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Industry Relations: Spiderman, Spending Controversy & the Same Old NAR?

by Greg Robertson on June 2nd, 2018

As Peter Parker will tell you, great power comes with great responsibility. And there is little doubt that NAR has a great deal of power. With Bob Goldberg at the helm, many have anticipated a ‘kinder, gentler NAR,’ an organization that rules with a warm embrace rather than an iron fist—serving its membership with open discussion and greater transparency. Does the recent drama over the dues increase demonstrate a more-of-the-same-old approach from NAR leadership? Or is the perceived crisis around the budget an overreaction? Is there evidence that the culture at NAR is really changing for the better?

Rob and Greg are back in the ring on the heels of the REALTORS midyear legislative meeting, going toe to toe over the recent controversy around NAR spending. They start with an overview of what went down, beginning with the Houston Association of REALTORS opposition piece in Inmanand the subsequent op-ed credited to Jim Harrison of MLSListings. Rob and Greg walk us through the retractions, rebuttals and apologies that followed as well as the board of director’s vote in DC.

Rob offers his take on NAR budget priorities, sharing the questions he has around spending on things like zipLogix, RPR and advertising to protect the REALTOR brand. He goes on to discuss the way NAR handled the spending controversy, framing it as a missed opportunity to embrace opposition as a catalyst for discussion rather than ruling with an iron fist—which may discourage membership from speaking up in the future. Greg offers his defense of NAR, pointing out that the SMART Budget Initiativeis clearly outlined NAR’s website and citing member engagement as an incredibly complex issue. Listen in for Rob’s insight around NAR’s responsibility to its members and decide whether NAR is, indeed, using its power for good.


What’s Discussed:

The Houston Association of REALTORS’ opposition to the dues increase

How the controversial op-ed credited to Jim Harrison went too far

The questions around NAR’s spending on zipLogix, RPR and advertising

The line items Rob would like to see NAR prioritize in its budget

– Advocacy

– Professionalism

Greg’s perspective that there is no evidence of an NAR crisis

How NAR might have handled the spending controversy differently

– Could have offered ‘warm embrace’

– Opposition as catalyst for discussion

NAR’s postponement of the 2.5% annual dues increase

Rob’s take that NAR’s iron fist will discourage others from speaking up

Rob’s concern about the lack of explanation regarding NAR spending

Greg’s defense of NAR as being more transparent than ever before

SMART Initiative outlines spending objectives

– Elizabeth presented proposed budget at T3

– Communication with membership is difficult

Rob’s belief that NAR’s power gives them a higher level of responsibility



Houston Association of REALTORS Member Survey

HAR’s Dues Increase Opposition Piece in Inman

Jim Harrison’s Op-Ed in Inman

HAR’s Clarification and Apology

Harrison’s Apology

NAR’s SMART Budget Initiative

Rob’s ‘Crisis and Opportunity’ Blog Post


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Connect with Rob and Greg:

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One Comment
  1. Meanwhile, here’s Zillow’s ad feature a collaboration with Pixar/Disney:

    Your move NAR…let’s see how you spend that extra +/- $50M on consumer advertising…”You want a garage”

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