PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Earning A Seat at the Table!

Gail Fattizzi | February 2020

Gail Fattizzi, HGAR 2020 President

Having just spent the better part of a week in Albany at the New York State Association of Realtors’ Mid-Winter Business Meetings, I realize how much HGAR has to be proud of! For starters, three of our Realtor members were honored with some of the most prestigious awards that NYSAR bestows.

Bonnie Koff, associate broker at William Raveis Legends Realty, was presented with NYSAR’s Community Service Award. For those of you who know Bonnie, that comes as no surprise! Marcene Hedayati, managing partner at William Raveis Legends, was then inducted into the RPAC Hall of Fame. And capping off the trifecta, Dorothy Botsoe, broker/owner of Dorothy Jensen Realty, was presented with the Lawrence B. Caldwell award for her extraordinary lifetime contributions to RPAC. Every one of us at that General Assembly realized how incredibly special it was to have three HGAR members receive these recognitions, and how proud we felt to be part of an organization of this caliber of real estate professionals.

So how does this affect your life as a Realtor and your personal business? It’s not just about the awards themselves, or the many other awards received by our members over the years, but about the respect, acknowledgement and deference we have earned as leaders in our state and national associations. It’s about the 40+ HGAR members who gave of themselves and their time to spend this week in Albany, attending meetings, learning, having valuable conversations. We have earned our place at the table and our voices are heard loud and clear.

As I’m sure many of you have been hearing, our industry has been barraged in the last few months by issues coming at us from the DOS, state and local legislators and the media. As your leadership team, it’s our responsibility to listen, learn and speak your voice at the local, state and national levels. Having a seat at the table has never been more important.

For those of you who work in the rental world, we were shocked in early February to learn of the DOS guidance on the landlord-tenant laws enacted in 2019. This new guidance stated that landlord’s agents could no longer receive their compensation from the tenant as part of the transaction. This rocked the world of many agents and landlords alike. NYSAR & REBNY collaborated to file a lawsuit pushing back on this sudden change and on Feb. 10th we learned that an Albany judge issued a restraining order prohibiting DOS from enforcing this (Real Estate In-Depth story). It’s a temporary judgement and the next step will be a court date on March 13. NYSAR heard our voices and acted quickly to make this happen.

There are currently bills and policy changes that call into question our status as independent contractors, could restrict the practice of buyer agency, will change the education requirements for Fair Housing instructors and students alike, and will likely affect how we advertise our listings and services to consumers. There will be new Fair Housing disclosures to consumers and testing for Fair Housing compliance. There will be things we favor and things we don’t. It is our relationships, connections and respected voice that will assure we are able to participate in all these conversations. There are no guarantees we will always prevail, but we’ve earned the right to have a say and hopefully influence the ultimate decisions in some favorable way for Realtors and consumers alike.

If you want to get involved in representing our HGAR members in these important conversations, I propose several ways to do that. Please consider getting involved in one of our HGAR committees. Committee work is where issues and concerns are discussed, progressive new ideas are generated, and actions begin. Consider taking on a leadership role. This begins with volunteering for a committee or project, attending events, taking classes, or otherwise becoming involved. Become a financial or “boots on the ground” supporter of our advocacy efforts through a contribution to RPAC, which allows us to support the issues that are important to our industry and to the values of homeownership.

Start by attending one of our upcoming regional events to learn about the current issues and threats to our industry. I am happy to talk to any member about some or all of these opportunities. Feel free to contact me or any of our Executive Committee members or Regional Directors to start the conversation. Take your seat at the table!

Gail Fattizzi
is the 2020 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc