My Top 10 Take-Aways from WRA BOD Meetings – January 2015
Posted by Denise Schultz 1/26/2015

2015 LARA President Rick Geaslen and I  had the pleasure of spending two days with statewide WRA leaders in Madison in January, and in addition to experiencing the usual impressive leadership of volunteers and staff, outstanding networking and hospitality, and solid reviews from CPA’s, financial and other analysts, here is what we learned:

LARA earns RPAC Recognition

54% of LARA members contributed to RPAC in 2014 – above the state-wide average of 37% and NAR national goal of 30%. This earned us the Highest Percent Participation for a board of our size (251-500 members) THANK YOU. We appreciate our members who contribute in any way and remind all that any contributions given to candidates or causes can be done so through the WRA Direct Giver Program – allowing you to direct where every dollar you contribute is spent while leveraging the REALTOR® brand. Please contact LARA RPAC Chair Becky Merwin or LARA CEO Denise Schultz with any questions about RPAC or to get started with a 2015 contribution. Congratulations to Brad Lois who has been appointed the Major Investor Circle Chair, representing the state of Wisconsin at the National (NAR) level.

 NAR Call For Action Expectations

NAR would like to see a minimum of 20% response rates state-wide when they issue a “Call For Action.” LARA is currently at 17%, which is higher than the state-wide average of 12%. Thanks to those who have been taking time to respond. All members are urged to download the Realtor® Action Center App on our phones and do the few simple clicks necessary to respond to Call For Action requests. In order to make it simple, enter your NRDS ID # upon download. Contact the LARA office if you need help finding your number, which is on your monthly REALTOR® magazine mailing label. Brokers are encouraged to actively participate in the Broker Involvement Program.

Professional Standards Bar Being Raised Nationally

Effective 1/1/2016 all REALTOR® boards must offer an Ombudsman program to members, clients and customers through staff, volunteers, or collaboration with another board. Members will be required to have Code of Ethics training every TWO years, rather than four.

Jim Wood Reports Consumer Survey Results

500 consumers, randomly generated by computer, were surveyed 12/15-18/2014 regarding home ownership, vacation home rentals, REALTOR® services, the charitable foundation and public policy. WRA will use the results to focus their efforts. Findings on vacation home renter profiles do not support cases regarding the issues often used against this. Consumers express confidence in the REALTOR® profession, education and skills, and  yet 79% of them did not use the same REALTOR® for multiple home purchases. Consumer loyalty is definitely an area to be addressed. Consumers largely want the WRA Foundation to focus on children in need. When it comes to public policy, consumers feel most strongly about education and jobs.

Todd Berry – Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance

Provided an in-depth overview of Wisconsin’s tax history and suggests the path to tax reform in Wisconsin may include eliminating state property tax and raising sales tax to reduce property tax.

Russ Confano – Sr. VP – Industry Relations at move.com

Newly hired Confano, former state association executive stated that “realtor.com will not be #3 for long!” He is very motivated to make improvements and announced hiring of two key staff members Don Flynn and Mark Allen – well known association executives.

2015 WRA Convention September 15-16

The annual WRA Convention is on a Tuesday and Wednesday this year, again at the Kalahari Resort & Conference Center in Wisconsin Dells. The theme is “Navigating Excellence” which seems to fit the Lakes Area very well. Watch for news on some ideas on how we can brand ourselves collectively at this year’s event.

WRA Real Estate  Magazine Survey Ratings

With 69% sales agents and 25% broker/managers responding, the top 5 issues facing members who responded are: 1) Ethics/Decline of Professional Standards; 2) Public perception of REALTORS®; 3) Undertrained agents; 4) Legal issues; 5) Customer loyalty. The WRA staff will focus editorial features on these issues.

2015-16 WRA Legislative Priorities Established

27 agenda items are being aggressively addressed with 7 core market based goals of – 1) Removing hurdles to successful real estate transactions; 2) Making home and property ownership more affordable; 3) Protecting private property rights; 4) Keeping REALTORS® at the center of the real estate transaction; 5) Preserving our environment and water resources; 6) Reducing frivolous lawsuits against REALTORS® and property owners; 7) Streamlining the economic development approval process.

WRA Ranked #3 Wisconsin Professional Association 

The Milwaukee Business Journal recently ranked WRA (Wisconsin REALTORS(R) Association) third in the state by number of members, at 14,100 members, just below the State Bar of Wisconsin at 25,000 members and the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation withh 44,000 members.

 

I have supporting documents for all of these topics. Please give me a call or send me an e-mail if you’d like more detailed information on anything you’ve read here. WRA staff is always available to discuss any member concerns as well, at (800) 279.1972 for general questions, or (800) 799.4468 for legal hotline questions.