Trying for Traction, NAR Alternative Group Creates Advisory Board and Committees


Above, Jason Haber

Late last year, when the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found itself having to deal with all kinds of negative leadership issues and odd occurrences, and then, of course, the Burnett trial, two prominent real estate professionals, Jason Haber and Mauricio Umansky, decided there might be a better way. So they created the American Real Estate Association (AREA). Its aim would be not to try and replace NAR but to offer agents an alternative.

Fast forward five months and NAR has seemed to steady the ship, settling Burnett, albeit not for a pretty penny but a dazzling dollar ($418 million of them, actually), and getting its corporate house in order. Would AREA (our acronym usage, not theirs) slink silently away?

Umm… NO.

To the contrary, AREA has not only formalized an advisory board and committees, but is involved in its first advocacy cause, the VA Home Loan Program.

In an email exchange with RISMedia, Haber outlined the group’s progress.

“We now have established our first advisory board, along with several committees that are working to produce documents and policies that will become foundational for the new trade association,” he wrote. “Our advisory board is 64% female, which reflects percentage of agents in the industry that are female. We have yet to start to raise money and have self-funded the operation to date, but that will change later this year. It seems there is no shortage of people interested in helping to fund our growth.

“Our advocacy focus has been on the VA Home Loan Program, which greatly disadvantages veterans come the Aug 17 business practice change per the settlement. I just got off a conference call with the U.S. House of Representatives VA committee, and have previously spoken with two other committees on this matter. We are pressing for a durable, long-term solution that does not cap agent fees or harm veterans. Soon the VA will release their circular, which we believe will only be a short-term solution. If both statutory and regulatory reform are required, we will press for both. Hopefully this issue will get resolved quickly, but we aren’t taking any chances and are continuing to make the rounds on Capitol Hill on this matter.  As we grow our political and advocacy work, you’ll find us in the center of important real estate policy matters around the country.”

Again stressing that the American Real Estate Association’s goal is not to supplant NAR but to simply be a second such group, Haber credited NAR on the VA issue front.

“We are really delighted that they have been vocal on this matter,” he wrote. “We are pleased to be engaging with stakeholders and policymakers and doing what we can to see to it that veterans aren’t disadvantaged. I remind everyone that these are very early days for our trade group, and we consider ourselves in the top of the first inning, with lots of work to do, but it’s all underway. ”

As far as who has officially come aboard, Haber had a couple of names to share.

“Industry innovators such as Stefani Berkin, president of R New York, and Alyssa Brody, founder of Development Marketing Team, have (said publicly) that they are on the advisory board,” he wrote.”

The association’s website is americanREA.org.





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