activities are slated for October 2018.
- Through our second annual Strides for Shelter 5K, the Foundation raised $15,108 for A Child’s Place, which aids children and families affected by homelessness.
- Realtors® Care Day (RCD) continues to help deserving homeowners. With the addition of this year’s 26 sites, nearly 5,000 Realtor® volunteers have helped improve the lives of 231 homeowners and nonprofits since the inception of RCD nine years ago. That represents a community impact of more than $1 million.
As I think about 2018, I see several big-picture priorities. We must be vigilant about promoting the value of a Realtor®, championing the goal of homeownership, adhering to the high professional standards we set for ourselves and helping market this thriving region we call home.
Best wishes to you and yours for a great 2018!