Board Directs NAR to Draft Member Code of Excellence
Board Directs NAR to Draft Member Code of Excellence
As part of a wide-ranging set of recommendations to raise the bar on REALTOR®
professionalism, the NAR Board of Directors at its Nov. 10 meeting in New Orleans
approved the drafting of a proposed aspirational Code of Excellence to be
brought to the board at a future meeting for approval. The goal is to raise the
practice of real estate measurably through increased training in the
competencies that consumers value. These competencies include the stewardship
of property listing data, privacy and security of consumer information,
advocacy of property rights, community involvement, and technology.
“This is the first step in a process for the continuing improvement of our
profession,” said NAR President Steve Brown.
The provision was passed after extensive debate on the floor of the meeting.
Related provisions were also passed. These include provisions that would do the
- Change the frequency of NAR’s Code of Ethics educational
requirement from every four years to every two years, starting in 2016; add a
biennial Code of Excellence education requirement; and mandate continual
updating of the training.
- Help its members strive to be proficient in data content
and have efficient access to the broadest range of data available.
- Develop an industry standard that would allow consumers to
evaluate REALTORS® fairly and accurately.
RPAC fundraising revamp
The board also approved broad changes to the association’s fundraising program
for the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC). The changes include
replacing the long-standing fair-share contribution system with a needs-based
funding goal. Starting in 2015, National RPAC Distribution Trustees will
set a two-year election cycle goal for review and endorsement by the National
RPAC Fundraising Trustees and then for submission to the NAR Leadership Team,
Executive Committee, and Board of Directors. With the change, the 70-30
percentage split between the states and national association is eliminated with
the exception of the Major Investor program.
The change also includes a single national RPAC fundraising goal for all
associations, which can be reached with RPAC hard or soft dollar receipts. Hard
dollar contributions go directly to candidates’ campaign efforts and are capped
at $5,000 per election. Soft dollars go to efforts conducted separately from
candidates’ campaigns and are unlimited.
The revamp also includes a program for soliciting funds from MLSs for use in
independent expenditure (IE) campaigns, with half going to federal campaigns
and half to state campaigns. IEs are election advocacy efforts that are
required to be conducted independently of (i.e., not in coordination with) candidates’
Issue mobilization ‘skin in the game’ requirement
State and local associations will have to put up some of their own funds under
a “skin in the game” policy to receive NAR issues mobilization grant funds. The
amount depends on the size of the grant request. The contribution can include
funds from coalition partners and can also come in the form of non-financial
resources such as staff and volunteer hours.
The board also approved a change to the issues mobilization application form
for local associations to require the state association to indicate its support
or opposition to the application.
Help with state tax reform battles
Separately, the board approved $486,250 in grant funds to the North Carolina
Association of REALTORS® to preempt tax reform efforts by the state and
$294,500 to the Minnesota Association of REALTORS® to protect MID from tax
reform efforts in that state
Unmanned aerial vehicle policy set
To help the association stay ahead of unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone,
technology, the board adopted a policy statement in support of the safe and
responsible use of the technology by members and to work in support of that as
federal regulators write rules for the technology. In the meantime, the
association will continue efforts to educate members that use of the technology
for commercial purposes without a permit remains prohibited.
Continued monitoring of student debt
Student debt is an industry concern but the link between that debt and the
ability to buy a home needs more research. The board set a policy that focuses
on the continued monitoring of the issue along with support of legislative and
regulatory efforts to promote education and disclosure requirements to help
GRI program updated
To help preserve the value of the Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI)
designation, the board approved changes to the program’s curriculum and
process. Among other things, members can take no more than five years to
complete the coursework, members can substitute exam and experience for no more
than half a state’s course requirements, and the accreditation process will be
based on an online audit rather than a peer review.
Legal assistance provided
The board approved $295,000 in legal assistance to help defray costs to
associations, MLSs, and brokerages in four cases, each involving copyright or
patent infringement actions.
California professional standards pilot extended
The board extended for another five years, until the end of 2019, a CALIFORNIA
ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Code of Ethics enforcement pilot program. Under the
program, a panel of CAR directors will review decisions in which suspension or
termination is imposed to determine whether “lateral discipline” will be
administered by other local REALTOR® associations to which the member belongs.
Professional standards processes improved
To make the enforcement of professional standards more efficient, the board
approved changes to the Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual, Professional
Standards Policy Statement, and other professional standards documents, that
accomplish the following:
- Clarify the role of alternates in professional standards
- Shorten time frames and clarify guidelines for ethics
- Establish a “fast track” administrative timeline for
resolving ethics complaints
- Eliminate “rehearing” provisions
- Expand authorized use of “remote” testimony, and provide
guidance on ensuring its confidentiality
- Limit the use of continuances of ethics hearings to certain
- Require persons primarily responsible for administration of
professional standards processes to complete administrator training every four
- Establish the responsibility of associations to offer
ombudsman services to members, clients, and consumers, either directly or as
part of a cooperative agreement
- Establish a citation system and schedule of fines for
optional adoption by local and state associations
Online data competitiveness
The board approved changes to help ensure MLS data is as accurate and timely as
possible and that MLS participants can continue to compete with other online
sources of property information. Among other things, the changes:
- Increase the frequency of MLS data updates to no less than
every 12 hours, down from every three days
- Enable MLS participants to display IDX information from all
MLS IDX feeds where they hold participatory rights, allowing consumers to
execute a single property search
- Permit the display of MLS sold data for IDX display where
“sold” information is otherwise publicly accessibleDues proration policy adjusted
The board tweaked its dues policy so that proration is allowed for a new member
only when the member didn’t hold membership, either as a REALTOR® or
REALTOR®-associate, in the prior calendar year.Realtor.com
The board heard a report on the acquisition of Realtor.com operator Move Inc.
by global media company News Corp.
.REALTOR, .Realestate, RPR
It also heard reports on the success of the new .REALTOR top-level Internet
domain, and NAR’s acquisition of the .realestate domain. Reports were also
given on NAR’s property database company RPR, which has extensive data on 116
million parcels of property and has rolled out a mobile app, called RPR Mobile.
New Insurance Committee
The board created a 42-member Insurance Committee to monitor legislative and
regulatory matters involving property/casualty, flood insurance, natural
disaster, terrorism, and other insurance issues.
The board recognized this year’s two Distinguished Service Award (DSA)
recipients, Mike Brodie of Plano, Texas, and James Helsel Jr., of Camp Hill,
Pa. This year’s William R. Magel Award for outstanding association executives
went to Bill Martin, CEO of the Michigan Association of REALTORS®.
After the meeting the NAR Delegate Body met to approve Constitutional changes
to the way the association’s officers are elected. The changes set forth
election procedures and replace the Nominating Committee with a Credentials and
Campaign Rules Committee.
The Delegate Body also approved clarification that the date of service
requirement for REALTOR® Emeritus Status starts in 2015.