NAR President Tells HGAR, WCR To 'Own It' in These Challenging Times

Real Estate In-Depth | January 22, 2018

National Association of Realtors’ President Elizabeth Mendenhall

WHITE PLAINS—National Association of Realtors’ President Elizabeth Mendenhall addressed a packed room of Realtors at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here on Jan. 22, the first time in recent memory that a sitting NAR President has spoken at a HGAR associated event. Mendenhall spoke with passion and candor concerning the issues facing the Realtor community, including tax reform.

The NAR President, who was the keynote speaker at a Women’s Council of Realtors’ Empire Westchester Chapter breakfast, admitted that NAR’s lobbying efforts fell short on the recently enacted federal tax reform law, stating that while Realtors in some states were pleased with the lobbying effort by NAR that led to some changes prior to the tax reform’s passage, Realtor members in California and New York, for example, told NAR “We don’t see that as a win at all.” HGAR was a co-sponsor of the program.

She said that NAR received 200,000 responses from its membership to its Call to Action on the federal tax reform plan, much higher than the 50,000-response average on other real estate issues.

Mendenhall added that with that much of a response, NAR is now asking itself, “Why didn’t we move the needle. We have to figure that out. We have to do better…” she said.

She related to the HGAR and WCR members in attendance that while many federal lawmakers knew NAR’s position on tax reform and recognized the lobbying power of Realtors, NAR legislative staff told her the association was “stonewalled from the get-go” in their attempt to secure further changes to the legislation.

“I think this is our moment where we as Realtors have to be united and we have to show Congress that homeownership is a priority,” Mendenhall said.

Mendenhall, a sixth-generation Realtor and CEO of RE/MAX Boone Realty of Columbia, MS, said that with the federal reform law now enacted, NAR must ask federal lawmakers “why they didn’t make housing a priority?”

The 20-year veteran of the real estate industry is imploring Realtors across the country to “own it.” She added that the industry as a whole is “at a critical crossroads” in terms of technology and the economy.

One of NAR’s core goals this year is to ensure that Realtors remain essential to the transaction. Other strategic priorities include: defining measurable increases in professionalism; increasing NAR’s influence in an uncertain legislative, regulatory and political environment and taking the management of real estate data to the next level.

The program also featured a market update by HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty and a legal update by Leon Cameron, director of legal affairs for HGAR.

Haggerty provided a review of association-related initiatives, including reducing the size of the HGAR Board of Directors and Executive Committee, the introduction of four new MLS products, as well as its participation in the Global Real Estate Summit with the Staten Island Board of Realtors last October.

HGAR, which operates a Manhattan Chapter, will once again participate in the Global Real Estate Summit event. In addition, 2018 HGAR President Barry Kramer will be establishing a Global Council to address national and global issues and plans to work with a host of global real estate organizations as part of that initiative.

Haggerty added that HGAR is also working to increase member participation in its operations. Based on two solicitation e-mails sent recently by HGAR staff, a total of 183 HGAR members have volunteered to serve on HGAR committees.