Sound Off: How important is it for a Realtor to be a member of the National Association of Realtors?

Q: “How important is it for a Realtor to be a member of a trade group like the National Association of Realtors?”

A: It is very important for a Realtor to be a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and its affiliates such as the San Francisco Association of Realtors. NAR, the largest trade association in America, has a collective voice of 1.3 million commercial and residential professionals. Members adopt the group’s Code of Ethics, requiring Realtors to cooperate with each other to serve the client’s best interest. NAR members also have access to industry trend data that can benefit buyers and sellers, such as “must-have” home features, and what is most likely to delay the close of escrow.

Additionally, NAR advocates for its members. Nearly nine in 10 Realtors are independent contractors who do not have access to traditional employer-provided benefits, and must purchase insurance with fewer choices and a higher cost. For more than a decade, NAR has pushed for reforms to health insurance to provide better coverage and lower policy cost, benefitting not only Realtors, but small business owners and self-employed individuals.

Anne Herrera, Sotheby’s International Realty, (415) 601-3353,

A: The National Association of Realtors has more than a million members and includes anyone who legally calls themselves a Realtor. For local agents and the public, the association provides access to the official real estate marketplace listing—the multiple listing service, or MLS. Access to that home on the market you want to see? Brought to you in part by the NAR.

The most important part of joining the local association is the connections and relationships you build with other Realtors in your area. Even with all the revolutionary technology that is changing our business, selling a home continues to be a personal negotiation where trust, local knowledge and experience are paramount.

Occasionally the association recognizes members for things like their community involvement or professional work. I am honored to be in the running to win a national award: the Realtor’s 30 under 30. (30 notable agents younger than the age of 30.) Visit to cast your ballot.

Devin Ratoosh, Marvin Gardens Real Estate,(510) 919-5499,

A: While real estate trade organizations were, at one time, an integral part of an agent’s resume, in our technology-saturated world these organizations have become less utilized. Most people outside of the industry don’t know or understand what these affiliations do or how they benefit real estate agents. Therefore, these trade groups tend to not really benefit an agent’s business anymore.

Moreover, most Realtors work and live in a world that is now connected electronically around the clock. Many agents, especially top producers, work 12 or more hours a day, oftentimes seven days a week, thereby reducing the amount of time that they can spend involved in these traditional trade organizations. In an era dominated by social media and powerful online marketing campaigns, these type of organizations no longer drive business to agents. They go to where business emanates from.

Tracy McLaughlin, Pacific Union Real Estate,(415) 699-6680,

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