Letter From the CEO:
Chris Galler, Chief Executive Officer
Each year, as the REALTOR® dues billing goes out, many members stop for a second and think to themselves “Where, and what, do I get for all of this money?” Much like when your clients ask you a similar question, we’re here to respond.
Of the annual dues, there are 3 large amounts: one for the National Association, one for the MN REALTORS®, and one for you local association affiliation. Each amount goes to fund a different set of services delivered through either a national, state or local entity. Each amount is managed by a separate volunteer-member Board of Directors and Association Executive.
My column is focused on the $175 that comes to the MN REALTORS® for fiscal year 2017 membership dues. This amount and the accompanying services is approved by members on various committees: Finance, Extended Leadership Team, Executive Committee, and the Board of Directors.
Governmental Affairs and Political Advocacy. MN REALTORS® and the related committees work with the legislature, executive branch, and regulatory agencies to protect homeownership programs, private property rights, and your ability to make a living as a REALTOR®. For instance, protecting the mortgage interest deduction (“MID”); working with licensing regulators; and fighting against intrusive actions that would hamper real estate transactions. In FY2017, we’ll be launching a Homeownership Initiative, which will be a series of legislative bills targeted at increasing and preserving homeownership opportunities in Minnesota.
Real Estate Forms. The MN REALTORS® produces and makes available to all members the residential and commercial contracts and forms. These forms allow members statewide to transact real estate electronically through Instanet Solutions. Of even more importance, it provides members with a standardized set of legal documents and the education to use them properly.
Legal Hotline. Legal assistance can be very expensive. In Minnesota, it is not uncommon for attorneys to charge between $200-400 an hour. Brokers field numerous questions from their sales associates that require legal perspective on the situation. The MN REALTORS® Legal Hotline service features four attorneys who work together to provide members with that assistance. This service has saved members thousands of dollars annually and provides insight into market problems.
Code of Ethics Enforcement. As a member of the REALTOR® Organization, you are obligated to comply with the National Association’s Code of Ethics. This detailed document provides an ethical foundation for your business dealings with others. At times, a member can be accused of violating the Code of Ethics. Your MN REALTORS® dues go to providing the statewide infrastructure required to conduct hearings and provide a consistent process for those involved. Annually, almost 200 members take a full day of training on the Code of Ethics, the process for handling hearings, and making the appropriate decisions.
Commission Disputes. From time-to-time, members have arguments about who deserves compensation form a real estate transaction. These disagreements can involve thousands of dollars and are some of the most difficult cases to determine. MN REALTOR® dues are used to provide a statewide dispute resolution system.
Education. MN REALTORS® provides a host of continuing education and professional development opportunities to members. Whether it is staff instruction on issues like forms, legislation, or the Code of Ethics, we work with your local association to provide you with learning opportunities. For those seeking advanced training, we have the GRI – Graduate REALTORS® Institute – program. We offer a Broker Series of educational opportunities tackling difficult issues from a legal perspective.
In Fiscal Year 2017, we’ll begin using internet-based teleconferencing to provide you with education at your local association office. Many will be short 1-hour programs, and others will deliver Code of Ethics or forms training. We believe that distance should not be a barrier for members receiving MN REALTOR® provided educational opportunities.
Future of Education. Working with the Department of Commerce an technology consultants, MN REALTORS® hopes to have the infrastructure in place to provide all members with their CE requirements online. Education will still be available via classrooms or teleconferencing, but we know that a significant number of members would prefer to receive their CE online, so they can take classes when their schedule permits.
Communications. In the first quarter of FY2017, MN REALTORS® will be launching MYMNREALTOR.com. This online communication tool will allow members across the state to communicate, share ideas, access information or regulations, and more. The program will be accessible through your computer, tablet or smartphone for 24/7 availability. When you want to know what is happening, when and where – MYMNREALTOR.com will be the place.
Inman News Select. In fall 2016, all members of the MN REALTORS® will receive access to the Inman Select News service. This thought-provoking information service will provide members with insight into how the industry is changing, ways to adjust your business to these changes, and challenge the status quo – including state REALTOR® Organizations. Through this service, all MN REALTOR® members will be able access the seminars conducted at the Inman Connection programs. These learning opportunities bring together many of the industry’s leaders to discuss change and how they are influencing the industry. A single subscription to this service is $199. Through your MN REALTOR® relationship, we have included the cost for an individual subscription in the annual dues.
Money Savings. Another benefit of membership is a host of business and personal money saving discounts. On the web site http://www.mnrealtor.com, you will find both MN REALTOR® statewide benefits and under a separate click, National Association member discounts.
When you look at your membership dues statement, you’ll see a line for the MN REALTORS® at $175 for the year. The items above are the major functions that are covered within the annual dues amount. At $175 that’s $3.37 a week or less than $15 a month.
If you have any comments or concerns, please email Chris Galler at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Minnesota REALTORS® is the largest professional trade association in the state with more than 17,000 members who are active in all aspects of the real estate industry.