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The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Charlie Oppler, NAR’s Special Liaison for Large Firm Relations.

Moderator: Charlie Oppler
Participant: Moe Veissi, broker/owner, Moe Veissi & Associates, Miami, Florida

Charlie Oppler: With four decades of hands-on real estate experience, along with a multitude of roles in local, state and national associations, no one could be better equipped for the role of 2012 NAR President than Moe Veissi. Stepping in during the midst of real estate’s tenuous recovery and in the middle of a charged political climate, Veissi’s no-nonsense, positive, and fiercely dedicated approach is just what the NAR membership needs. Moe, please being by giving us your take on the overall state of the real estate market as we begin to climb out of the recession?
Moe Veissi:
My opinions are fueled by the resources of NAR, including its superb economic research department. We’ve have had a great deal of inventory sitting around for a good amount of time. In places like South Florida, Arizona, and California and Nevada—these places that had problems with over-supply—we are seeing inventory being absorbed at a rapid rate. I live in Miami—in 2006, you could have bought a one-bedroom on the water for about $450,000; a few months ago, that property would have gone for $125,000 or less. The absorption rate is so great, that over the last 18 months, there’s been a real diminishment in our supply. This is a key element—you have to establish that bottom rung. If we haven’t gotten there yet, we’re very close. You need to have consistency in supply and demand. Miami is now beginning to have more buyers than product. This is a good indication that we’re at a plateau. But how rapidly will we begin to see appreciation? Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist sees increases in prices, in the vicinity of double digit increases over the next 12 – 18 months. If you’re a consumer, and you decide to wait—even though the interest rates are at record lows—the product you had access to might suddenly not be around. Then we will have a classic economic example of low supply and increased demand. That should support Lawrence’s predictions

CO: You have been very involved in the industry at the association level. Why do you feel it is important to be involved at this level, especially when the day-to-day demands of the business are challenging enough?
Initially, my reasons for getting involved were very selfish. I was a small, one-man office so for me to gain some knowledge of what the marketplace was all about and how I could best position myself to take advantage of the opportunities that existed, I needed more support than I could get reading the newspaper. Not to mention all the products and services afforded me by Local, State and National Associations. I wanted to be involved; I wanted to know what was going on and do a better job and become more successful. After a while, I recognized the value of not just benefitting me but of benefitting others around me. It sounds hokey but it’s true. I have an ego just like everyone else, but I get a great deal of satisfaction knowing we’re doing the appropriate thing for folks in the industry, and for consumers at large. We are representing the home buyer and owner; nobody represents them better than NAR. All of the things we espouse at the federal level are the kinds of things home buyers and investors would agree with and do if they had the leverage that NAR does.

CO: Why is it important for Brokers and REALTORS® to take an active role in their Local, State and National Associations, and how will you encourage them to do so?
MV: I think the exchange of ideas and information is enormously important to any organization—not just my vision, not just the vision of a few folks, but the collective vision of an industry. The people in North Dakota see things differently that the folks in California or Texas. I like to surround myself with different opinions and hear the pros and cons of different perspectives. The more of that you can do collectively, the better decision you can make as a whole. You’ll gain a lot more by becoming involved because you can apply it to your business. I think you are nurtured by more than putting money in your pocket and food on the table. You’re nurtured by investing your resources, not only money, but your time, character and commitment into something that is bigger than you and gives you substance.

CO: Why is information and communication such a critical component of the real estate business, and how is NAR helping to foster improvements in this area?
MV: We have maintained our commitment to public advertising and marketing our brand. We are using every form of media from print to internet to television to radio, and all forms of communication to keep consumers as informed as possible. We also brought in an independent asset value assessment group to look at what the value of the name REALTOR® and the REALTOR® trademark is worth. We’ve worked on that name for over 100 years. The value of that emblem and the term REALTOR® is in excess of $4.5 billion. And that means a lot to REALTORS®. So we want to communicate the value of the REALTOR® brand—that as members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, we’ve earned the privilege to use the name and trademark and be proud. Over 90% of the American public understands what our “R” represents, let’s keep it that way.