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MP: How does NAR plan on continuing to advance homeownership in 2014?
SB: Property ownership, not just homeownership. We have to continue to advocate in Washington on behalf of the property owner. Every elected official has REALTORS® in their community and those REALTORS® have more knowledge of their community than most any other professionals in that community. That is one of our most important assets in terms of who we are and what we do. So we have to continue to advocate the benefits of property ownership through our associations and through the REALTOR® Party.

MP: What are a REALTOR®’s top challenges in today’s market and how can they best rise to meet them?
SB: Legislative and regulatory challenges are in the forefront. Another continuing challenge is technology. New technologies come along every day of the week! The challenge is to study and understand the advantages and disadvantages of technology in our everyday business—and then buy what makes sense for us. We need the actually usable, not just the latest. To thoroughly understand technology, I think you have to ask the question: “How will this better service my clients and increase production?”

MP: What can we, as an industry, do better in terms of truly connecting with today’s consumers?
SB: Consumers can have all the information at their fingertips, which many do, but when they actually make that home purchase or property investment, they need someone to guide them. They need someone to advise them, to interpret all the information, and someone to truly care about the decisions they are making. Most importantly, they want to be treated kindly. At the end of the day, the real estate transaction is a profoundly human experience. If one can remember this, amid the marketing, disclosures, inspections, financing, and all the rest, we will have no problem keeping connected.