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


Jim Imhoff
Chairman & CEO, First Weber Group, Madison, Wis.;
Outgoing Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

J. Nicholas (Nick) D’Ambrosia
Broker of Record, The Long & Foster Companies, Chantilly, Va.; Incoming Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Jim Imhoff: In September, in a note to NAR’s commercial members, outgoing NAR president Chris Polychron highlighted a rising confidence he perceived among industry professionals in the overall state of the market. It had less to do with statistical trends than with a general feeling of optimism. In the last year or so, brokers and REALTORS® have dealt with some sticky issues—persistently low inventory, the Qualified Mortgage (QM) rule, and, most recently, the implementation of RESPA/TILA changes commonly known as TRID. But the relative confidence we sense today comes from a number of factors—including stabilizing interest rates, modest price appreciation, and a surge in new-home construction. It’s a welcome change from the gloom and doom we survived coming out of the downturn, and it makes this an auspicious time for me to hand the Power Broker Roundtable gavel to NAR’s liaison for the coming year. Nick D’Ambrosia, for the last five years, has been principal broker for the Long & Foster Companies. But he’s been a guiding force in our industry as a whole for 40-plus years, active in state and local associations and recognized with a number of prestigious awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Maryland Association of REALTORS®. Nick, thanks for taking on the job.

Nick D’Ambrosia: My pleasure—and thank you, Jim, for the great year you’ve given us. I read the Roundtable every month, not just for ideas and inspiration, but for help in evaluating the business and legislative issues we contend with on a daily basis. I agree wholeheartedly that these are promising times—if not without their concerns—and I hope to pass it forward with a common sense approach to the issues we’ll be dealing with in the coming year.

JI: As the voice of NAR, incoming president Tom Salomone will be facing a full agenda. What do you see as some of the issues he—and we—will be watching in 2016?

ND: The changing political landscape, for one thing, as we head toward the November elections. Legislative action on things like taxes, interest rates, mortgage deductions, etc., have a direct and dramatic impact on real estate, so as always, we’ll rely on NAR to advocate not just on behalf of our industry, but on behalf of the consumers we serve.

JI: A good example of that was NAR’s success in delaying the implementation of TRID rules until after the busy selling season.

ND: Exactly—and the same applies to Project Upstream and the data management and distribution issues brokers have been facing, as well as ongoing conundrums like GSE and flood insurance reform. Our expectation is that the Roundtable panelists who weigh in each month can help us stay on top of these issues, clarify what’s happening and how it impacts the market.

JI: What I’ve enjoyed are the bottom-line issues—tips and ideas from top performers on maximizing business, minimizing costs, getting more out of technology and social media—topics that are important for brokers everywhere, no matter the economic climate.

ND: I’d like to compare business models, too—emerging models versus the more traditional, which should give us a lot of food for thought—and I expect to devote a column or two not so much just on analyzing what makes the millennials tick, but on bringing them around from the “dark side,” beginning with the experience of my own daughter who now has a real estate license.

JI: I like it. The REALTOR® population is aging. Where is the new blood coming from? Sounds like you’re ready to jump right in. I look forward to seeing where you take us every month.

ND: Thanks, Jim. I appreciate the time and thought you’ve brought to us for the past year. I’ve got big shoes to fill, but I look forward to the challenge.