Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Report from NERC 2008

Kyle Rogers reports: I always enjoy attending REALTOR events and inevitably bring something back to use in my personal practice. The New England Regional Conference (NERC) gave ideas too.

On Sunday Georgia Chomas, Cindy Butts and I drove to Cambridge, MA without incident and with a few wrong turns. What would we do without technology; Cindy has a GPS and without that little box we'd still be driving around Boston looking for the Charles Hotel. We met up with the rest of the Maine contingent, MAR President Patti Lawton, Rita Yarnold, Mike LePage, Michelle Flaherty, Cornelia Stockman and Cheryl Kaplan.

Monday morning began with Judy Moore, 2008 NAR Regional VP introducing 2009 NAR President Charles McMillan. I've heard many notable speakers in my past life in the Navy and my “grown-up” life as a REALTOR® and must say that Charles ranks right at the top. He urged us to “keep the message positive," and to find opportunities to speak with local media. The NAR website has many resources - such as their Surround Sound campaign. I'm going to look at how the Merrymeeting Board can implement some of the materials available in Surround Sound toolkit.

Another powerful message Charles relayed to us is about contributing. He asked each of us to find 3 REALTORS® not contributing their “fair share” and ask them to participate. If they say no, and they will, keep asking. I wouldn't be the President of the Merrymeeting Board if I had not been asked to be on their Board of Directors 4 years ago.

The keynote speaker was 2001 NAR President Richard Mendenhall. He's a very dynamic speaker, one that will have you in stitches laughing ... to then crying about the recent loss of his father. He's fifth generation of his family in real estate. Encouraged us to explore trends changing the real estate industry and your business. Survival goes to the most adaptable in an evolving market. A quote: “Success in real estate is a four-letter word - GUTS.” If you have the opportunity to meet Richard Mendenhall or hear him speak, you'll be awestruck too.

Our day continued with an economic update featuring NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. The presentation had everyone sitting on the edge of their seats. The Boston media filed into the room to listen to what Mr. Yun had to say about New England. Here's a link to his presentation in PDF format for use in your office. The news mostly good with some bad mixed in. I won't even mention which parts made the news.

The food at the conference was nothing less than spectacular. I was wondering why there was a scale in my room, not that I had to chance to step on it.

This conference featured Town Hall type meetings, allowing the audience to ask questions of the panels. The first featured Charles McMillan; Ron Phipps, 2009 NAR First Vice President nominee, and Laurie Janik, NAR's Chief Legal Counsel. Each offered thoughts on leadership, market conditions, blogs, and more. I could have listened to their insights for hours.

Jerry Giovaniello, NAR’s Chief Lobbyist reinforced the impact we have when we charge Capitol Hill in May each year. REALTORS impact how our elected officials view issues such as banks in real estate, health insurance for self employed, FHA and many more.

NAR General Counsel Laurie Janik briefed us on legal issues including recent legal victories and areas of continued concern, such as RESPA. She urged everyone to be careful.

A cocktail reception with a sixties theme - NERCStock - had a plethora of food and a sing-along to familiar songs. We sounded pretty good too if I might say so myself!

Tuesday morning had 2 more Town Hall discussions, the first featuring 4 candidates for NAR elected positions. This group relayed how they first got involved in leadership and what they recommend for anyone interested in a leadership position. One commented he'd probably not be sitting on the panel if someone didn't believe in him and ask; another had to be asked several times before the light came on. The most widely used excuse for not volunteering is “I don't have the time”; panelists suggested explaining business benefits, offering options with less time commitments, contributing to PAC instead of time, and more.

The last Town Hall forum was the most enlightening. The Under 30 panel featured our own Michelle Flaherty from Prudential Northeast Properties in Westbrook. Michelle and 5 fellow panelists gave their insights into brokerage and opportunities. The Vermont panelist tells a potential seller the advantage of his online placement, ”You can have your house buried in the aisles with the rest of thousands of products but I'll place your home right at checkout. By placing it at the checkout they'll see your home is for sale." Apparently this approach works as he closed 84 transaction sides last year and only in business a few years. Several panelists indicated even with use of social networking (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) it's still networking, the telephone, and quick response that makes them successful.

In closing I'd like to thank everyone who had a hand in producing such a wonderful event. It was truly a pleasure and an honor to participate and meet so many people. Now, if I could only find my car keys ...

Kyle Rogers is the 2008 President of the Merrymeeting Board of REALTORS

1 comment:

Ann Cummings said...

Kyle - this sounds like it was a great NERC Conference this year. I was unable to attend this one, but I've been to many of them in the past. I like the link you included to Lawrence Yun's presentation - thank you for that.

I never tire of hearing Richard Mendenhall speak. He installed me as incoming NH State President a few years back, and has been to speak to us several times - I love listening to him.

Thanks for this very informative recap.

Ann Cummings