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©2008 Andy SnowA 38-year real estate veteran, Steve Brown has seen every angle of this business, from the sales associate’s perspective to the broker/owner’s. Now, he’s ready for his biggest role yet. The co-owner of Dayton, Ohio’s Irongate Inc., REALTORS®, a full service real estate firm with six offices and 300 agents, Brown gears up for the year ahead as the 2014 National Association of REALTORS®’ President. “I’m ready to do what it takes,” says Brown. “I’m ready to go.” In this exclusive interview, find out what his long-term goals for the industry are and what’s tops on his agenda.

Maria Patterson: Let’s start at the beginning. When and why did you first choose to become involved in the real estate industry at the association level?
Steve Brown: I became involved initially with the Dayton Area Board of REALTORS® and it didn’t take long for me to see that the decisions made by the Board affected how I did business. Their policies and decisions directly affected my own pocketbook. So I wanted to be a part of that decision-making process.

MP: Why is it important for REALTORS® and brokers to play a role in their local, state and/or national associations?
SB: If you’re taking your business seriously, you have to realize that being a part of a REALTOR® association is part of investing in your business. I don’t just mean financially. I’m talking about investing time and talent into an organization that does what you can’t do on your own—like reaching out to Congress on legislative and regulatory issues that protect the accessibility, viability, sustainability and affordability of property ownership. And if you don’t think dealing with those issues is an investment in your own business, well, you won’t be in business for long.

MP: How does association involvement ultimately benefit real estate consumers and homeowners?
SB: The REALTOR® Association is really the only organization that stands up and advocates on behalf of property owners in the country. Who else is stepping forward and dealing with the concerns and rights of property owners on various issues, such as eminent domain and mortgage forgiveness? If we do our role well, it’s not just about advocating on behalf of our industry, but on behalf of homeowners—and not just residential property owners, but commercial property owners, land owners and property managers, too.