GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Happy Birthday HGAR!
Richard Haggerty | January 2016
You don’t turn 100 every year, and 2016 is the year the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors celebrates its 100th Anniversary. The following is an excerpt from the National Real Estate Journal dated May 15, 1916:
“The first regular meeting of the Westchester County Realty Board was held Tuesday afternoon, May 9th, in the Lecture Room of the Country Life Exposition, Grand Central Terminal, New York City. The meeting was of considerable importance, changes in the constitution and by-laws being acted upon. There was also a special report from the brokerage committee.”
“Officers of the Westchester County Realty Board are: President, Charles Field Griffin, Mamaroneck; first vice president; Walter K. Cooley, Mount Vernon; second vice president, E. Nelson Ehrhart, White Plains; third vice president, George M. Wood, New Rochelle; fourth vice president, Thomas S. Burke, Yonkers; treasurer, Stephen Angell, Scarsdale; secretary, William H. Mills, 7 East 42nd Street, New York City.”
As many of you know I’m a bit of a history buff and these two paragraphs, which may seem like a recitation of dry facts to some, for me evoke great excitement. I can just envision folks making the trek down to Manhattan for a meeting concerning this new venture to create more order and stability in the real estate industry.
On January 15, 1926, the first issue of the Association’s official newspaper was published, then called “The Westchester Realtor.” The President that year was R. Franklin Hull and the Executive Secretary was Walter G. DeWitt working out of the Board offices at 38 Depot Plaza in White Plains. The Annual Banquet that year, and for many years during the 1920s, was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Commodore in New York City, adjacent to Grand Central Terminal and the current site of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. It was not uncommon for between 400 to 500 members and guests to attend the event!
What I find most interesting and impressive in reading these articles that date back decades is the importance the organization and its membership placed on ethical standards and fair dealing with the public from the association’s very inception. The following is a direct quote from the May 1926 edition of “The Westchester Realtor:”
“Brokers often pride themselves on the great number of listings which they have in their files. But two or three thousand listings, unless properly priced, may well be worth less than a hundred correctly priced. In fact, a listing priced too high or too low is a liability rather than an asset. If a listing is accepted at too high a price, the owner will be dissatisfied at the failure of his realty to sell; if priced too low, the seller may well be disgruntled when he finds that a higher price would have been justified under the circumstances.”
So there you have it. Advice that is grounded in common sense and a concern for ethical standards, which is just as relevant today as it was in May of 1926. I am proud of the history of this Realtor organization and the desire to establish ethical principles and standards that led to its creation, the same principles and standards which continue to guide the association today.
Happy 100th Birthday HGAR!