Becky Merwin, REALTOR® Member and RPAC Fundraising Chair, recently attended the NAR Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. and takes time to share her “Top 3 Take-Aways.”

REALTOR® Party –  No stranger to the political scene or NAR programs, Becky was reminded at this nationwide gathering of REALTORS® that the purpose of the REALTOR® Party is not about political party affiliation. It is about property rights for ALL. REALTORS® are about property rights for all people and as our local RPAC Fundraising Chair, Becky was reminded of the importance of sharing this important message with all members and our communities.

Real Property Valuation Forum – Becky attended a fascinating forum discussing the collateral underwriting that has been developed by the federal government, particularly for use with Fannie Mae. One major topic of discussion was that of aging appraisers. There are less appraisers available every day and fewer people who want to become appraisers, apparently because of the liabilities involved and lack of comparables, due to low inventory. She listened to topics on the AVM (Automated Value Models) that REALTORS® and lenders all around the country are using to help with pricing for consumers and looks forward to upcoming education at the local level.

In closing Becky shares, “One of my biggest take-aways from this experience is that each association, as part of the NAR Core Standards, needs to have Mediation and Ombudsman programs in place by 2016. Because many of the aspects involved in our business deal with public/consumers, each association in the nation needs to be training REALTORS® to serve in the role of Ombudsman so that consumers with an issue receive a reply with 48 hours of registering a concern/complaint with the association office. The response should come from a REALTOR® and not an Association Executive/Staff member. I learned that the staff may assist the consumer, but the contact regarding complaints should be directly with a REALTOR®. There is no cost, and the properly trained Ombudsman has the flexibility to work with a consumer to reach resolution. Consumers really want to be listened to, and this is an important part of our Professional Standards. The challenge for all of us is to develop solid training and policies, including confidentiality.”

On behalf of LARA, thanks Becky for taking your time to attend and share.