In the studio today, we have Stacey Hartman from the Indiana Association of Realtors. She is the vice president of communications she is here today to talk to us about the benefits of being a member of your state Association.
Benefits of State Association Membership Takeaways
- There is a legal hotline! While they won’t represent you they will provide guidance.
- The forms provide by the state association are drawn up by their attorney’s to be compliant statewide.
- The state association lobbies for you and your profession with the state government and represents at national conferences.
Benefits of State Association Membership Podcast Transcription
Adam Small: Hello, and welcome to The Real Estate Marketing Minute powered by Agent Sauce. This is Adam Small and with me today we have Kimberly Small of Agent Sauce.
Kimberly Small: Hi. How are you?
Adam Small: Doing well, Kim. How are you?
Kimberly Small: Good.
Adam Small: Good. Good. In the studio, we have a special guest. It’s Stacey Hartman from the Indiana Association of Realtors. She is the vice president of communications there. Hi, Stacey. How are you?
Stacey Hartman: Hi, Adam. Thank you, Kimberly, for having me.
Adam Small: Great to have you here. Really looking forward to it. Stacey’s here today and she’s going to talk to us about the benefits of being a member and being involved in the Indiana Association of Realtors. Since we’re talking about member benefits, what’s the number one? Can you sum up the number one benefit for us, Stacey, of what being a member of the Indiana Association of Realtors is?
Stacey Hartman: It’s your forms. It’s statewide transactional forms. Our attorneys draft them, and this is the same … This case is the same with any statewide association. Most statewide realtor associations do this, but here in Indiana our attorneys draft them to protect our members and their transactions. Members review them to keep them current with the market. They’re statewide to cross board and listing service lines. I would just challenge our members to think of the time and money that you save by not having to consult an attorney for each move during a transaction, not to mention counseling the guy or the gal on the other side of the transaction.
Stacey Hartman: They’re secured. They’re familiar, and they help you get your job done.
Adam Small: That’s the number one benefit. It’s amazing because you said that they actually work statewide. They’re valid statewide. Knowing that if I use a form the Indiana Association of Realtors in Indiana, it’s a valid form. There’s not going to be a problem with it.
Stacey Hartman: That’s correct.
Adam Small: That’s a real peace of mind there. Now you said attorneys drawn it up. You have attorneys on staff?
Stacey Hartman: We do. We’ve got a couple of full-time attorneys on our staff. One of their main daily jobs is to man our legal hotline. Again this is very common among state realtor associations, but here in Indiana managing brokers have the ability to call into a legal hotline. They can also designate an agent to be able to do that. They have unlimited toll-free access to an IAR attorney. That’s a huge benefit when you consider what attorney fees run. The legal hotline definitely saves our members money. It reduces their risk.
Stacey Hartman: There are times that the answer is no or call an attorney because we can’t get involved in litigation, but guidance and peace of mind are valuable on their own.
Adam Small: Just having that resource as a, “Hey, here’s something that we’re not quite sure how to handle. What do we need to do?” Even if they have to say ta that point, “Look, you need to go consult with an attorney to represent you,” at least you know that you’ve got something that needs real attention, instead of it being something that you can say, “Well, you know, I can just respond to it myself.”
Stacey Hartman: That’s right. You’ve got a touch stone at the Indiana Association of Realtors and that’s good for peace of mind.
Adam Small: Yeah. A real valuable asset there.
Kimberly Small: What kind of questions do they get on the hotline?
Stacey Hartman: Oh, Kimberly, the questions run the gamut as you can imagine. If you’re a property owner yourself, you can just think back to what your transaction was like. We get questions on fair housing. We get questions on insurance, on local ordinances. We get questions on utilities. It really runs the gamut. Think of what it means to be a property owner and that tells you what our attorneys are talking about everyday.
Adam Small: All right. What other benefits? I mean you summed up the main benefit as being forms and it seems like probably the second greatest benefit is the legal advice or legal counsel or access is the word I’m trying to say. What other benefits are there in the way of being a member of the IAR or associating and getting involved with them?
Stacey Hartman: At a state level, and this is true again with a lot of state realtor associations, other types of state associations, your membership with the Indiana Association of REALTORS® gets you full-time lobbyists that defend your profession, your clients, your communities with state legislators and agencies. We also provide counsel to local associations and doing the same with city and county governments. We work really hard to solve political problems before they become your business problems. Having somebody out there proactively defending your profession, promoting it, is worth a lot.
Adam Small: Yeah, absolutely. Not only are there resources like you were saying the forms and stuff like that, technical resources there, but you’re also out advocating is really what I’m hearing you say, right? On a political level, trying to make sure that laws that get passed don’t have a negative impact on the real estate profession in general, right?
Stacey Hartman: That’s right. We’re talking about promoting strong communities, quality of life issues, making sure that the profession can operate freely, protecting property rights.
Adam Small: Wow. That’s a lot.
Kimberly Small: Along those lines, talk a little bit about RPAC. A lot of people have heard that either on a national or a local level. Tells us a little bit about what does that stand for and what do they offer?
Stacey Hartman: Well, I would say that in our current environment, politics can certainly make folks turn their eye or turn their cheek. RPAC, which stands for the Realtors Political Action Committee, those are important tools in our lobbyist toolbox to put … Think about it this way, RPAC is like an insurance policy. We use RPAC to put real estate friendly and knowledgeable candidates into office and once there help them enact real estate friendly policy. We think about it in terms of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s RPAC, but we should still have the cure just in case. That’s where our Realtors Defense Fund comes into play.
Stacey Hartman: We use the Realtors Defense Fund to advocate on issues. While RPAC would be candidate contributions, the Defense Fund would be issues to advocacy. If there were something important in your community that you wanted to support, let’s say mass transit rail up in the Northwest part of the state, water issues, those are what we would use the Defense Fund for.
Kimberly Small: You also an organization provide educational opportunities for agents. Tell me a little bit about what programs that you offer, what makes yours unique?
Stacey Hartman: Sure. I’d be happy to. We really have three places that we operate in an educational and professional development arena. First we have a Realtors Leadership Academy. It’s a year long program. It helps identify emerging leaders from local associations. It trains and motivates them to exert a positive influence on the future of the realtor organization. We also operate or put on two main events every year. These are our legislative and leadership conferences. Then we can’t go much further without talking about our school. That’s the Real Estate Certification Program or more commonly known as RECP.
Stacey Hartman: The benefit, first of all, I would say to any agents, broker out there listening, you have a lot of choices when it comes to your pre-licensing and continuing education, but I want you to think about it this way. Our school develops its courses with the help IAR attorneys and industry experts whose focus is on Indiana. Our attorneys, as we’ve already talked about, spend their days listening to realtors via the legal hotline. They know what’s going on in local markets. They also work with our lobbyists to fix realtor concerns legislatively and to know what’s coming down the pike.
Stacey Hartman: This relationship really positions RECP to provide the most timely and relevant education out there.
Kimberly Small: You guys host events for agents in addition to your staff goes to national events so that you can better educate yourself about what’s going on in the industry on a national level as well. Tell me about some of the events that you guys go to and then also the events that are open to agents to go to.
Stacey Hartman: Sure. Actually it’s really all of the above. Agents are welcome at almost every event that our national association and our association here at the state level put on. We at IAR, our staff and our leadership, support and attend to our two main national events. That would be the legislative conference generally in May where we bring realtors from all over the country to go to Capitol Hill and talk about issues, and then in the fall, generally there’s an annual meetings. It’s really focused on more the craft of your business, so real estate topics, be it technology, your communications, those kinds of things. We participate in those.
Stacey Hartman: Any realtor is welcome. Then we mirror that a little bit at the state level. We have a legislative conference generally the end of January, first of February, where we ask realtors from all over Indiana to come to the state house, advocate for themselves, their communities, their profession. There’s really strength in numbers. I would just encourage that person out there listening who might not be interested in politics or who just is getting a really poor taste about it in our current climate, I would tell you this, there’s a really popular saying in politics and that is that if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.
Stacey Hartman: That’s what we try to do at our legislative conference. We try to show our legislators that there are strength in numbers, that we’re united. We can rally around our industry. It’s a great networking time too. Now our annual conference differs from our national association’s annual conference a little bit in thinking in terms of our value proposition, the place that we know our members can get a lot of information a lot of different places via their firm, their broker, the managing broker, their peer groups, their communities, national organizations.
Stacey Hartman: With our annual events, we’ve tried to get out of the business of teaching our members how to do their craft. They know how to do their craft. We’ve turned our annual conference into a little bit of a leadership conference. It’s meant to pull leaders at local associations, those who want to get involved. Again this is a great place for somebody to step in and open the door. We ask people from around the state to come together and we talk about association things and also how to better represent the association and advocate for it and really how to become immersed in our communities.
Stacey Hartman: Realtors are already doing that, but it’s more of a way to do it together and make a more powerful impact. I would say if there’s somebody out there who’s listening who maybe gets emails from me, Stacey Hartman, and hasn’t given too much thought, you might scan those things. Come. Show up one time. It’s a great networking opportunity if anything. Get a little taste of what we do at the state house and see why it matters. Come meet folks who care about the industry just as much as you do. It’s a day, day and a half.
Kimberly Small: Great. I know that every state has a state organization like yours. There’s also obviously the local boards of different areas. How do those work together? Especially for a new agent that’s coming in and wanting to get involved, what’s the overlap there? What would you have to say as far as them getting involved in both organizations?
Stacey Hartman: Sure. The realtor organization is a three part organization. When you join, you become a realtor, you join a local association first. By virtue of that membership, you are a member of the National Association of Realtors and the state association of realtors. At your local association, you’re going to get a lot more hands-on things. You are going to get more networking with the people generally that you’re doing business with. You’re going to get the tools of your trade, say lockboxes and technology and your listing services and those types of things. At the state and national level, we are a little more policy oriented.
Stacey Hartman: We’re typically a trends and advocacy organization. Here at the state association, we do that on a state level with our legislators, with our state agencies. The national association they do that, of course, on Capitol Hill with members of Congress. The same is true with regard to trends. We have attorneys at both levels. Our attorneys are going to be focused on what’s happening within our state courts and regional courts. The national association is, of course, going to take a broader view. Just all three of us taken together, we’re protecting you and your ability to do what it is that you do on a daily basis.
Kimberly Small: Great. Anything we haven’t covered? Anything that agents come to you and are like, “Wow. I’m surprised. I didn’t know that you did that or that I had the opportunity to be involved in that.” Anything we didn’t cover?
Stacey Hartman: Well, I think there’s one great resource that we don’t talk about enough. Our attorneys publish a variety of publications, little articles, updates, etcetera. We house those on our website at indianarealtors.com. That’s a great place to check out. They’ve probably written about anti-trust or social media policy. It’s just a good reference place. I don’t think we do enough to talk about that. Then in general, I would just invite to get involved. Time is our most precious commodity. It gets harder and harder to get folks to events and I understand that. I’m just like you. I am very choosy with what I do with my time, but I would challenge you this.
Stacey Hartman: Your business is real estate and generally this is your passion. It’s helping people buy and sell, whether it’s a home or a place to start their business, to grow their business, or follow their passion. I would just say that when you come to our events, you are meeting up with people who are just like you. You can learn a lot from one another and we have a lot of fun too. I would say be on the lookout for a couple of our events. Go to our website indianarealtors.com. Check out the legal resources area. Do follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We do share information that way.
Stacey Hartman: Of course, tell your local board your best email address because that’s how we communicate with you and just would hate for you to miss out on information that you’re entitled to as a member.
Adam Small: If I’m a realtor and I’m listening to you and you’ve convinced me, now I want to get involved with the organization, with the association, who do I contact? What can I do? How do I get started with getting involved?
Stacey Hartman: Well, I would say start at indianarealtors.com. The next thing that I would say is that our leadership at the state association, and this is true across the three tiered organization generally so, but our leadership is … They’re volunteer leaders. We elect those folks. I would be on the lookout for a ballot this September. Find out more about your candidates. This would be a place for me to advocate voting as well in your state and local, national elections, but it does matter. Get to know those folks who are representing you at the table. Come to an event and of course, you’re welcome to contact me. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stacey Hartman: I know that’s a mouthful, but yeah, reach out. Let me know what it is that you’re thinking. Give me your feedback on stuff that we publish. Let me know if there’s something that we’re not doing. We’d just love to hear from you.
Adam Small: All right. Great. Kim, you got anything else?
Kimberly Small: No, I think I’m good. It’s been great talking to you.
Adam Small: It has been.
Stacey Hartman: Thank you, guys.
Adam Small: Thanks for joining us, Stacey. We really appreciate it.
Stacey Hartman: Thanks for the opportunity.
Adam Small: Yeah, absolutely. For all you listeners out there, thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, don’t forget to like us or subscribe and have a great day.