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BrokersRISMEDIA, December 17, 2009—This month’s Power Broker Roundtable features an interview with Steve Brown, Broker/Owner, Irongate Inc. REALTORS®; 2010 National Association of Realtors® Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations. Here, Brown discusses what he is most looking forward to as he steps into the role of Liaison for Large Firm Relations as well as his goals and plans for 2010.

Maria Patterson: What are your thoughts upon stepping into the role of NAR’s Liaison for Large Firm Relations?
Steve Brown:
What excites me about stepping into this position is that it has great relevance to my work and my company. Even though Irongate is not a mega company, we have six offices in the Dayton, Ohio market and about 350 agents. We are a large broker in the Dayton area and many of the issues mega brokers face, we face. I look forward to listening and learning.

MP: Why is it important for NAR to have the support and participation of today’s leading brokers?
The large firms represent not only a significant percentage of the membership overall, they also represent a significant asset base of the membership—not just in sales volume, but also in talent. By virtue of their size, the large firms have a very formative role in how our industry will go forward. It is important for NAR to strategically work with the large firms. And it would be great to bring more of the larger firms’ talent into leadership roles at NAR.

MP: What are some of the leading issues facing brokers today and how can NAR help work toward solutions?
No other time better illustrates the need of every broker, no matter their size, to be a part of an effective lobbying effort than the present. And no other lobbying organization has proven its effectiveness more than NAR.

There are many important issues facing every broker in the country. One is the appraisal process. New legislation and regulations need to be put in place so the appraisal process truly can protect and service the consumer.

Another issue facing not only brokers but everyone in the country is health care. REALTORS® do have a stake in the healthcare debate. Right now, there are 400,000 members who do not have healthcare because they can’t afford it. We can all agree that any health care proposal must be affordable, attainable, without prior restrictions, and give the independent business person the right to pool members to decrease costs and to receive the same tax benefits that others are afforded.

MP: What are some of your most important goals as broker liaison?
One of my main goals is to have timely discussions of issues. We need to better anticipate the issues that are on the horizon and deal with those issues in real time.

Another goal is to encourage brokers in large firms to become more engaged in NAR. Programs like the Broker Involvement Program, where a NAR call for action goes to the broker, and then is sent from the broker to his/her agents is a good example of broker involvement. This is a win-win as it helps NAR’s response rate, thus making a real impact upon Capitol Hill and, in turn, helps brokers push forward their concerns to their legislators.

MP: In your opinion, how can brokers best lead their agents through today’s challenging real estate market?
First, brokers can assist their agents in taking advantage of the tools at their disposal. For example, through NAR’s “Right Tools, Right Now” initiative, there is an unbelievable number of free or at-cost resources available through the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, yet not nearly enough of us are aware of them or take advantage of them.

Second, brokers need to help agents better manage their own resources and mentor them in developing their own business plans.

Third, brokers need to be honest and straightforward with their agents and help their agents plan realistically for the market. It’s our job to be leaders and instill confidence in the process, in the market and in the future. That should be the goal of any broker, big or small.