I was asked this question the other day, and it’s one that I ask myself at the beginning of the year and throughout the year. Is volunteering for various Realtor associations worth it? The short answer – it depends.
One of the best benefits of serving in a volunteer role is simple – meeting other Realtors is beneficial. A wise person told me years ago that, in a multiple offer situation, if there were three Realtors bringing offers, the one known by the listing agent may have a better chance of acceptance due to the Realtors’ prior relationship. This may seem odd, but one of the components of an offer is the Realtors’ reputation. I ask myself, and work through this thought process with my clients all the time – “do I trust this agent“? Why or why not? How best can I protect my client? As the listing agent, if I have served on a committee with an agent, I am better prepared to assess them and their offer by virtue of my time on a particular committee.
Another benefit of serving on politically-minded committees is the knowledge gained through the meetings and the connections made. Simple, but time-consuming. Because of these committees, I consider myself better informed than the average Realtor on many matters that affect my clients – roads, developments, eminent domain, grantors taxes, land use policies and legislation – politics that affect and impact real estate. This too, benefits my business, in a sometimes more tangible way.
Locally, I chair the Government Affairs Committee and sit on the Board of Directors. For the State, I recently accepted an offer to be on the Public Policy and Governance committee as well as the request to be a Delegate (not really sure what that means yet, other than I have a couple meetings in Richmond throughout the year). Nationally, I just finished work on an MLS committee. All told, that is about 35 days of non-selling activity out of 365 days. (I said no to another request – a fleeting feeling of liberation!)
Nationally, meeting Realtors and Brokers of the caliber that serve on various Leadership Teams, Presidential Groups, etc. was fascinating (I lucked my way into this committee because of a meeting made through my participation in last year’s Leadership Academy). Seeing how the national Realtor organization looks upon technology, Realtors, the market was and is absolutely invaluable.
So far, the benefits outweigh the negatives. Check back in in November of this year to see how upbeat I am. Frankly, I am a bit overwhelmed by both the time commitments and the demands to stay informed.
There are at least two dangers to volunteering and participating so much –
1) Too much time spent away from representing clients in the buying and selling of real estate is fiscally (as well as to my psyche) damaging.
2) Becoming a RINO (Realtor in Name Only) is a possibility. By this I mean becoming a Realtor that does nothing but attend various meetings and attempt to set policies, the consequences of which are unknown -because said RINO does nothing but attend meetings. Real estate representation is a “boots on the ground” career that simply cannot be replicated in a board room.