The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Steve A. Brown, NAR’s Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.
Steve A. Brown,
Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR
2015 President, National Association of REALTORS®
Steve A. Brown: Chris Polychron, a REALTOR® for 27 years, will bring his straight-shooting, passionate brand of advocacy for brokers and REALTORS® to his role as 2015 NAR President. An executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark., Chris has built a long career of advocating for all things related to homeownership, whether it be in front of a congressional committee or at a fundraiser in his own backyard. Today, I have the chance to talk with Chris about his plans for leading the national association in 2015. Chris, what’s your overall approach to the NAR presidency?
Chris Polychron: I’ve traveled quite a bit on NAR business and have had great input from our members, and I will continue to seek information from them. The benefits and services NAR provides should revolve around our members. It’s a cliché to say I want to give back to my members, but I really mean it.
SB: What are some of the key regulations/legislations you will be advocating for during your tenure as NAR President?
CP: In 2015, we will focus on tax reform. As Jerry Giovaniello [NAR senior vice president and chief lobbyist] says, “REALTORS® need no education regarding tax incentives for housing and real estate investments.” In other words, we don’t want any change to the tax code when it deals with housing. It’s still the American dream to own your own home, so why take away the incentives to do so? Our Association, including the leadership team, will continue to fight any change in the tax code.
Another issue is our GSEs (government sponsored enterprises), Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. History has shown, especially during tough times, that private investors are not going to provide enough capital to maintain liquidity in the secondary mortgage market. We are working with both sides to highlight the importance of maintaining the role of the federal government. Without an explicit government guarantee, consumers would pay higher mortgage interest rates.
SB: What are some of the biggest challenges the industry is currently facing?
CP: As an industry, we have to promote ourselves to the younger buyer. Apartment rents are increasing and we have to show potential first-time homebuyers the advantages of buying a house.
SB: There’s lots of big news these days in the data and online portal world. Where do brokers and their agents fit in this equation?
CP: One of the areas I want to work on is making sure members have availability to big data and understand how to use it effectively. All REALTORS® must have good technology training so they can use data for the benefit of the consumer. In the past, we gave away our data and got no value for it. As we move forward as an industry, our members will continue to accumulate accurate, timely data and gather insight into properties by using a wide variety of sources. More than any other group, these efforts will steer consumers toward REALTORS®.
The acquisition of Move (who operates realtor.com®) by News Corp. is a great move for our members, all of whom use portals. To say I’m excited about this acquisition is an understatement.
SB: What will be key to broker profitability in 2015…and beyond?
CP: There are several ways you can increase profitability. You can reduce expenses or generate more income—that’s the beauty of real estate. We have the ability to find ways to run our organizations more profitably. We don’t need as large of an office anymore. Bricks and mortar don’t make you a lot of profit.
REALTORS® make you profit. Increasing the number of first-time homebuyers, maybe increasing sales through the second-home market, all of that will add to broker profitability.
For more information, visit www.realtor.org.