What I've Learned From Being Part of a Realtor Association

By Troy Palmquist
Posted on June 1, 2018

“Realtor” is a term and a title that involves a great deal more than merely selling homes. I’ve been a very active, dues-paying member of the real estate industry for many years, but it wasn’t until I attended the recent California Association of Realtors (C.A.R.) Legislative Day 2018 in Sacramento, California, that I became even more enamored with my field, inspired by my colleagues and committed to upping my game.

Matt Carpitto, the president of my local real estate organization, Ventura County Coastal Association of Realtors (VCCAR), extended me a kind invitation to be part of the team traveling to Sacramento, and the experience was truly enlightening.

Realtor vs. real estate agent

First let me explain something that might seem minor to most, but is very important to this story and to our field: the difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent.

Realtor is a trademarked term that refers to an agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association in the U.S. This distinction was never clearer to me than during my attendance at the C.A.R. legislation day. What I learned was invaluable, and it changed my perspective and goals.

These associations of Realtors and their board members do so much good for each resident and professional of every community. Their work on the local, state and national level is extremely valuable in so many ways.

They afford brokers and agents incredible advantages that go way beyond access to the multiple listing service (MLS) and the C.A.R. contract and forms — and many people seem to take this for granted.

Lessons learned

Legislative day was full of education on what the government is doing at the local and state level, and Realtors gave their input on what they support as a whole.

Some of the bills discussed included California’s shortage of housing supply and C.A.R.’s commitment to bringing awareness to that through housing events; and a property tax fairness initiative which would allow California homeowners to transfer their property tax basis any time they relocate to any home in the state if they are 55 years of age or older, disabled or victims of natural disasters.

Impressions made

I also left with a new understanding of why voting for your local association’s board positions and having an outstanding CEO like Wyndi Austin is so important.

VCCAR has an impressive board of directors, CEO, committee and staff, all who help make our agents successful and give back to the community.

Goals set

Though I am currently involved as the vice chair on the professional development committee, this eye-opening C.A.R outing has inspired me to be even more active — and maybe even pursue a board position myself one day.

BJ Ward is an amazing role model on my committee, a past president of VCCAR and part of the Young Professional Network (YPN) that helps young real estate practitioners become more business savvy through regular networking events and communicating with other YPN members.

It was especially rewarding to be there with Ward, YPN chairperson Tom Buenger and past chairperson Jorge DeLeon, and to get to know so many other colleagues of mine.

A world of credit goes out to these dedicated individuals for the positive affect they have on shaping our industry and on enhancing people’s lives overall.

The Realtor’s role

Realtors aren’t just here to help buy and sell houses, but also to protect the American dream, keep it alive and well and make sure everyone has the opportunity to experience homeownership.

Realtors are in their own league, and should be encouraged to really dig in and be part of their local, state and national real estate organizations. Young agents should become involved with their local YPN groups to help shape their business and, just as importantly, lay the groundwork for all the good they are poised to do.

While completing our necessary day-to-day tasks remains a large part of our job, it’s important that we strive to go above and beyond. Reaching farther, thinking broader and joining our vital associations is the ultimate step to helping ourselves, our colleagues, our clients and our communities.