By Nathan Walldorf, ABR, GREEN, GRI, SFR, e-Pro
President, Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS®
Greater Chattanooga Realtors joined nearly 20,000 colleagues, industry leaders and real estate experts from the U.S. and abroad at the 2016 Realtors Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida from November 4–7. This year’s conference theme, “Educate, Innovate, Celebrate,” encouraged Realtors to educate themselves on market trends and key real estate issues, learn about the latest technologies and innovations affecting the industry, and celebrate another year of positive growth.
The conference gave local Realtor the opportunity to make professional contacts from across the globe, as well as attend educational and informational sessions featuring nationally recognized presenters, trainers and industry experts. Among the panelists and speakers were Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, who shared the latest outlook for residential and commercial real estate markets; Dennis Lockhart, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Jim Parrott, former economic adviser to President Obama and senior fellow at the Urban Institute; Brian Montgomery, former Federal Housing Administration Commissioner and vice chairman of the Collingwood Group; Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com; Howard Fineman, global editorial director at the Huffington Post; Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Realogy Franchise Group; and senior staff from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Flood Insurance Program.
Realtors are the competitive advantage for buyers and sellers because we are constantly educating ourselves about the latest developments and issues affecting the real estate market and industry. This year’s conference was an incredible opportunity for GCAR leaders to immerse ourselves in the newest trends and strategize solutions to the problems facing the housing market across the country and in our own communities. I am pleased that Realtors from Greater Chattanooga participated in addressing the following issues impacting private property rights:
PROFESSIONALISM. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) approved the framework of a Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) program, an initiative to develop and enhance qualities that reflect the commitment of a Realtor to ethics, advocacy, technology, data privacy, and customer service. NAR will develop a self-assessment designed to measure a Realtor’s proficiency in the C2EX competencies and position him or her for improvement.
FAIR HOUSING. Since 2014, the Realtor Code of Ethics has included sexual orientation and gender identity as bases on which Realtors shall not deny equal professional services or be party to a plan or agreement to discriminate on such bases. NAR against people seeking to procure housing based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Federal Fair Housing Act protects equal housing opportunity on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national origin, but not on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
APPRAISALS. NAR voted to urge the Federal Housing Authority to void its requirement that an appraisal stays with the property for 120 days. The requirement to keep an appraisal with a property for four months can negatively affect property values in markets where prices are rising.
Throughout the week Realtors participated in 100-plus conference sessions, workshops, forums and classes on a broad range of real estate issues to help prepare themselves and their businesses for 2017. This is one of the many ways Realtors raise their professionalism and skills through specialized knowledge and expertise.
During the conference, Bill Brown, a second generation Realtor from Oakland, California, was installed as 2017 NAR President. “In 2017, Realtors will work to keep the issues affecting homeownership – whether it be defending the mortgage interest deduction or fighting for more affordable financing – a priority on our nation’s public policy agenda,” said Brown. “Realtors are here to encourage our leaders to put forward policies that put the American dream of homeownership within reach for every American whose goal is to own their own home.”
Greater Chattanooga Realtors also had the opportunity to try out and learn about the latest state-of-the-art products and services for real estate professionals. More than 400 exhibitors showcased their offerings during the trade expo, the largest in real estate, exposing Realtors to fresh ways to better serve clients and grow their business.