I first want to apologize for the rudeness of some of the Realtors posting here. As you can see paying the NAR dues does not make you a better person or magically a better salesperson for your clients.
The truth is that you need to explore the benefits and decide for yourself if it is worth the investment. Because that's what it is, and investment in your business. If it makes sense then go for it.
By the way, being able to use the word REALTOR does mean much in the real world. Neither does having a bunch of acronyms behind your name. Your clients have to be able to trust you. That's it. You can have a million letters following your name, but if a client doesn't trust you, then they are all worthless.
We belong to the associations locally and nationally because of the information we get. Because of the added services we get like Zipforms or discounts on other services.
Like I mentioned, don't give in to peer pressure. It is a business decision. Many people are like sheep and just do so just because.... those are the people who fall out of the business because they over spent.
I commend you for asking the questions before spending the money. Good luck!
What you may want to do is rebel... You can now list without listing... It is harder, but you can do it... All on Trulia, and several other sites like zillow - or even craigslist. It is worth a shot, you will likely need a lock box that can be accessed by the buyers agents. Another hurdle is that most agents are so dependent on MLS to know what is out there. They may totally skip over your listing, but the ray of sunshine is that buyers are now more savvy than ever before... Often they find the listing they want before we do, and that normally comes from an internet search... So... I dare you to try! Be the rebel and succeed! And tell me when you do! You see, I joined Connect Realty because they are backed by technology giants, and I am hoping that they will eventually (hopefully soon) provide an adequate alternative to local MLS... I want to go global, dang it!
Wouldn't that be nice!
I'd love to brainstorm with you... let me know how it goes!
Like most unions and boards who propose to look out for your interest they get fat off of your dollar and then make you dependent on them and they finally control how you make a living. The NAR and the local MLS is playing this game with us. New technology and a new way of doing business is out there and I will find it. The AOR sell/give our listing info to Zillow and the like and then they sell ad space to our competing agents who then benefit from the info that I generated when a potential buyer shop these real estate providers(Zillow, Realtor.com, etc.). Realtors act like zombies and are very unorganized, these boards do what they want to do and are never challenged. Their budgets increase yet their value to us stays the same. They have a fine for this and a fine for that.
And you agents that are always quick to say that this is just a cost of doing business you make me sick. You have no fight and just wrong.
It is my understanding that an agent does not have an obligation to join a board in order to do business in our State and that is free enterprise.
With so many Web-sites now available a person can get on the MLS for $250.00 for 6 months and not give up a selling commission. Check out FIZBER ....Realtors are becoming a thing of past.
Pat Robertson, Broker Associate
Keller Williams Realty
Once you have been trained and are producing, you can then think about what else you want and need to be the best you can be as a Professional Realtor.
The Board has regulated our industry so much that there is no way around joining the Board or the MLS if you want to work with buyers and sellers. With technology now, the Board and the MLS are able to put a stop to non-members. Electronic keys and electronic lock boxes on homes make it so each Realtor is assigned an electronic key to get into homes that only Realtors have access. Mostly all of the listings in the MLS have a section that says they pay non-Realtors 0% to maybe a 1% commission, they will require your MLS code at closing to confirm. Also each MLS system is tracked by your IP address, if the MLS sees additional users, they will find out why.
A real estate referral company is a great option for those who have a Real Estate license but are not able to sell full-time. Take a look at http://www.ParkPlaceNetwork.com at a company that pays back top dollar on referrals.
My business requires licensees to be NAR members. That's why I'm a REALTOR(R), never a realtor.
Our state licensing agency does not require NAR membership to practice real estate.
Non-NAR agents are obviously not getting ALL the information and services they would have if they joined the local NAR association, but there is a bigger point to consider. Everywhere I look, I see agents - including NAR members - using the term "realtor" in reference to any licensed agent. I see it here on Trulia all the time. I try to remember to type "REALTOR(R)" every time I refer to a NAR agent, including myself, as a way of supporting NAR's trademark and to differentiate myself from non-NAR agents. I even call out non-NAR agents on this point and suggest that they stop calling themselves "realtors." But it's like spitting into the wind when other NAR agents don't support proper use of the mark, too.
I am not sure what your local Realtors association requirements are, but generally the following apply:
1- To be able to call yourself a Realtor, you must be a member of the National Association of Realtors. If you are not a member of the National Association of Realtors, you are a licensed agent, but not a Realtor. Joining the National Association of Realtors is accomplished by being a member of your local Realtor's Association, which also makes you a member of your state's association.
2- All agents in a member real estate office have to be members themselves.
If you have questions about this, contact the NAR directly or your local association. They will gladly provide you with the pertinent information.
Hopefully this answers your question.
Many believe it means helping buyers find and purchase a home and helping homeowners sell their home. If that embraces the meaning of 'Work In Real Estate' you will find being a member of the local association invaluable. There are REAL benefits in membership. If this is your intent in your real estate career, to assist in the buying and selling of residential real estate, the advise of some will handicap you to such an extent you should start looking for a day job.
You will find, however, there is no business on the face of the earth like real estate. You would be well advised to spend some time chatting with a few experts to explore the breadth and depth of the real estate business so you have a better idea how to nurture and grow your vision of your real estate business.
Yes, you can go it alone, but you truly need to know what your business model looks like. Going it alone means exactly that, getting your brokers license and not joining a brokerage. Or better still, catching the vision of what 'Working in Real Estate' really means for those who are really making money.
So, make a decision, stop grumbling, and pursue your dream.
You have not told us what is "down right expensive"? $300.00? $500.00? I paid for our local/state Realtor dues $275.00 plus I paid an optional $197.00 for Legislative Support. You're a lot like the clients you allege to serve--totally ignorant as to why YOU get paid the fees you do! I pay my dues plus my CRS national dues, my CIPS national dues, my SRES national dues, my CCIM national dues and the reason I pay these is it is the cost of doing business! I do it because it pays such huge dividends to me that the cost is dirt cheap! It gives me an edge many other Realtors/Licensees will never have plus the referrals received more than pay the dues many times over.
If you do not know the value of being a REALTOR then your broker is NOT doing his fiduciary duty to you as his agent. In the past 7 years our industry has come under an onslaught from alternative business models which the young Mr. Welch sees as his salvation. Mr. Welch for some reason doesn't understand he CAN go globally!! But WHY re-invent the model when it already exists, protects the very way we do business and CAN do business and benefits thousands of our brethren?
In our state of California, we turn back hundreds if not thousands of "point of sale" issues where you the REALTOR would be THE responsible party for the fulfilling of the latest political cause. YOUR license would be on the line. You would be responsible for new, restrictive energy standards , sewer line inspection, wood insert removed in your fireplace, or having a complete building code survey done, and the list goes on! All at the expense of your homeowner and all your responsibility! We have turned these back for years. And on the national level, who do you think is fighting the department of justice who would love to FIX our fees, open our private, dues MLS systems to every FSBO, and open the door to complete anarchy in the marketing of our listings? This is done by dues paying REALTORS!! We be them!
The nihilism of Mr. Welch is misplaced as he need only search the internet for the wide, wild, wonderful world of real estate and the global village he so desires. NO ONE, especially REALTORS, would limit his growth. Rebelling for fun and profit is encouraged but contempt prior to investigation is folly.
To my knowledge, real estate salespersons in Michigan must be licensed under a Broker. That does not mean they have to be a Realtor(R) unless required by either the Broker or the MLS.
If your broker requires you to join NAR, and you do not see a benefit, then you should interview with other brokers in Michigan and Wisconsin. I saw lots of adds from Wisconsin along 26 and 45 last summer. The company mentioned by David might even be a choice. Today's agents can be completely paperless and if you read your license, I believe it indicates State of Michigan same as mine.
If you do not want to be a Realtor(R) and pay those dues, that may be your choice. I do agree with David those professionals that only use Realtor.com and the MLS to advertise their listings are becoming the minority. There are many Vertical Search Engines that provide more effective marketing of an agent and their listings than the old standbys.
In David's MLS, both Realtors(R) and agents can belong. In mine, everyone has to be a Realtor(R) which is part of the reason the two have not combined into a huge MLS. (apparently an ego problem on both sides LOL)
If you are not already a member, I suggest you join The Active Rain Real Estate Network http://activerain.com its free just like Trulia.
If you are doing well anyway, it shouldn't matter. Just pay it and take the right off:)
I hope this helps! Best Wishes!