REALTOR® Party Success Stories
State and local REALTOR® Associations around the country are taking advantage of REALTOR® Party tools and resources to step up their community outreach and advocacy efforts. Their success stories expand beyond their states and cities because they inspire and set precedents. Take a look at the examples here, and check back often, we’re adding more each week.
Latest Success Stories
Fort Collins REALTORS® Use Independent Expenditure Campaign to Support Four City Council Candidates: Three Win – May 2013
When an NAR dues increase went into effect two years ago, the Fort Collins Board of REALTORS® (FCBR) made a promise to its 750 members to bring those dollars back to the northern Colorado community, in the form of grants from the REALTOR® Party. This spring, it made good on that promise, supporting four candidates for local election, including the mayor, with an Independent Expenditure Grant from NAR. The funding paid for get-out-the-vote calls, and a combination of online advertising and social media messaging that reached the youthful voting population of the college town more effectively than traditional print media. Three of the four candidates who benefited from FCBR’s support, won: the incumbent mayor, and two of the candidates running for City Council.
Wisconsin REALTORS® Help Re-Elect Property Rights Champion to Supreme Court – May 2013
Justice Pat Roggensack, one of the four-justice majority seen as favoring property rights on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, was running for a second 10-year term. The 13,000-member Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA) was there to help her secure it, with 57.5 percent of the vote. WRA led an independent expenditure campaign for her re-election, working closely with a well-established coalition of like-minded partners that includes the state chamber of commerce, the state bankers and builders associations, and the Wisconsin Club for Growth. WRA has been involved in seven of the past eight contested state Supreme Court races, backing the winner in six of them. The difference this time came in the form of a $210,000 grant from NAR that financed a two-week statewide radio campaign.
Maryland REALTORS® Help Change Shape of Salisbury City Council to Usher in Positive Urban Growth – May 2013
When two seats came up for grabs on the City Council of Salisbury, MD, the 950-member Coastal Association of REALTORS revved its advocacy instincts into high gear. The association interviewed all the prospective candidates and took heart when they met challenger Jake Day, a “local boy” with an urban revitalization background that gave him an understanding of what Salisbury needed to develop as a city. They backed him for one district, and incumbent Shanie Shields, for another. Working together with the Maryland Association, the Coastal Association secured Independent Expenditure funds from NAR to support direct mail cards, a radio ad, robo-calls and door-hangers. Both candidates won in the April 2013 election, and two weeks later Jake Day was selected as President of the Council.
St. Charles REALTORS® (MO) Help Elect Real-Estate Friendly Board of Aldermen; Re-Electing One of Their Own, As Well – March 2013
Five years ago, the climate for business and real estate in Wentzville, MO (an hour’s drive from St. Louis) was not good. Since then, the 1,200-member St. Charles County Association of REALTORS® helped bring positive change for homeowners and the housing industry in Wentzville – by changing the makeup of the Board of Aldermen. With the help of endorsements and RPAC contributions from the St. Charles REALTORS®, five of the six of Wentzville’s current Aldermen are “real estate-friendly”. And, the President of the Aldermen, Rick Stokes, is an active REALTOR® in the Wentzville area. Last spring, Stokes’ campaign for re-election to the Board of Aldermen became one of the first in the nation to benefit from an Independent Expenditure Grant from the NAR’s REALTOR® Party.
Read how the St. Charles Association Worked to Elect a Real-Estate Friendly Board of Aldermen (422K PDF)
Indiana Association Helps Elect Five REALTOR® Champions to Statewide Offices — January 2013
It’s always helpful to have a REALTOR® in the house…not to mention REALTOR® Champions in the state Senate and attorney general’s office! In Indiana last year, five campaigns that received support from NAR’s Campaign Services division swept to victory, assuring industry-friendly legislators just where the Indiana Association of REALTORS® (IAR) needs them. The 14,600-member association helped elect two incumbent state representatives – REALTORS®, no less, two incumbent state senators and a state attorney general who was up for re-election. NAR funding paid for radio ads for all five.
SouthEast Valley Association (AZ) Helps Elect One of Their Own to Chandler City Council — January 2013
When Nora Ellen, a REALTOR® in Chandler, AZ, decided to throw her hat in the ring for an open seat on the City Council, the Southeast Valley Regional Association of REALTORS® (SEVRAR) got to work. The 10,000-member association first used NAR’s polling services to determine where she stood, and what needed to be done. With polling results in hand, NAR’s political strategists worked quickly with SEVAR to devise a plan. A Campaign Services grant of almost $40,000 funded the three direct mail pieces. Ellen won outright, with more than the necessary 50 percent-plus-one of all votes cast.
REALTOR® Candidate Training Academy Helps Groom REALTOR® Champions for Public Office – January 2013
One new program that is sure to spawn a multitude of its own Success Stories is the REALTOR® Candidate Training Academy, developed and offered by NAR’s Campaign Services Division. This intensive one-day training session provides a comprehensive overview of what it takes to run for an elected position, be it the school board, or city council, or the highest office in the land. After all, the more REALTORS® and REALTOR® Champions who are successfully groomed for election, the better the environment for REALTOR® issues at the local, state, and national level. Participants in the pilot classes in Reading-Berks, PA and Reno, NV are raving about them.
In Close Race, Southwest Riverside (CA) REALTORS® Help Elect Friend to County Supervisor Office — December 2012
It was going to be a close race for the Riverside County Supervisor, 1st District. But the challenger, a volunteer fire fighter, owner of a small property management firm, and a California State Assemblyman for six years had the support of the Southwest Riverside County Association of REALTOR® (SRCAR.). Using NAR’s Campaign Services Resources, the 3,400-member association was able to help elect Kevin Jeffries – bringing a true friend to the real estate industry into the county supervisor office. And he won with by just 1,200 votes – less than 1 percent of the total.
Pennsylvania Association Helps Elect Two REALTOR® Champions to the General Assembly — December 2012
In politics, there are REALTOR®-friendly candidates, and then there are candidates who are actually REALTOR® members. This election year, the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® (PAR) protected and secured the seats of not one, but two of its own who serve in the Pennsylvania General Assembly. With two Independent Expenditure Campaigns funded by NAR, PAR helped to re-elect Sue Helm of Dauphin County and Marguerite Quinn of Bucks County, outside Philadelphia.
Oklahoma Association Goes Beyond PAC Contributions to Help Elect Two REALTOR® Champions — August 2012
The 8,325-member Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® (OAR) has long had one of the state’s strongest Political Action Committees. But this spring, having received the maximum allowed PAC contributions from OAR, two of its strongest advocates – one in the State House (Marion Cooksey) and one in the State Senate (Clark Jolley) - were still faced with tough primaries. They needed an extra boost. OAR used a $14,500 Independent Expenditure Grant for polling and mailers to bring about success. Representative Cooksey won her race outright in the primary; Senator Jolley will face an Independent in the fall general election, and is expected to win easily.
San Diego Association Helps Three REALTOR®-Champions Win Most Votes in Jungle Primary — September 2012
It’s a jungle out there in San Diego; in fact, in all of California, where the ‘Jungle Primary System’ applies. In the jungle system, all candidates are in the first round which, technically, is a non-partisan race, although candidates can accept endorsements. Fifty percent plus one vote wins the race outright. If no one gets over 50 percent of the vote, the top two candidates go to a run-off in the general November election. The 12,000-member San Diego Association of REALTORS® (SDAR) endorsed three candidates, and with Independent Expenditure funding from NAR, it created targeted direct mailings for all three elections. On June 12, each of the three REALTOR® candidates had garnered the most votes: one won a seat on the San Diego City Council; one goes to a run-off for a City Council seat; and the third will compete in a run-off for the office of San Diego County Supervisor.
Texas REALTORS® Put Their Grassroots to Work in Statewide Primaries — August 2012
“When Texas REALTORS® vote, Texas REALTORS® win.” That’s the slogan on the Texas Association’s web site -- and it’s also exactly what happened in the statewide primaries this year. The 80,000-member Texas Association worked with their 89 local associations to endorse 99 candidates statewide, for offices from the U.S. Senate, to the Texas Railroad Commission to both houses of the Texas legislature, to a couple of seats on the state Supreme Court. They won 70 and have 14 still pending in run-offs. The Texas REALTORS® got a big boost from $100,000 in Campaign Services funds, which it used exclusively for communication – direct mail, automated phone calls and development of a campaign web site.
Columbus (OH) Board’s Campaign Wins Respect of City Council, But Not Enough Votes to Elect REALTOR® Champion — June 2012
“We may have lost the race,” says Government Affairs Director Gavin Blair of the Columbus Board of REALTORS®, “but we are in a much stronger position now than before we ran it.” The November 2011 election presented an opportunity to try to add a REALTOR® -friendly member to the Columbus City Council. NAR funded polling, three targeted mailers, robo-calls, and online advertising. While the REALTOR® Champion won the election-day votes, an unforeseen wave of absentee ballots carried the incumbent back to office. Columbus REALTORS® may have lost the race, but the City Council now has a good relationship with them because of the positive campaign they ran.
Arcadia (CA) REALTORS® Put Facebook to Work in City Council Election Victory — June 2012
John Wuo, the Arcadia Association of REALTORS® champion, was a candidate who seemed to have it all: a successful and well-rounded business career; a thriving real estate office; a list of impressive board memberships and volunteer activities longer than his arm; two terms on the Arcadia City Council (including two terms as Mayor) under his belt; and the ability to speak Mandarin – the native language of the city’s largest minority group. But he had no Internet presence. The Arcadia REALTORS® put an end to that. Using NAR’s Campaign Services, they executed a successful campaign using English and Chinese-language ads on Facebook to help elect him to another term.
Idaho REALTORS® Re-Elect Tireless Champion to Pocatello City Council — March 2012
When Jim Johnston was appointed to the City Council of Pocatello, Idaho in early 2011, he was new to political office – but no stranger to public service. In fact, when he ran for election to keep his seat just six months later, polling partly funded by NAR found that he had a whopping 84 percent name recognition. The Idaho native had achieved this not only through his through his 30 years’ experience as a leading REALTOR® in Pocatello, but thanks to his dedicated involvement with organizations ranging from the Idaho Chapter of the American Red Cross, to the Grand Teton Council of Boys Scouts of America, to the United Way, and more. The 5,800-member Idaho Association of REALTORS® put together a campaign plan that involved promotional outreach, and an extensive get-out-to-vote effort. Then they turned to NAR’s Campaign Services Department and asked them to fund 50 percent of it – and they did.
Washington State REALTORS® Score Victory in Edmonds Mayor’s Race — April 2012
Seven months before the recent mayoral race in Edmonds, Washington, the REALTOR® candidate was trailing by about 11 points in the polls. Reaching out to NAR’s Campaign Services Department, the state association developed a plan and secured the support they needed. REALTOR® Champion Dave Earling came out victorious in November by more than 65 percent. Through polling, direct mail, automated phone calls and a customized campaign strategy, NAR and the Washington Association worked together to bring about success.
Los Angeles Area REALTORS® Move Quickly to Win City Council Special Election — January 2012
Four local REALTOR® Associations in California, fortified with campaign resources from NAR, banded together to run a successful campaign electing REALTOR® Champion Joe Buscaino to the Los Angeles City Council. The Beverly Hills Greater Los Angeles, Glendale, Pasadena Foothills and South Bay Associations all worked together to turn this special election into a REALTOR® Party win. Polling, advertising and an abundance of local grassroots support helped us “make the deal,” said James W. Litz, government affairs director for the Los Angeles Association. “The amazing part was that this campaign took place over the Christmas/New Year holiday, and the REALTOR® Party was able to deliver during this hectic period, helping us keep a tight schedule for a January 17th election, after a November 8th primary,” Litz added.
St. Marys (GA) Elects Two REALTOR® Champions to City Council — January 2012
The small but mighty Camden Charlton Board put NAR's campaign services to good use to elect two REALTOR® Champions to St. Marys (GA) City Council. Specifically, the board used NAR-sponsored "robocalls" (automated phone calls to voters) to push two of the three candidates they supported over the top. Jim Gant (husband of a REALTOR®) and Nancy Stasinis (former board president) won by 10 and 15 votes, respectively. Both, as well as the third REALTOR® Champion who lost, stand for issues that help to make their real estate market strong and vibrant.
Prince George’s County (MD) Association Wins Compromise on Real Estate Recordation Tax With Multi-Media Campaign – March 2013
Early in 2012, when their county council proposed easing its budget woes by increasing the real estate recordation tax – for the second year in row – the Prince George’s County Association of REALTORS® took action. After attempts to negotiate a fairer solution didn’t work out, it turned to NAR for help. The 2,800-member association used an $11,000 Issues Mobilization Grant to mount an automated call and electronic letter-writing campaign. Assistance was provided throughout by NAR consultants and program staff. The Maryland Association pitched in with a newspaper ad. The carefully timed multi-media campaign resulted in a compromise that cut the proposed increase in the real estate recordation tax in half. In addition, the association is now recognized as a worthy player in local politics.
Coalition of Los Angeles REALTOR® Associations Keeps Transfer Tax Increase Off the Ballot — February 2013
Last spring, when the City of Los Angeles proposed solving its $230 million fiscal year budget deficit by doubling the documentary transfer tax rate to $9 per $1,000 of assessed value, REALTORS® took action – fast. Eleven REALTOR associations covering the Los Angeles metropolitan area put together a coalition – 25,000 REALTORS® in all – to mount a successful campaign against the proposed transfer tax increase. And, by the way, they offered a viable alternative for raising the needed government funds. Using their own resources, along with funding from the California Association and NAR’s Issues Mobilization program, the coalition conducted polls, drafted alternative policy language and distributed effective mailers, which helped to get the transfer tax proposal off the March ballot.
Oregon REALTORS® Pass Ballot Measure 79 and Stop Unfair, Double Taxes — December 2012
The 2012 election cycle resulted in a resounding victory for 12,000-member Oregon Association of REALTORS® as voters supported the passage of Ballot Measure 79 to prohibit real estate transfer taxes. The vote was the culmination of a two-year campaign with NAR that began by collecting 164,000 signatures to qualify the issue for the ballot. Despite a difficult political atmosphere, research showed a path to victory through a strong education campaign. In the end, Measure 79 passed with 59 percent of the vote and was supported in 35 out of 36 counties throughout the state. This impressive victory featured a strong REALTOR® mobilization effort and a targeted campaign that personalized the messages necessary to illustrate the negative impact a real estate transfer tax would have on homeowners.
REALTORS® Help Bring Light Rail to Hampton Roads, VA — December 2012
When a referendum to bring light rail to Hampton Roads came back for another round in April 2012, the Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association (HRRA) got busy – again. The 3,300-member association had supported light rail proposals before, but this time they kicked their campaign efforts up a few notches with an Issues Mobilization Grant from NAR of $74,000, as well as additional funds for polling and direct mail pieces. In addition, the state association and HRRA kicked in their own funds, making REALTORS® the single largest contributor to the cause. In the end, the referendum was carried in 90 of 95 local precincts, with the approval of 62 percent of the voters.
Maryland Association Saves Mortgage Interest Deduction — November 2012
One month in to the Maryland State Legislature’s 90-day session this past winter, the Governor unveiled a proposal that would trim the state’s Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID). The 22,000-member Maryland Association of REALTORS® had to act quickly. NAR approved a $300,000 Issues Mobilization grant, which funded half the cost of an extensive advertising and public education campaign, which included polling, robo-calls, print and online advertising and plenty of media relations. The endeavor was capped by a huge rally organized by MAR outside the office windows of the Governor and key legislators in the Maryland Statehouse. Thanks to the quick and decisive action of the Maryland REALTORS®, and the strong support and deep resources from the national level, the issue resonated, the people spoke, and the proposal failed to launch.
Missouri and Cape Girardeau Associations Put NAR Land Use Initiative Services to Work — October 2012
When the City Council of Cape Girardeau got serious about implementing an onerous rental inspection program, the 292-member Cape Girardeau County Board of REALTORS® got busy. The board worked with the Missouri Association, which in turn asked for help from NAR. Through NAR’s Land Use Initiative Program, the Cape Girardeau Board got a comprehensive review of the proposal from legal professionals. In the end, the City Council asked the Cape Girardeau Board to help them draft an acceptable ordinance. Along the way, the board combated several unfavorable news articles with letters to the editor, explaining that by commissioning a thorough and unbiased legal review of the proposed ordinance, the REALTORS® were advocating for everyone’s best interests – including those of tenants and homeowners.
Ft. Collins (CO) REALTORS® Commission Poll Showing What Voters Really Think About City Council Proposal — October 2012
When the Fort Collins, Colorado City Council began floating the idea of extending its term limits, the Fort Collins Board of REALTORS® (FCBR) suspected that the citizens may not be for it. The 775-member board worked with NAR’s Campaign Services staff and commissioned a poll to take a look. The poll revealed that citizens were not only against extending the term limits of its City Council, but also did not want to spend $100,000 in tax dollars to bring the issue to a special election. The board provided the poll results to the City Council members and gave the information to the local paper, which resulted in a front page story. The Council decided drop the idea.
Virgin Islands Association Takes on Historic Preservation With Issues Mobilization Grant — September 2012
The price of living in paradise is occasional rough weather – and when storms the like of Hurricanes Hugo  and Marilyn  battered the U.S. Virgin Islands, the damage to property proved too much for owners of many of the islands’ historic homes. Over the years, the resulting abandonment of these properties has caused a blight that affects the quality of life, economic vitality, and property values of the once lovely historic rings of houses that distinguish the islands’ downtown areas. The 292-member Virgin Islands Territorial Association of REALTORS® [VITAR] led a campaign to get legislation passed that will not only preserve these endangered properties, but rehabilitate them to their highest and best use. A $44,000 Issues Mobilization Grant from NAR helped to fund a study, polling and advertising. The legislature is expected to vote on the measure this fall – and according to VITAR, it has a very good chance of passing.
North Dakota Association Stands Up for Local Control in Property Tax Battle -- and Wins! — October 2012
The North Dakota Association of REALTORS® (NDAR,) joined an astonishing coalition of more than 80 groups to oppose a measure that would have abolished the state’s century-old property tax. That’s right, REALTORS® worked to “keep” the tax. Why? Because getting rid of the tax would have empowered the state legislature to replace the lost income by creating new revenue sources, over which the voting public would have virtually no say. Their “‘Keep It Local, North Dakota” used funds from the state association’s own Issues Mobilization along with a grant from NAR to pay for polling and campaign advertising, including television, radio, newspaper, and social media. They also conducted 11 news conferences and numerous debates. In the end, they won with 77 percent of the voters striking the measure down.
Read more about NDAR’s successful campaign to keep property tax control local (85K PDF)
Oregon REALTORS® Step Up to the Plate to Ban Transfer Taxes
Oregon’s REALTORS® came out in force in May of 2012 to let the powers that be know exactly what they think of the possibility of a new real estate transfer tax. In an energetic campaign to get a measure on November’s ballot opposing any new taxes on real estate transactions, the 12,000-member Oregon Association of REALTORS® (OAR) presented nearly 164,000 signatures to the secretary of state’s office. It needed only 116,284. Combining impressive grassroots efforts with funds from OAR and NAR’s Issues Mobilization program, the campaign involved polling, an interactive web site, a signature collection firm and direct mail.
Kansas REALTORS® Save Mortgage Interest Deduction for State’s Itemizers — June 2012
Late in the spring of 2012, in a heated and hard-fought legislative session rivaling any political intrigue that happens in Washington, the citizens of Kansas retained their ability to claim itemized tax deductions on their state tax returns, most notably their Mortgage Interest Deductions. The 7,500-member Kansas Association of REALTORS® combined NAR’s Issues Mobilization services, along with their own funds and grassroots support to make that happen. The Kansas REALTORS® fought the Governor’s proposed ‘flat tax’ plan that would have wiped away all itemized deductions, and they won – by two votes.
From State Houses to Federal Agencies -- Working Together to Curtail Private Transfer Fees — March 2012
Several years ago, NAR launched a program to assist state associations in fighting private transfer fees. Today, 37 states ban them. Last month, NAR’s pressure at the federal level paid off as the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a rule prohibiting the fees on mortgages handled by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks. FHA already bans the fees. The FHFA rule in conjunction FHA’s, builds on the state bans by ensuring the fees aren’t imposed on any loans with federal government involvement in all 50 states. Curtailing these burdensome fees is a REALTOR® Party victory that was built from the state houses to the federal agencies. The REALTOR® organization has long been opposed to private transfer fees since there is virtually no oversight on where or how fee proceeds can be spent and how long the fee may be imposed. This often places an inappropriate drag on the transfer of property.
Transfer Tax Victory in Louisiana — January 2012
Louisiana REALTORS® joined with NAR political advocacy resources in a year-long campaign to win a permanent statewide ban on transfer taxes. In November 2011, the REALTOR® -supported measure won approval by 81 percent of the voters, making Louisiana the fourth state to amend its constitution prohibiting transfer taxes. Funding and technical support from NAR combined with extensive grassroots involvement to make this campaign successful.
SouthEast Valley (AZ) Association Uses Poll to Change Policy/Raise RPAC Investments — January 2012
The SouthEast Valley Regional Association of REALTORS® (SEVRAR) in Mesa, AZ used NAR‘s polling services to gather voter opinion on growth issues in four Arizona cities – Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe. The association brought the polling information to civic leaders who could not have funded such a poll themselves. “It really solidified our role as stakeholders in the community,” said Andy Fegley, SEVRAR’s Government Affairs Director. One of the most important findings was that 97 percent of the residents felt that real estate is key to the economic recovery of the area. Shortly after the poll results were released, SEVRAR’s RPAC Major Donors went from just one to 22! As of, March 2012, they are at 37!
Read more about SEVRAR’s poll (114K PDF)
New York Caps Property Taxes — January 2012
The New York State Association used NAR issues mobilization funds and resources to launch a successful campaign that put a statewide cap on real estate property taxes. My REALTOR® Party resources, along with aggressive involvement by REALTORS® throughout the state, helped to get the legislation passed and signed by the governor. The measure caps annual property tax increases at 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less.
A Sales Tax Increase to Help Little Rock — January 2012
The Little Rock Association joined the local mayor’s initiative last summer to increase the city-wide sales tax from the lowest in the state (from .5 cent to a 1.5 cent sales tax). They utilized Issues Mobilization dollars to help fund the initiative. In addition, they raised $15,000 more by forming a vital coalition of real estate related professionals. They worked to support the city’s campaign, ultimately winning the ballot initiative. Every penny of the tax increase is being used for capital improvements – to make Little Rock a better place to live and work. The mayor followed up with a letter to NAR, thanking the REALTORS® for organizing this powerful coalition for the win.
View/download slides (4.67M PDF)
Pennsylvania Association Creates Online Tool to Help REALTORS® Capitalize on Diversity in Their Communities — September 2012
Thanks to a $5,000 NAR Diversity Grant, members of the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® (PAR) are benefiting from an innovative website feature that helps them to maximize their ethnic and cultural sensitivities, neighborhood by neighborhood. “The Diversity Explorer” was developed for the 29,000-member association in anticipation of the release of the 2010 U.S. Census data. Through interactive charts of targeted markets throughout Pennsylvania, members get a quick overview of their areas’ changing demographics. REALTORS® can use statistics about immigrant cultures in their own back yards to reach out to these populations, helping them to better understand issues of homeownership there.
Nashville REALTORS® Gather Coalition for Ground-Breaking Housing Summit—April 2013
Where there are homes in safe areas with access to good education, good transit and other services, that’s where the jobs go. It was this kind of big thinking that led the 2,800-member Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS® (GNAR) to gather a coalition of regional partners in the housing industry last summer, to co-sponsor The Greater Nashville Housing Summit. The July 3 event at GNAR headquarters was the first of its kind, drawing housing experts and policy makers from around the state for a forward-looking “state of the housing market” program. Media relations, both before and after the Summit, were funded by an NAR Housing Opportunity Grant of $2,500, which also covered promotional graphics and printed materials, as well as a wealth of research information.
Read more about GNAR’s successful Housing Summit (426K PDF)
REALTORS® Launch Waterbury (CT) “Front Porch Day” with Housing Opportunity Grant — October 2012
The city of Waterbury, Conn. had been facing a growing epidemic of neighborhood blight for decades. Some properties had been abandoned; others harbored criminal activity. Porches, lawns, and sidewalks along entire streets had fallen into disrepair. Leaders of the 650-member Greater Waterbury Board of REALTORS® met with the mayor and launched a neighborhood stabilization program to do something about it. Funded by a $5,000 Housing Opportunity Grant from NAR, which was doubly matched by the City of Waterbury for a total of $15,000, the first annual Waterbury Citywide Front Porch Day in July 2012 brought together over 300 volunteers to clean up ten blight-ridden Waterbury streets. Follow-up meetings are now occurring with neighborhood groups and a date for the 2013 Front Porch Day will soon be announced.
Read more about GWBR’s Front Porch Day Program (1.42M PDF)
SW Florida REALTORS® Promote Free Homebuyer Education — August 2012
The REALTOR® Association of Greater Fort Myers and the Beach, Inc. is working with the Lee County Housing Development Corporation to provide free Homebuyer Education classes to the communities it serves. Course materials are provided by NeighborWorks® America and include topics such as homeownership readiness, money management, the purchase process, and home maintenance. Under the direction of 2012 President, Marion Briggs, the 4,000-member association used a $5,000 Housing Opportunity Program grant to produce a video featuring testimonials of students who describe the benefits of homebuyer education and their experiences as homeowners. The video has been shared with the public by various community-based organizations and lenders.
Ada County (ID) REALTORS® Bring Housing Opportunities to Life in Idaho — June 2012
The 3,000-member Ada County Association of REALTORS® (ACAR) first used an NAR Ira Gribin Grant to develop a three-pronged housing assistance program it called Welcome Home Idaho -- providing down payment assistance for working families; zero-percent loans to help with fees and interest; and Employer Assisted Housing materials and training for the community’s REALTORS®, elected officials, and business leaders. Then, it moved on to use NAR Housing Opportunity Grants to put on a housing summit; a Fair Housing campaign; a housing trust fund for lower-income homebuyers; and more.
Southern Maryland REALTORS® Partner With Local College to Boost Financial Literacy — May 2012
The 1,400-member Southern Maryland Association of Realtors® (SMAR) received a $5,000 NAR Housing Opportunity Program Grant to partner with the College of Southern Maryland to present Money Smart. This free event offered sound financial advice in tough economic times. Industry experts presented sessions covering topics related to real estate and mortgages; personal banking; and taxes, insurance, and financial planning.
View the 8-minute video
Missoula REALTORS® Work with Mayor to Promote Workforce Housing — May 2012
Land is at a premium in Missoula, Montana, which is situated in a picturesque valley at the convergence of five mountain ranges. This stunning topography imposes natural limits on development options for housing – or anything else. It also means that workers who cannot afford to live in the city must literally cross mountains to get between work and home. Mayor John Engen had made affordable housing a priority and the Missoula Organization of REALTORS® stepped up to plate to help. MOR co-sponsored a housing summit and put on an Employer-Assisted Housing Class using NAR’s My REALTOR® Party resources.
Michigan REALTORS® Create “Sense of Place” in Workforce Housing — April 2012
When the Michigan Association of REALTORS® (MAR) received an Ira Gribin grant from NAR a few years back, it funded a statewide initiative to study the benefits of placemaking in workforce housing. “As REALTORS®, we have been all about land use planning for a long time, but now we clearly need to focus on placemaking, specifically, as the real key to reversing the fortunes of the housing market here in Michigan.” says 2012 MAR President Beth Foley. Placemaking is a progressive movement that creates improved and distinctive public spaces by involving community input. In February 2012, when Governor Rick Snyder announced his own support for placemaking policies to help spur the state’s flagging economy, state leaders asked MAR to lead the way. Using a $15K Smart Growth Action Grant from NAR as seed money, the association did just that by hosting “MI Great Places,” the state’s first Placemaking Leadership Forum.
Mississippi REALTORS® Show How to Win With Employer-Assisted Housing — March 2012
In this economy, it’s not easy getting anyone to part with money. But down in Mississippi, thanks to a statewide program of education and outreach, REALTORS® are finding some success, despite the hard times, in convincing employers that helping their employees on the road to home ownership is a win-win situation. The Mississippi Association used a $60,000 workforce housing grant from NAR to help increase awareness of a new state law that provides tax incentives to employers who assist their workers in becoming home owners.
Nevada Hosts "Under One Roof" Event to Boost Employer-Assisted Housing — February 2012
The Nevada Association used its Housing Opportunity Grant from NAR to help sponsor "Under One Roof" – a forum addressing employer-assisted housing programs. The January 28 event drew dozens of employers, as well as government and community leaders to encourage more employers to help their workers access quality housing through employer-assisted housing, a benefit that helps employees meet their housing needs. Nevada REALTOR® Dawn Lane, who organized the event, explained that employer-assisted housing is a key component to successful businesses. "Employees who own their own homes nearer to work stay with a company longer, are more productive, have fewer absences and have more stable home lives," she said.
Massachusetts REALTORS® Win Campaign to Protect Affordable Housing Law — January 2012
The Massachusetts association used NAR’s Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grant in 2011 to help fund an advocacy campaign to sustain the Commonwealth’s Affordable/Workforce Housing Statute. The REALTOR®-supported statute enables local zoning boards of appeals to approve affordable housing developments under flexible rules. The Massachusetts association and a diverse coalition of housing groups successfully beat opponents who had obtained sufficient signatures for a recall referendum. Had it passed, this referendum would have repealed a law that helped to create more than 56,000 homes across Massachusetts for low- and middle-income families, seniors, and people with disabilities over its 40-year history. (Note: While this particular grant is no longer available from NAR, Housing Opportunity Grants and Issues Mobilization funds could be used for programs like this one.)
Wisconsin “Housing Works” Web Site Hits a Home Run — January 2012
The Wisconsin Association and its partner, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority teamed up to create — Wisconsin Housing Works — a web site devoted exclusively to workforce housing issues. The Wisconsin Association tapped NAR’s Employee-Assisted Housing (EAH) resources to develop this website, which informs and educates real estate professionals, lender partners, employers, and employees on the value of home ownership. The site lists EAH offerings in the state, describes how to create workforce housing programs and makes available training materials. The website is sparking calls from employers and municipalities for additional information on how they can create their own programs to expand home ownership knowledge and opportunities.
Housing Opportunity in Action: Three Success Stories — January 2012
The Housing Opportunity Grant Program has a track record of success. In partnership with NAR, local associations are able to educate communities about how to expand housing opportunities as well as actually assist those who need a boost to get into homes of their own.
Greater Capital Area Association Takes the Lead in Smart Growth – Twice! — April 2013
Development in Montgomery County, MD, just north of the nation’s capital, is growing fast. The Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® (GCAAR) wants to make sure it grows smart, as well. Two Smart Growth Grants from NAR have been helping it do so. The 8,500-member association used the first one to begin a member education program, which became a celebration of Montgomery County’s smart growth in action. The second enabled GCAAR to participate in a coalition of county officials, developers, and others to advocate for a comprehensive mass transit plan. Funds were also used to create a magazine compiling smart growth and local development information.
Read about how GCAAR put two smart growth grants to work (524K PDF)
Delaware Association Uses Smart Growth Grant to Launch “Complete Communities” Summit – March 2013
Delaware, the second-smallest – but sixth most-densely populated – state in the nation, has a vested interest in the concept of smart growth. Leaders of the 3,000-member Delaware Association of REALTORS®, in conjunction with state government leaders began brainstorming about creating a master ‘planning book’ for the state. Then they decided to take a step back and look at an even bigger picture.
They organized the Complete Communities: Delaware Summit 2012, held Nov. 13 in Dover. The Delaware Association co-sponsored the event with the state’s Department of Transportation and the Office of State Planning Coordination, and the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration. A Smart Growth Grant from NAR helped to pay for two of the featured speakers About 130 people attended the all-day conference, representing all three counties and 57 towns in Delaware.
Orlando Association Gets On Board With Commuter Train Travel – December 2012
While the 9,000-member Orlando Regional REALTORS® Association (ORRA) has been energetically supporting SunRail, central Florida’s first commuter rail project, association leaders felt some first-hand exposure for their members and local decision makers would kick it up a notch. Using a $1,500 Smart Growth Grant from NAR, ORRA was able to arrange for and promote a train ride for nearly 170 REALTORS®, leasing agents, elected officials, Chamber of Commerce members and others. The ride included presentations about the new depots and transit-oriented development projects planned along the route. The grant helped to provide substantial collateral materials for all participants, including a notebook containing “Transit Oriented Development 101,” produced by the Center for Responsible Transportation.
St. Louis Association Makes Great Strides Toward Walk-able Communities – August 2012
The St. Louis Association of REALTORS® (SLAR) combined U.S. government resources and an NAR Smart Growth Grant to produce a two-part program on walk-able communities -- one that it hopes may serve as a national model. Tapping the expertise of a national “walk-ability expert,” the 7,000-plus member association hosted two events stressing the clear connection between walk-ability and property values, The kick-off event of Walk/Live St. Louis 2012 was a half-day public session at the St. Louis Federal Reserve auditorium. The second session featured a two days of walking audits and visits to metrolink stations, and included mayors and other elected officials, city managers and municipal staff. The programs showcased REALTORS® “in a whole new way, according to SLAR organizers, “showing them as a collaborative organization committed to making communities more walk-able, bike-able – and safe.”
Hilton Head (SC) REALTORS® Partner With Mayor for Balanced Land Management – June 2012
In the lovely resort town of Hilton Head, South Carolina, the natural environment is carefully protected, and the built environment is subject to strict regulations. But its low-key commercial areas were in need of polishing. The 850-member Hilton Head Area Association of REALTORS® worked with the town’s mayor and a $5,000 Smart Growth Grant from NAR to help rewrite an outdated Land Management Ordinance. The result is a balance between development and preservation that is benefitting the quality of life for all residents and tourists to the town.
Atlanta Commercial REALTORS® Make Smart Growth Real for Suburban Rail Station – February 2012
Since 2005, the Atlanta Commercial Board REALTORS® (ACBR) has been working to make quality growth a priority – not only for their 2,800 members, but for their entire metro area. In 2011, the ACBR had the opportunity to take their convictions to the next step — to help turn a smart growth plan into a viable commercial/residential development. The property in question was a rail station in Edgewood -- an older suburb of mostly single-familyhomes southeast of downtown. Through a series of collaborative sessions with community stakeholders, an NAR Smart Growth grant, funds of their own, and public/private partnerships they made it happen.
Santa Fe REALTORS® Help Bring New Life – and Housing – to “Tired” Commercial Area – April 2012
Thanks to a Smart Growth Grant from NAR, the Santa Fe Association of REALTORS® (SFAR) is boosting the re-development of a dated and underutilized commercial corridor. Santa Fe REALTORS® could see potential in the mile-and-a-quarter stretch anchored by the Santa Fe University of Art and Design at one end and a hospital at the other end and decided to do something about bringing it to life. SFAR commissioned a Housing Advocacy Study that proposes a vibrant new design for the area -- including up to one thousand housing units. In February 2012, the Santa Fe City Council embraced the plan by passing a resolution that keeps the redevelopment project moving forward.
Nashville REALTORS® Support Collaborative Mass Transit Alliance – February 2012
From commuter-frustration to air quality, the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS® (GNAR) understands the critical impact that transportation issues have on the quality of life in their region, -- and they’re doing something about it. With an NAR Smart Growth Grant, GNAR provided $10,000 in funding to the Transit Alliance of Middle Tennessee in support of the Transit Citizen Leadership Academy. The goal is to educate key community leaders on the complexities of mass transit. By preparing them now, the planning that lies ahead for a system of mass transit in Middle Tennessee will be a well-informed, cooperative process. As GNAR Association Executive Don Klein explains, “The idea is that, by the time it’s time to vote on funding, we won’t be just sitting around and talking about it. We will have created a critical mass of meaningfully informed community leaders who will be able to explain, ‘Yes, it’s going to be expensive, but it will be more expensive not to build it.’”
Chattanooga REALTORS® Contribute Funds and Resources to 40-Year Regional Growth Plan – January 2012
The Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS® recently donated it’s $10,000 Smart Growth Grant from NAR to support a 40-year growth planning process involving 16 counties in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia. An array of area organizations and businesses are working with the local governments to develop a framework for managing future growth in the area’s economic, environmental, educational, residential and commercial sectors.
Taos County(NM) Scores Two Land Use Victories – January 2012
The Taos County Association partnered with NAR and the REALTORS® Association of New Mexico (RANM) to successfully fight two onerous land-use proposals. One would cloud titles of thousands of properties and the REALTOR® effort was able to stall it for now. The other would have placed unfair development restrictions on local property owners, and the measure was defeated. The Taos Association coordinated with the New Mexico Association to use NAR’s Land Use Initiative Program along with consulting support to defeat these proposals. It was the ultimate three-way partnership.
St. Charles County (MO) Association Turns Evening of Fun and Games into Serious RPAC Receipts—May 2013
It’s not every day that the president of the St. Charles County Association of REALTORS® gets hoisted 15 feet off the ground in the basket of a boom-truck. But that’s what happened September 12, 2012 when the 14,000-member association, launched its annual RPAC fundraising event with a much-anticipated Golf Ball Drop. Members had paid $5 apiece for the 330 marked balls that were dumped overboard. The member whose winning ball landed nearest the target got a prize. A lively auction, dinner and games rounded out the event, which raised more than $18,000 and added nine Major Investors and 11 Major Investor pledges. A $2,500 RPAC fundraising grant from NAR helped to pay for the event and to raise 50 percent more than the previous year.
Read about the St. Charles County Association’s RPAC Fundraiser (392K PDF)
Midwestern Ohio Association Uses Grant to Turn Pig Roast and Auction into Successful RPAC Fundraiser – January 2013
When you’re small, it helps to be resourceful, creative, and well-connected. It also doesn’t hurt to have access to a few pick-up trucks, professional auctioneers, and someone willing to roast a pig. The 460-member Midwestern Ohio Association of REALTORS® (MOAR) proved this in 2012, by parlaying an RPAC Fundraising Partnership Program grant from the NAR into three-times the amount, which accounted for 70 percent of its total RPAC contribution for the year.
Fredericksburg (VA) REALTORS® Use Murder Mystery Game to Boost RPAC Investments – August 2012
Murder for fun and profit? Seems unlikely, in an organization with as high ethical standards as NAR. But the 1,400-member Fredericksburg Area Association of REALTORS® (FAAR) pulled off a fundraising coup by “killing off” the association’s President, Chip Taylor -- at a “Murder Mystery Dinner” at the local country club. With an RPAC Fundraising Grant from NAR, the association hired a company to script the event and defrayed some of the food costs. They had a raucous good time and raised more than $4,000 for RPAC, with additional pledges still coming in. Who says Crime Doesn’t Pay?
Nashville Young Professionals Raise Serious RPAC Funds at Governor's Mansion Event – April 2012
In Tennessee, the Young Professionals Network leadership demonstrated unequivocally that the industry's youngest members are not just about light-hearted happy hours: They can take on serious issues and raise serious funds – and put on a great party while doing so! The Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®' YPN chapter hosted a fundraiser this spring at the Tennessee Governor's Mansion, bringing together REALTORS® from across the state in a prestigious setting, and raised approximately $35,000 for RPAC.
Read about the Nashville YPN Event at the Governor's Mansion (694K PDF)
Oregon Wins with RPAC Grant and Online Fundraising – April 2012
The Oregon Association used an RPAC Fundraising Grant and the RPAC Online Fundraising Program to help bring their RPAC collections to more than $30,000 in 2011. Targeted online communication and raffles, combined with extensive work by the Oregon Association leadership and staff made their fundraising efforts more successful than ever.
Learn more details about the Oregon experience (1.34M PDF)
The 3,100-member Memphis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR) is determined to fight the blight that is overwhelming a number of its urban neighborhoods. Thanks to an NAR Game Changer Grant, MAAR is now partnering with the mayor’s office on what seems like a “win-win-win-win” solution: a pilot program that seeks not only to reduce neighborhood blight – but to increase neighborhood pride, spur economic development, and, remarkably, to boost the local school lunch program. The new program is testing the viability of urban farming on vacant lots in a neighborhood of South Memphis, using hoop houses to extend the growing season. The hope is that immediate neighbors can be engaged to be responsible for the farm-lots, and that the harvest of healthy produce will be sold to local public schools for use in lunches
Miami Association Creates Advocacy Team with Game Changer Grant – February 2013
With 26,000 members, the Miami Association of REALTORS® (MIAMI,) has the potential to wield a lot of power in the political advocacy arena, but it was having trouble getting members involved. So, in March of 2012, MIAMI came up with a game-changing plan. The association applied for and won a $25,000 Game Changer Grant to create a “Market Solutions through Political Advocacy” team. The team works to heighten member awareness of political issues; recommends local races to screen; and advocates for candidates during elections. It’s working. In the last year they’ve identified a number of local candidates to get behind and increased their Major Investor count from 10 to nearly 60.
Learn more about how MIAMI boosted its advocacy efforts and RPAC receipts (210K PDF)
Las Vegas REALTORS® Use Game Changer Grant to Help Homeowners in Need – January 2013
While the Las Vegas housing market has been especially challenging for real estate professionals, the 11,000-member Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® (GLVAR) was eager to ramp up its charity work to help area homeowners in need. GLVAR used a Game Changer grant of $25,000 from NAR to partner with Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada, the local chapter of a well-established national organization that provides home maintenance, repairs and upkeep to low-income, elderly, disabled and veteran homeowners in need. In addition to making a monetary gift, GLVAR members rolled up their sleeves and helped to make critical home repairs for those who can’t do it themselves.
Louisiana REALTORS® Expand Advocacy Web Site into Online Information Hub for Homeowners – November 2012
Last year, as part of its wildly successful initiative to prohibit any future state-wide transfer taxes, Louisiana REALTORS® (LR) created a website to bolster and communicate its position. After the vote, the website remained: a highly effective platform that had connected with thousands of Louisiana citizens interested in property-rights and home-ownership issues. The challenge was to keep all these folks engaged. Through LR’s work with the REALTOR® Party, the association took the website to the next level. With a $25,000 Game Changer grant they transformed it into an online, Louisiana-specific, home-ownership resource center – one that would serve as a model for other state associations.
Reno Sparks (NV) Association Get Out the Vote with Game Changer Grant – November 2012
With three out of five Reno city council seats up for grabs, the 1,900-member Reno Sparks Association of REALTORS® (RSAR) was eager to take some bold action to get out the vote this year. They decided to use the RSAR offices as an early voting site! The $2,950 Game Changer Grant they received from NAR paid for flyers to local businesses, and signage. By providing this public service, they helped to raise public awareness about what REALTORS® do, as well as show that they are engaged in the political processes that affect them. They also used NAR’s Voter Registration Initiative to help get their members registered to vote.
Utah Association Uses Game Changer Grant to Boost Vote-by-Mail Option Among REALTORS® – November 2012
This is a big election year all over, but in Utah, the political focus is especially strong, with the Governor running for re-election, a new congressional seat up for grabs, and the state’s ‘adopted son’ running for President. In an effort to make sure REALTORS® get out and vote, the 11,500-member Utah Association of REALTORS® received a $15,000 Game-Changer Grant to launch its Vote-by-Mail initiative. Anecdotal evidence suggests that voters who cast ballots by mail appreciate the time it gives them to research the candidates and their platforms and determine which best represents their views, with the ballot right at their fingertips. The Vote-by-Mail program urges the UAR membership to register to vote by mail. Having done so, each member who has registered receives a ballot from the county clerk, fills it out, and returns it by mail or at the polls on Election Day.
North Carolina & Charlotte Associations Make a Splash at the Democratic National Convention – August 2012
When you have a national political convention coming to town for the first time in your state’s history, it’s best to know how to harness some of that attention for your cause. The North Carolina and Charlotte Regional Associations put their heads together and decided digital bill boards were just the ticket. They jointly applied for a $25,000 NAR Game Changer Grant and put it with $25,000 of their own to purchase one month of time on 10 billboards in five counties in the Greater Charlotte area—all on major thoroughfares that visitors would pass daily en route to and from the convention site. As one association leader put it: “We know Charlotte is a great place to live, and delegates, media and visitors from all over the U.S. found that out. Even if visitors to this area don’t come back and call Charlotte home, we've made sure they remember the REALTORS® welcomed them to our great city and state.”
Florida REALTORS® Use Game Changer Grant and Market Enthusiasm to Help Welcome Republican National Convention to Tampa Bay – August 2012
REALTORS® are not shy about capitalizing on opportunity, and the Florida REALTORS® were no different when they found out that the Republican National Convention would be held in their own back yard. The 115,000-member association used a $25,000 NAR Game Changer grant, along with funds of their own, to help welcome the 60,000 delegates, guests, media and elected officials to the Tampa Bay Area. By co-sponsoring a welcome video, as well as a four-day, live web TV broadcast showcasing life and economic opportunity across the state, Florida REALTORS® put marketplace opportunities and homeownership front and center. Association leaders agreed that “REALTOR® issues” are everybody’s issues and having a presence at both political conventions this year made good sense all around.
Illinois Association Advances Smart Growth Newsletter With Game Changer Grant – September 2012
The Illinois Association of REALTORS® (IAR) is using its $19,000 Game Changer Grant to help support a new bi-annual smart growth newsletter -- On Common Ground in Illinois. Loosely modeled on NAR’s On Common Ground smart growth magazine, the IAR publication specifically addresses issues of interest to Illinois residents. By producing and distributing the newsletter to officials in more than 1,300 Illinois municipalities, IAR hopes and expects to be viewed as the trusted source of information on important real estate issues like impact fees, foreclosure data, and market information, helping to advance the REALTORS® position and private property rights at the local level.
Marin Association’s Housing Turnover Index Proves Worthy of NAR Game Changer Grant – June 2012
The lobbying strategy of the Marin Association of REALTORS® (MAR) reflects Benjamin Franklin’s advice that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Four years ago, MAR initiated a lobbying campaign to advocate fair and equitable alternatives to onerous point-of-sale retrofit mandates. The focus of the campaign was the launch of a computer program that graphically shows it takes as much as 70 years for local housing stock to switch ownership. This means there is an urgent need to implement speedier, more effective solutions to address sewer lateral and other environmental-related issues. The index is proving useful in lobbying for such solutions around the state. Now that MAR has won a $7,000 Game Changer Grant, they will take the index to the next level by funding its conversion to a mobile application for smart phones and tablets.
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