December 31, 2017

A year of records and achievement – thank you to those who make it possible!


What a year!

This time last year I was preparing for the installation of Directors and putting the final touches on how my committees and I would hit the ground running with our 2016 agenda for the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors®(NETAR). What was not part of my plan was having the distinction of announcing a major milestone for Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia's real estate industry.

2017 NETAR President

For the first time single-family, condominium, and townhome resales passed the 6,000 sales a year mark. Even more eye-popping was the combined sales volume was a little over one billion dollars. That was huge for the local real estate because it firmly established us as a major player in the region's economy. Those of us in the business think of real estate as an industry but because it does not have a brand like Eastman or Ballad Health, the public does not see it that way.

Economists tell us that the transactions of existing home sales and the economic activity they generate account for an estimated 15% to 18% of the nation's total economic output. Fortunately, the study the National Association of Realtors'® research department and the folks at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University annually drill down the impact of real estate sales for each state in the nation. With that study, a lot of local number crunching and a NAR grant, we launched a speaker's program to localize the economic impact and raise public awareness of the role of real estate. Look to hear more about that in upcoming civic club meetings because it continues this year. Incoming president Aaron Taylor will get to announce the final numbers in the next week or so.

I am proud to say we had one of the association's most extensive leadership programs in its 21-year history. That is critical for the future of NETAR, local real estate professionals, and the real estate industry. Organizations perform only as well as the culture its leadership establishes. We completed not one but two leadership programs for our members. Leadership 1.0 for Realtors® looking to get started in association leadership, and Leadership 2.0 for those who completed that first course in the past and wanted to hone their leadership skills. These individuals are the leaders who will guide the association and the real estate industry to bigger and better things in the future.

Another huge accomplishment was a significant increase in awareness and participation in local, state and national governmental affairs.  It spanned the spectrum from local participation in the Realtors® Party Action Committee (RPAC) fund-raising to responding to the Calls for Action. Our representatives received multiple contacts on issues that varied from the need to fund the National Flood Insurance Program to policy points involving the recently approved Tax Reform Act. Realtors® have always been active in standing for homeownership and property rights, and last year we doubled down. In fact, we tripled down. Our participation in national Calls for Action was three times larger than we have ever recorded.  NAR keeps statistics for all 1300 local associations, and in 2017, NETAR led the nation in response rate.   I am sure the level of vigilance and resolve will continue and be expanded this year.

 NETAR also grew as an organization and through larger membership was a stronger voice for real estate in the Tri-Cities.

The latest count shows membership grew to a little over 1,200 Realtors® and the ranks of our affiliates expanded to about 100 members. That created a full parking lot at NETAR’s headquarters in Gray several days each week as it hosted real estate classes, seminars and workshops for members fulfilling mandatory training requirements and upgrading their specialties to be in sync with the profession’s every-changing legal and technical landscape. Planning, scheduling and hosting those events are core NETAR responsibilities.

One of the biggest gifts of serving in a leadership position is not sitting at the head of the table or holding the gavel. It is an opportunity to work with the volunteers and professionals who do the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting that makes the real estate industry work. They are a loyal and tenacious group.

I want to extend special thanks to the NETAR's staff, the association’s officers, directors, members, associates and other trade groups that were a part of my year as NETAR’s president. It gave me the opportunity to look at my profession and community from a perspective which renewed my appreciation that we live and work in a great place – a place where people want to live.

Next week Aaron Taylor assumes his role as president. He has completed a year of seminars and workshops with other incoming association presidents, and from everything I’ve seen, 2018 should be an awesome year.

Eric Kistner is the 2017 president of the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors. The real estate education and trade group is the voice for real estate in the Tri-Cities and has over 1,250 local Realtor® members and almost 100 affiliates.