By Anne Marie DeCatsye, CEO
We’ve seen some remarkable numbers at the Association this year. Not only has our monthly membership number sustained at the 10,000+ level for the first time, we have grown CarolinaMLS and its services, our Mingle class offerings, our advocacy on behalf of Realtors® and member services in general.
The best part, in my opinion, is we’ve been able to do all this without an increase in Association dues. As a member, you pay $150 per year, a figure that’s not risen since 2014. This fall when you renew, you’ll see a $30 increase in your bill because NAR dues have gone up.
But you won’t see an increase in your local dues, even though member services have expanded significantly in recent years. Our growth in membership helps fund some of that, but it’s not all of our budget by any means. We also depend on sponsorship money from events and activities that are free to members, such as the Holiday Luncheon, Candidate Oktoberfest (formerly the Fish Fry) and Realtor® EXPO.
Yet, despite our Association services, I repeatedly am asked the following questions: “Why do I have to belong to the Association to join CarolinaMLS, and what do I get for my money anyway?”
The answer to the first question is that the Association, which owns CarolinaMLS, considers it essential for members to be part of a professional trade organization that emphasizes the Realtor® Code of Ethics, professional education and ongoing advocacy for the industry and the home-buying and selling public.
$150 is not pocket change by any means, and that’s why we make every effort to be good stewards of your dollars. When you consider that it costs 41 cents a day to have access to education, resources and other services vital to building and protecting your livelihood, it’s a modest sum of money. You can read more about how we’re working to make you successful as a Realtor® in the 2018 Mid-Year Report.
Also, here are my key thoughts on how we serve our members.
- Now in the fourth year of our Consumer Outreach Campaign, this effort promotes the Realtor® brand through ads, TV spots, outdoor digital boards and other measures. The campaign shows potential buyers and sellers the value of using a Realtor® in transactions, and the ads can be linked to your website by going to www.whatrole.com.
- We also interact with consumers and promote safe, affordable housing through our Housing Opportunity Foundation. The foundation leads our annual Realtors® Care Day, which repairs homes for the needy in our region, and leads our Workforce Housing Certificate Program, which educates Realtors® on working with first-time buyers and others in the low- to moderate-income range.
- On the political front, we’re a key member of the local Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition, best known as “REBIC.” We work with other real estate interests to make the industry’s voice heard with regional government. We ensure that we have a seat at the table when it comes to representing our members’ interests.
- As an Association member, you’re entitled to a free subscription to the online real estate news service, Inman Select. You normally would pay $200 annually if the subscription weren’t part of your membership. Please take a moment to sign up at https://www.carolinarealtors.com/resourcesublevel/newsroom/inman-select if you haven’t already. Inman is a go-to source for trends and breaking news, and it delivers the info right to your email box.
- The Mingle School of Real Estate has experienced growth in continuing-education (CE), pre-licensing and post-licensing classes this year. More than 8,000 people took licensing and CE classes in the first six months of 2018. This represented an approximately 12 percent increase in the number of classes over the same period last year.
- Mingle’s teachers also continue to win awards, with Sandy Williams and Dana Rhodes being the latest.
- Education Services staffers work closely with government affairs (REBIC) and others areas of the Association to offer Realtor® Hot Topics. Free of charge to members, these programs are typically provided every few months and are available on our YouTube channel afterward. Brent Cagle, aviation director at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, will be the next speaker on Aug. 29, addressing current and future airport expansion. Sign up here.
- We have a robust process for upholding the Realtor® Code of Ethics through our Grievance and Professional Standards process, as well as through mediation and arbitration
- The Realtor® Store, available online and at our headquarters, carries practical items needed by agents, including Supra/BTLE iBoxes, maps, signage and the “Working with Real Estate Agents” pamphlet.
If you’re not taking full advantage of these member benefits, then you’re not doing your “dues diligence”!
If you have suggestions or thoughts on what we are, or should be, doing, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.