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The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Jeff Barnett, NAR’s Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.

Jeff Barnett,
Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Steve Brown,
2014 NAR President, Co-Owner, Irongate Inc., REALTORS®,
Dayton, Ohio

Jeff Barnett: Steve Brown has been advocating for the real estate industry for 38 years, from his early days with the Dayton Area Board of REALTORS® to his current stance as the National Association of REALTORS® 2014 President. As Gary Thomas cedes his post as 2013 NAR President later this month, Steve picks up the ball to power us forward into the realm of recovery. Steve, what are the particular challenges brokers are faced with in today’s environment?

Steve Brown: Brokers are challenged in two particular areas. One is the cost of doing business. We as brokers need to have a profitable operation. We can’t operate under the notion that there are not going to be fluctuations in the market. The broker is an entrepreneur and, at heart, an optimist. But brokers today need to look at their businesses from a totally realistic standpoint.

The other challenge for brokers is the professionalism of our industry. The broker is only as good as each and every one of his/her agents because they are the ones who interact with the firm’s clients. The broker has the responsibility to see that his/her agents are trained and operating not only by the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, but out of a passion to serve the client.

JB: How will you better engage brokers during your tenure as NAR president?

SB: At the National Association level, we need to be more focused on serving the needs of our brokers from all sizes of companies. At the Midyear Conference in Washington, D.C., we had our first Idea Exchange for Brokers Committee meeting. NAR needs to provide this kind of venue where the specific issues we deal with as brokers can be discussed.

Moreover, in the coming year, the REALTOR® organization itself, on every level, needs to proactively engage the broker in the everyday course of business. For example, as we engage the benefits of the REALTOR® Party, we need to engage our brokers in the operation of these resources. With our brokers’ leadership, there is no question that the effectiveness of the REALTOR® Party, and the Association, will be enhanced.