President’s update: Pinch me – is it only midyear at the Association?

By Brenda Hayden, 2019 Association/CarolinaMLS President

Completing a new headquarters and new branding might round out a full agenda for many trade organizations in a given year.

Not at our Association.

Amid our HQ and branding projects, we have charged ahead — continuing, adding and increasing member services; growing our community engagement and significantly expanding CarolinaMLS.

2019 has been like a year on steroids, and, of course, it’s only July. Here’s a quick look at highlights so far.

Member Services

How about that new building! Have you driven by to take a look? Please do. It will bring us into the current age in not only appearance but in the spaces we need to serve members.

The structure is nearly complete, and the movers will move in staff on Friday, July 12 and Monday, July 15. So, the Association will be closed those days to facilitate an efficient shift.

If you need lockboxes, items from The Realtor® Store or other member services, try to get those Thursday, July 11. The Realtor® Store will only have lockboxes in stock for in-person shopping on Thursday.  Any online orders will not be processed until Tuesday, July 16, which is also when we also expect to have most of our store inventory available for purchase again.

In connection with our new HQ, we’re launching the Pearl Society, which is a new benefactor group to benefit our Housing Opportunity Foundation. We’ve commissioned artist Shaun Cassidy to provide an artwork for the lobby of our new building. The piece will honor the new Pearl Society and the new building, which opens onto Pearl Street Park.

Another new development in the first half of 2019 has been the debut of the LGBTQ Advisory Group as part of our Diversity Council. The group kicked off with lots of fun and networking at a luau on June 19 at Camp North End.

Also this year, we have continued providing educational sessions for members, such as a Realtor® Hot Topic on the new I-77 toll lanes and classes at the Realtor® Expo on Matrix topics and on professionalism and business generation in social media.

Mingle School has also been busy. It expanded to offer continuing-education courses in commercial real estate and to partner with the Housing Opportunity Foundation to provide the Military Relocation Professional Certification. Enrollees in the Foundation’s Workforce Housing Certificate Program received credit for the military relocation course.

Community Engagement

Affordable housing is top of mind in our region, and our Association is playing a key role in the dialogue. We have partnered with other regional organizations to commission UNC Charlotte’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate to provide housing research data and insights over the next five years.

The center presented its first information on Feb. 21 to a packed house at UNC Charlotte Center City. Using this “State of Housing in Charlotte” report, we are working with Mecklenburg as well as suburban communities on the topics of housing affordability and supply.

Of course, our Housing Opportunity Foundation has worked on affordability and other housing issues for many years. We celebrated our 11th anniversary of Realtors® Care Day in April. Hundreds of us once again fanned out across the region to make repairs and improvements to homes. The day was rainy and cool, but we all pressed forward to do our part and to show our commitment to the community.

This fall, we’ll be showing a similar community commitment through Project REACH. Approximately 150 Realtor® volunteers will be at the service of regional nonprofits for worthwhile projects on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

In the meantime, we held our 4th annual Strides for Shelter event at McAlpine Greenway Park on Saturday, June 22. Proceeds go to The Relatives, which provides shelter to at-risk and runaway youth. I did the walk, while many others will laced up for the run.

Speaking of young people — an exciting addition to our foundation work this year is the YES Award, which will honor a top youth volunteer in the community. Nominations are due by 5 p.m. on July 15, and here is a link to the nomination form. This award, for youth ages 10 through 18, is the youth counterpart to the foundation’s adult Humanitarian Award.

CarolinaMLS

The big news on this front is continued expansion of CarolinaMLS. In March, we acquired the MLSs for the Realtor® organizations in Burke and McDowell counties. In April, CarolinaMLS became the primary MLS for the Salisbury/Rowan Association of Realtors®. We now have more than 17,000 subscribers and member participants in CarolinaMLS.

Not all of our significant activities so far this year are noted in this column. Yes, there are more, and I’m amazed at the volume. Having a strong organization enables us to offer robust member services. When people ask me about that strength, I like to stay mindful of our responsibility. I often paraphrase a familiar Bible verse from Luke, “To whom much is given, much is required.”