Monday, April 2, 2012

More Real Estate Associations Join Forces

More local REALTOR® associations already have, or are increasingly weighing consolidation of their groups into one larger association as a way to maximize benefits for members and decrease operating costs.
Associations in Chicago last year--the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® and the REALTOR® Association of NorthWest Chicagoland--merged to form the fourth-largest REALTOR® association in the country. Earlier this year, more REALTOR® associations teamed up, including associations like the Orange County (N.Y.) Association of REALTORS®, Rockland County Board of REALTORS®, and the Westchester Putnam Association of REALTORS®, which all merged to create one larger group, the Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®.
Now two more real estate boards in Northeast Ohio are reportedly considering a merger, the Cleveland Area Board of REALTORS® and the Akron Area Board of REALTORS®. The groups both represent about 4,500 real estate professionals in the Northeast Ohio area.
"There are a lot of agencies in Northeast Ohio, and there are a lot of organizations that are doing great things," says Howard Hanna, president of Howard Hanna Ohio and a task force member discussing the potential merger. "But sometimes, they're doing the same thing. ... If there was a little bit more consolidation, we might get more done."
More groups nationwide are considering joining efforts. Jerry Matthews, a consultant in Windermere, Fla., says he recently surveyed real estate executives and board leaders in January and found that mergers were one of the top issues mentioned.
There are about 1,400 REALTOR® boards and associations nationwide, and 72 percent have 300 or fewer members.
Some associations and boards are eyeing mergers partially for financial reasons, in combatting a drop in membership and the lower dues coming in to operate their organizations. The Cleveland board has seen its membership alone fall by about 23 percent in the last decade, and the Akron board’s membership has dropped 28 percent.
But falling membership isn’t the only reason behind the consolidations taking place nationwide. Some groups also see it as a way to unify and strengthen their voices on housing issues in the region.
Joanne Zettl, chairwoman-elect of the Cleveland board, says a merged board in Northeast Ohio would provide the group a stronger presence at the state and national levels. She says it would help the real estate professionals in the region draw more attention to some of the struggles facing the area, such as legislation to help combat the plague of vacant properties and . foreclosure

Source : “Cleveland, Akron Real Estate Boards May Merge Their Houses, Reflecting a Consolidation Trend,” (March 31, 2012) and REALTOR® Magazine Daily News

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