It was a hot and rainy week in Washington DC and, despite discussions around the proposed NAR dues increases in the blogosphere, the meetings were generally focused on positive efforts at NAR and locally.
The NAR 360 meeting really set the tone for the event. You can watch the whole thing here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmtGT5vU_TM
Right out of the chute, they addressed the proposed NAR due increases and the first minute and a half of the video is a montage of messages that have been sent to NAR – including negative ones.
Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2018 NAR President made the point that, “Criticism can easily be avoided by doing nothing, saying nothing, and being nothing. That is not why we are here this week.” She then explained how the industry was here to lift people up the homeownership ladder. She admitted that the industry hadn’t always gotten things right – and referred to the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. She made a beautiful impassioned plea to act together to make the big decisions and fight for things like net neutrality, flood insurance, and anti-discrimination in housing. She called for bold action and not to be afraid of making missteps along the way. She called for better communication about what NAR and REALTORs stand for. She welcomed the leadership team to the stage, as well as past-president Bill Brown, for whom there was thunderous applause.
Several inspiring speeches about fair housing followed, reviewing the history of housing discrimination and the strides made. The first speaker made the great point that passing a law and changing the culture of the country are two different things, too often conflated. “Laws are not magic, merely guidelines and aspirations, blueprints with consequences…. That’s why the motto is ‘Fair housing makes us stronger’ – not ‘The Fair Housing Act makes us stronger’.” These speeches – especially that first speaker – is a must-watch!
Bob Goldberg took the stage to urge the group to action so that NAR would remain the pace-setter in our industry, which is changing rapidly. He talked about the changes made over the past six months to make it more member-centric organization and showed a video about “A Day In The Life of a Realtor Program”. He talked about the staff restructuring, efficiencies created, the focus on member engagement and satisfaction, improved communications, and improving association nimbleness and decision-making. Bob then put focus on the Strategic Business Innovation and Technology Group which engages with innovators and disruptors to keep NAR ahead of disruption.
Tom Riley, 2018 Treasurer, talked about the dues increase and made a strong case that NAR has made many cuts to create an efficient organization, but that additional money is needed to meet the challenges ahead.
The session wrapped up with a rallying cry by Elizabeth Mendenhall and other members of the NAR leadership team.
Federal Issues Priorities Briefing
Attendees woke up early on Wednesday to be provided with talking points before making their way to their legislators’ offices. Issues like stances on fair housing, flood insurance, housing availability and affordability, tax reform, and supporting net neutrality were discussed. NAR is urging Congress to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to the Fair Housing Act. On tax policy, the question is whether agents and brokers will be eligible for the 20% deduction for business income for the self-employed and pass-through businesses. Regarding flood insurance, the goal is to have the Senate to take up H.R. 2874 to avoid a program lapse before August of 2018.
This was Clareity’s first major event inside the CoreLogic® booth, which was very busy with inquiries about MatrixTM 360 (public records deeply integrated into the MLS), SavvyCardTM (mobile and social marketing), TrestleTM (a platform that provides an aggregated RESO Platinum Certified feed – and so much more), as well as the Clareity® security and integration products.
On the subject of Clareity, our professional services (consulting) group has been going strong since joining CoreLogic – including MLS strategic planning, public speaking, regionalization, and security assessment services. Some recent significant breaches around the industry have raised the awareness of the need for the security services and products – and we believe this year is going to be a banner year for our product innovation!
Hot Topic of Conversation: MLS Consolidation
MLS consolidation remains a hot topic of discussion both on stages and in the hallways at these meetings. Our discussions with client MLSs considering consolidation focus on consumer-focused megaregions (illustrated below) rather than state boundaries, since real estate market areas quite often cross state lines.
We hope to publish at least one case study this summer regarding MLSs that we are assisting with consolidation.
MLS Association Executives Session
Art Carter talked how important it is to be RESO platinum certified and offer the certified Web API and Data Dictionary for the sake of the brokerage community. While this does not mean eliminating the older rets standard it may mean not handing out new rets credentials – instead just the new API credentials – as a way of transitioning the industry to the new standards.
Katie Johnson is now a Senior Vice President and is heading a new NAR team focused on member experience with the goal of making members more successful. She is developing governance resources for MLS and would love to collaborate on that. She would like local cooperation in relaying NAR value to members and would like feedback on how to raise member professionalism.
David Charron and Chris Carrillo discussed the road ahead for MLSs. Chris talked about how important it is for MLSs and groups of innovating MLSs to support each other. He also talked about how executives need to rally their boards of directors to innovate. Chris gave props to innovation happening in El Paso and consolidation in Ohio with Yes MLS. David talked about the challenges of large scale consolidation. David suggested there may be a role for CMLS in innovation and Chris talked about their role in best practices and sharing MLS successes. David suggests that executives mentor up-and comer executives.
Denee Evans talked about CMLS. The next event is in Orlando September 26-28 with registration opening in a week. There’s a new seamless best practice online self-assessment tool on the website … also white papers and webinars and new CMLX3 training classes starting soon. Finally, Denee promoted use of the “Making the Market Work” campaign.
A panel of brokers and agents talked about creating the “perfect MLS”. Ideas included leadership engaging with subscribers in person and being available by phone and email. The perfect MLS is always trying to get better especially in terms of data integrity and getting access to data without jumping through too many hoops. Solving “coming soon” (in some way) would be good. Engaging with commercial, property management and leasing, and new construction would be valuable. Allowing update of the MLS via RESO standards is desired. Getting more broker participation and help with tool adoption would be ideal. Eliminate overlapping MLS boundaries. A panel of MLS executives talked about what they heard.
Jeremy Crawford provided a RESO update, describing impressive membership growth. He talked about case studies on the RESO website highlighting the efficiency of using the web API and also described some cool things MLSs are doing with “green” information. The deadline to adopt the new data dictionary 1.6 is August 2018 and the new Web API 1.0.3 is December 2018. The update specification should be finished in June. A Spanish data dictionary should also be complete this summer. New workgroups include Event Catalog and a Broker Advisory Group. The next conference is October 15-18 in Milwaukee.
MLS Forum & Multiple Listing Issues & Policies Committee Meeting
MLS Policy Changes
The main changes discussed include:
- Amending the mandatory waiver policy to include Commercial Information Exchange (CIE).
- Dan Sale spoke in favor, and no one spoke against it.
- The motion passed as written.
- Providing a process that participants would have to go through before taking legal action if they think another participant is engaging in unauthorized use of their content –, including sending notice to the accused who must remove the content or provide proof the use is authorized. The MLS could then issue sanctions if warranted and if the violation is uncured the complaining party could take legal action. To review the entire process and full text of changes, visit the NAR website.
- Cathy Libby spoke for this type of change, but against how it was composed – wanting some of the language to be more specific in terms of time frames and expanding the 60-day window. Cathy also suggested getting rid of “board of director” involvement for something that could be administratively handled.
- An amendment was included in the proposal: Adoption of changes to sections 9.3 and 9.4 would not be required if the MLS has alternative procedures to address alleged misuse of listing content that includes notice to the alleged infringer.
- The motion passed as written, including the changes and amendments made prior to the meeting.
Following are some of the presentations made during the meeting:
Chris Carrillo (MetroMLS) and Joe Horning (Shorewest Realtors) shared their experience collaborating with ARMLS, a non-contiguous MLS, exploring many areas from phone system to public records system. Chris suggested that maybe other MLSs could collaborate as well.
Carl DeMusz (Yes MLS) talked about the process leading to the recent MLS consolidation in Ohio. There were some unsuccessful efforts to merge NORMLS and CRIS. Reciprocity was tried with limited success and members had to learn two systems. In 2008 they attempted to merge but shareholders voted no. In 2009 they formed their “plan B” – NEOHREX – an agreement to select one MLS vendor and jointly operate one database. The larger NORMLS agreed to move to the smaller MLSs vendor, and that was a turning point in the relationship. NEOHREX was a loose agreement owned by the two MLSs, but there was no corporation or governance in place – just an advisory group. Other MLSs joined as “wholesale accounts”, receiving service from NEOHREX, so the name North East Ohio Real Estate Exchange (NEOHREX) didn’t make much sense anymore. It took negotiations with brokers, agents, governors, directors, shareholder boards and staff – but they created Yes MLS in 2018: 12,053 members in 36 counties. Services and dues will be equalized over the next year.
NAR has a new MLS Map Project on nar.realtor in the consolidation section – including the number of associations associated with each, their names, and the subscriber count.
Melanie Wyne from NAR provided an update on net neutrality and the DOJ/FTC Competition Work Group. The FCC last year rolled back net neutrality 2015 protections, leaving only a rule that ISPs have to be transparent about what they are doing. During the week of the NAR meetings the U.S. senate voted for net neutrality – but this has yet to pass the house, which is far less likely. So, there’s more work to do. Regarding the DOJ/FTC workshop examining competition in real estate brokerage, NAR has had phone calls and meetings with them. The hearing will be open to the public and what we have heard there will be three panels: the first looking at how information moves from consumers to brokers to MLS and back to consumers – Art Carter will participate in that. The second panel has to do with brokers. The third panel will deal with competition policy and NAR’s Katie Johnson will participate. Melanie feels we can demonstrate that there is competition and that listing data is widely available.
From the floor:
- Tom Wissel brought up an issue where, as an MLS operator, they are required to provide information to corporate websites (not local participants) for IDX use. The company then provides information to non-subscribers. This should be investigated.
- Kipp Cooper brought up the issue of MLS of Choice – as a large regional they are inundated with requests from other MLSs to verify that other agents are with their MLS. He hopes someone can come up with a way to streamline that work.
2018 MLS PAG
This presidential advisory group was appointed in early 2018 – 15 members composed of brokers and MLS executives. The group met February 15-16 in Chicago. The first purpose is to provide NAR leadership with a plan of action for addressing concerns about future use of listing data and MLS operations including providing MLS with resources for consolidating, adopting standards, and improving governance. The group will meet soon to refine the direction and establish a sample plan of action with a report to be expected late summer or early fall.
MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board
The group is discussing “the right to be forgotten” and data privacy, AI and crypto currency, and more. Additional conversations will be had about off-MLS listings, disparity in local MLS rules, inventory shortages, and coming soon statuses. Minutes are available on nar.realtor.
Jeremy Crawford provided a RESO update – similar to the one provided the previous day.
Some key people were given special recognition during the meetings. These are giants in the industry!
- Joe Mattola was recognized by the Association Executives Committee on his pending retirement.
- Walt Baczkowski received the William R. Magel Award of Excellence.
Congratulations to Joe and Walt!
Board of Directors
The $30 dues increase was approved, although it was not unanimous. The budget was set for the S.M.A.R.T. Initiatives (for Strategic Measures Advancing REALTORS® to Tomorrow), as well as re-building reserves and NAR office building upgrades.
The board elected 2019 officers: Charles Oppler as first vice president, Vince Malta as president-elect, and John Flor as 2019-20 treasurer. John Smaby had already been elected 2019 president.
As part of the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual, associations may now policy can publicize the names of members – including their photo – and the nature of their violations after a second violation of the Code of Ethics.
Changing the Standard of Practice 1-7, a listing broker or agent must respond in writing that an offer was submitted to the seller if requested by the cooperating broker. Offers must be presented to the seller unless the seller has provided a waiver in writing stating that additional offers need not be presented.
The MLS policies voted on during the committee meeting (described earlier in this report) were approved.
2019 MLS Executive Workshop – Save the Date!
MLS executives and staff and leadership, please consider joining us in Scottsdale, Arizona February 27 – March 1, 2019 for Clareity’s Annual MLS Executive Workshop. This MLS Workshop will provide timely updates and address the key issues facing MLS executives and leaders. Room is limited and the event sells out every year, so please do not delay when registration begins late this summer.
That’s all, folks! Thanks for reading our 2018 NAR Midyear Report!
The above report is provided for informational purposes only. It is based on various notes taken during the NAR event and does not purport to be complete or error free. CoreLogic shall have no liability in connection with any inaccuracies or omissions herein.
© 2018 CoreLogic, Inc. All rights reserved.
CoreLogic, the CoreLogic logo, CLAREITY, MATRIX and TRESTLE are trademarks of CoreLogic, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.
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