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Last week, more than 1,200 attendees joined RISMedia for its 2020 Real Estate CEO Exchange—an all-virtual event featuring more than 50 leading brokers and industry professionals who candidly shared the challenges they’ve faced this past year and their strategies for succeeding as we continue to grapple with the effects of the coronavirus.

And while consumers may be apprehensive about getting on a plane or into an Uber for the foreseeable future, for those looking to buy or sell a property, relying on a real estate professional is more important than ever before.

“If consumers ever needed a REALTOR®, it’s now,” explained Vince Malta, president of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), during an exclusive Q&A with NAR CEO Bob Goldberg and RISMedia Founder, CEO and Publisher John Featherston.

“While the way in which REALTORS® conduct business has changed, the role of a REALTOR® has not—which is the message we’re trying to portray as we move forward,” added Malta.

A key player in the fight to ensure that real estate professionals were deemed essential when businesses across the board shut down as COVID-19 began to spread across the globe, NAR did what they’ve always done: gone to bat for their 1.4 million members.

“It’s a role that we have always taken, but the success of it has come to light during this pandemic,” said Goldberg.

As one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in the country, NAR continued to advocate for its members in a variety of ways despite the current health crisis.

From working to ensure that independent contractors were eligible for stimulus funds, pushing for additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, working to extend the deadline for 1031 like-kind exchanges to creating the Right Tools, Right Now program complete with 400-plus products, services and tools to help members navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19, NAR dug deep to make sure their voice was heard on Capitol Hill.

“The bottom line is that we have been engaging members more so now during the pandemic than ever before,” said Goldberg, who defines today’s normal as the “now” normal.

Being able to shine through despite all the negative things occurring throughout the world, Malta predicts a strong finish to 2020 should job gains continue and low interest rates hold steady.

“If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we can accomplish anything with our resiliency and our ability to work together,” said Malta. “This is a time where we can look optimistically to our future and envision a new roadmap because we have accomplished so much.”

“NAR is all of us together,” added Goldberg. “This power, which is 1.4 million members strong, has the chance to move this industry and protect it on behalf of consumers.”

Also during the event, NAR 2020 President-Elect Charlie Oppler and NAR Senior Vice President of Member Development Marc Gould contributed strategies and insights for using what we’ve learned in 2020 to set the stage for a successful 2021.

“More than anything else, we learned how to adapt to what was important in our lives and that the health of our families and our companies weren’t on the same page anymore,” explained Oppler during “Strategies for Salvaging Success in 2020 – The Local Challenge.”

“We always somehow prioritize work over family, and I have heard from so many agents that this was a special time they got to spend together that they never had,” Oppler added.

During the “CEO Exchange Wrap-Up,” Gould applauded the willingness of industry professionals who compete with one another on a daily basis to come together and share the lessons they’ve learned over the course of the year.

“There are going to be times in the future where we are going to have to pivot again—or move quickly—and we’re going to have to recall the lessons we’ve learned,” explained Gould, who encouraged panelists and attendees alike to set time aside sooner rather than later to document what they did during the pandemic—and what they could/should have done. 

Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to paige@rismedia.com.

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