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71 Percent of Homeowners Believe It’s a Good Time to Sell …

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Existing housing inventory has declined year over year each month for two straight years, but new consumer findings from the National Association of Realtors® offer hope that the growing number of homeowners who think now is a good time to sell will eventually lead to more listings.


2017 - Q2 Home Survey

2017 – Q2 Home Survey


That’s according to NAR’s quarterly Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey1, which also found that fewer renters think it’s a good time to buy a home, and respondents are less confident about the economy and their financial situation than earlier this year despite continuous job gains.  

One trend gaining steam in the HOME survey is an increased share of homeowners who believe now is a good time to sell their home. This quarter, 71 percent of homeowners think now is a good time to sell, which is up from last quarter (69 percent) and considerably more than a year ago (61 percent). Respondents in the Midwest (76 percent) surpassed the West (72 percent) for the first time this quarter to be the most likely to think now is a good time to sell.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says it’s apparent there’s a mismatch between homeowners’ confidence in selling and actually following through and listing their home for sale. “There are just not enough homeowners deciding to sell because they’re either content where they are, holding off until they build more equity, or hesitant seeing as it will be difficult to find an affordable home to buy,” he said. “As a result, inventory conditions have worsened and are restricting sales from breaking out while contributing to price appreciation that remains far above income growth.”

Added Yun, “Perhaps this notable uptick in seller confidence will translate to more added inventory later this year. Low housing turnover is one of the roots of the ongoing supply and affordability problems plaguing many markets.”

On the decline: renter morale about buying a home and financial and economic optimism

Confidence among renters that now is a good time to buy a home continues to retreat. Fifty-two percent of renters think now is a good time to buy, which is down both from last quarter (56 percent) and a year ago (62 percent). Conversely, 80 percent of homeowners (unchanged from last quarter and a year ago) think now is a good time to make a home purchase. Younger households, and those living in urban areas and in the costlier West region are the least optimistic.

The surge in economic optimism seen in the first quarter of the year appears to be short lived. The share of households believing the economy is improving fell to 54 percent in the second quarter after soaring to a survey high of 62 percent last quarter. Homeowners, and those living in the Midwest and in rural and suburban areas are the most optimistic about the economy. Only 42 percent of urban respondents believe the economy is improving, which is a drastic decrease from the 58 percent a year ago.

Dimming confidence about the economy’s direction is also leading households to not have as strong feelings about their financial situation. The HOME survey’s monthly Personal Financial Outlook Index2 showing respondents’ confidence that their financial situation will be better in six months fell to 57.2 in June after jumping in March to its highest reading in the survey. A year ago, the index was 57.7.

“It should come as little surprise that the confidence reading among renters has fallen every month since January (64.8) and currently sits at its lowest level (53.8) since tracking began in March 2015 (65.7),” said Yun. “Paying more in rent each year and seeing home prices outpace their incomes is discouraging, and it’s unfortunately pushing home ownership further away – especially for those living in expensive metro areas on the East and West Coast.”  

Under half of respondents believe homes are affordable for most buyers; one in five would consider moving

In this quarter’s survey, respondents were also asked about the affordability of homes in their communities. Overall, only 42 percent of respondents believe they are affordable for almost all buyers, with those living in the Midwest being the most likely to believe homes are affordable (55 percent) – and not surprisingly – West respondents (29 percent) being least likely to think homes are affordable.

Additionally, 20 percent of respondents would consider moving to another more affordable community. Those earning under $50,000 annually (27 percent) and those age 34 and under (29 percent) were the most likely to indicate they would consider moving.

“Areas with strong job markets but high home prices risk a migration of middle-class households to other parts of the country if rising housing costs in those areas are not contained through a significant ramp-up in new home construction,” said Yun.

About NAR’s HOME survey

In April through early June, a sample of U.S. households was surveyed via random-digit dial, including a mix of cell phones and land lines. The survey was conducted by an established survey research firm, TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. Each month approximately 900 qualified households responded to the survey. The data was compiled for this report and a total of 2,711 household responses are represented.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

1NAR’s Housing Opportunities and Market Experience (HOME) survey tracks topical real estate trends, including current renters and homeowners’ views and aspirations regarding homeownership, whether or not it’s a good time to buy or sell a home, and expectations and experiences in the mortgage market. New questions are added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting real estate.

HOME survey data is collected on a monthly basis and will be reported each quarter. New questions will be added to the survey each quarter to reflect timely topics impacting the real estate marketplace. The next release is scheduled for Monday, June 12, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. ET.

2Index ranges between 0 and 100: 0 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be worse in 6 months; 50 = all respondents believe their personal financial situation will be about the same in 6 months; 100 = all respondents believe their personal situation will be better in 6 months.

Information about NAR is available at www.nar.realtor. This and other news releases are posted in the “News, Blogs and Videos” tab on the website. Some statistical data in this release, as well as other tables and surveys, are posted in the “Research and Statistics” tab. Follow NAR Media’s Newsline blog at http://narnewsline.blogs.realtor.org and Twitter at @NARMedia.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/71-percent-of-homeowners-believe-its-a-good-time-to-sell-economic-and-financial-confidence-dips-realtors-home-survey-300479507.html

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

Related Links

http://www.realtor.org

Housing market heating up this summer



The Capital Region housing market is heating up heading into summer, according to a report by the Greater Capital Association of Realtors.

The market rebounded in May after seeing pending sales, new listings and closed sales drop in April. May was better for buyers, as pending sales jumped 11 percent to 1,384 from May 2016, while sellers are beginning to take advantage of a hot housing market, as well. New listings increased six percent to 2,138 from May 2016.

Homes in the Capital Region are spending an average of 74 days on the market until sale. That number is down from May 2016, when homes had an average of 82 days on the market until sale, and May 2015, when homes were spending an average of 97 days on the market until sale.

Greater Capital Association of Realtors President Joel Koval said low inventory has caused many buyers to be ready with competitive offers.

“We’re seeing more and more multiple offers for homes in desirable neighborhoods,” he said in a news release. “In many neighborhoods in the area, sellers are receiving an average of 95 percent of original list price at sale.”

In Albany County, new residential listings were up one percent to 473, with an average price of $237,773. However, closed sales were down three percent.

Rensselaer County saw an eight percent increase in residential listings, with 268 new residential listings in May, averaging at $184,328. Closed sales increased by 14 percent, as well.

In Saratoga County, where the average residential listing was $305,507, new listings were up 11 percent to 560, but closed sales were down by eight percent.

The inventory of homes for sale dropped sharply, from 6,825 in May 2016 to 5,399 in May 2017. Inventory shortages are not unique to the Capital Region or across the country. National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun said the 21 percent decrease in inventory is a challenge facing the housing market from coast to coast.

“With new and existing supply failing to catch up with demand, several markets this summer will continue to see homes going under contract at this remarkably fast pace of under a month,” he said in the release.

The number of closed sales dipped three percent to 987, a lag that is expected to catch up in coming weeks as realtors and lenders bring buyers through the mortgage process. A more stringent loan approval process is now in place to prevent a repeat performance of the Great Recession, the release said, with incomes now verified, a reasonable amount of money required to be paid toward the home prior to purchase and home inspections required to be completed and reconciled prior to a closing date being set.

“Closing figures will improve as the summer rolls out,” said Greater Capital Association of Realtors CEO Laura Burns. “We are approaching the busiest time of year for residential sales and expect that if more sellers jump into the market, multiple offer situations will be avoided. If not, the September statistics on median sold price should be interesting.”

Why Bob Goldberg, NAR’s New CEO, Has Some Convincing To Do

Reposted with permission from Rob Hahn.

In the middle of the afternoon on Friday, June 23 — a curious time to be releasing such major news — NAR announced that it had chosen NAR Senior VP Bob Goldberg to be the next CEO, replacing the retiring Dale Stinton.

As you can imagine, I’ve had more than a few emails, text messages, Facebook messages and the like from all sorts of people asking my opinion on the selection. Why they care about the opinions of some consultant/blogger is a bit beyond me, and I am … how do I put this … “humbled and excited” to be asked.

I have a bunch of thoughts, many of them in conflict and a few different emotions — a couple of those are in conflict as well. So in a way, this post may be my working out all of those different thoughts and emotions. Take the journey with me.

I wish Goldberg all the best in the world

My first emotions and thoughts are fairly positive. I don’t know Goldberg past saying hello at events and such. I know I’ve met him a couple times, and he’s always been nice, always been kind. But I have never had a big sit-down conversation with the man, nor have I worked with him in any capacity.

Just about everyone I know who has, however, is effusive in their praise for the man. They say he’s a really smart guy, a genuinely nice person and a very sharp business operator. I will try to take their word for it — although, well, we’ll get into that below.

Secondly, despite whatever else I might think about this selection, the fact is that Goldberg is the new CEO of NAR. Much like President Trump, for whom I did not vote and because of whom I left the Republican Party, I want him to succeed.

I want him to succeed beyond my expectations. I want him to succeed despite my skepticism. I want him to be the most successful CEO in the history of NAR.

Because if he fails, that means the organization fails.

Maybe that will turn out to be for the best in the end, but right now, I think NAR is worth saving (and yes, that means I think NAR needs saving right now) for a bunch of reasons with the most important being that NAR is the only large political organization in the U.S. that gives a crap about property rights.

So I do wish Goldberg the very best, and I sincerely hope that he will prove to be the greatest CEO NAR has had in its 100-plus years.

Having said that …

What his selection says about NAR leadership

(I was originally going to title this section, “What his selection says about Realtors” but realized that, really, we’re talking about 23 people: 15 on the CEO Search Committee and eight on the leadership team with one overlap — Beth Peerce, VP of association affairs, is on both. Seeing as how many of the criticisms are coming from card-carrying Realtors, I think it’s better to limit my thoughts to the leadership of NAR.)

The former NYC Mayor Ed Koch once said upon losing his bid for re-election, “The people have spoken … and they must be punished.” And no less an expert on the subject than President Obama once said, “People have a tendency to blame politicians when things don’t work, but as I always tell people, you get the leaders you deserve.”

My overwhelming feeling about this selection is that NAR leadership looked at the environment of real estate, looked at what was happening to the business of their members, looked at what was going on with important stakeholders such as MLSs, brokerages, franchises and tech companies, looked at the direction of NAR, looked at what was happening and said, “Yep, we’re good — steady as she goes!”

How else to explain the selection of not just an insider, but the ultimate insider? Just about everyone in the industry understood that Goldberg was the No. 2 man at NAR. He was Stinton’s right-hand man — his chief of staff, if you will.

Not six months ago, in January of this year, a broker named Daniel Bates published “An open letter to the new NAR CEO” on Inman and just laid into NAR.

His first request was “Define your goals” because he had no idea what they were.

Stinton himself responded to that letter, and after defending NAR as best as he could, he wrote “we need a new story to tell.”

So the NAR leadership chose the ultimate insider, who has been at Stinton’s right hand for 22 years, to tell that new story? Really? So they believe that the best thing to do is to stay the course? If so, that’s amazing. If not, this pick for CEO is inexplicable.

We have a political environment the likes of which we have never seen, which really could mean the end of the mortgage interest deduction, government sponsorship of mortgages and so on.

The big brokers and franchise companies are obviously unhappy and stressed the hell out.

The emergence of the agent team has wrought massive change and is in the process of eating the brokerage from within.

Technology continues its relentless march with things like Zillow Instant Offers and Opendoor, and that’s just within real estate. Driverless cars and self-learning machines are around the corner, and nobody knows what to do about any of that today.

Many of our major metro markets, where most of the Realtors live and work, are in echo bubble conditions brewing up an affordability crisis that will soon swamp the economy and the industry.

The economic environment is dysfunctional at best, and that’s with central banks around the world pulling out all the stops to prevent a full scale crisis.

Despite all of these things, the leadership of NAR believes that real change is not necessary. I mean, they must, right? Because when you think Bob Goldberg, you think a lot of positive things, like competence, and nice and even hope. But change isn’t one of those words.

Bob Goldberg: Change agent?

It is possible that Goldberg will actually change everything. It is possible that in private interviews behind closed doors, he laid out his vision for transforming NAR to meet present and future challenges.

I’m going to need to be convinced.

The most amusing and amazing thing about the selection and the accompanying announcement is the video statement put out by NAR leadership, represented by President Bill Brown:

What he said is: “Bob articulated to the leadership team the ability to have the vision, to be innovative, and to think into the future with bold, new initiatives to enhance the benefits to our members.”

Leave aside the curious phrasing about having the ability to have vision, to be innovative, etc., rather than having vision, being innovative and so on. Just about anybody has the ability to have vision and be a change agent.

Hell, I have the ability to have a sculpted physique; I haven’t ever done it, but I have the ability to do so. That’s a bit of an embarrassment to the PR team at NAR for such awkwardly bizarre language.

The substantive issue is this: Where has this visionary, innovative and future-thinking leader been for the past 22 years?

Bob Goldberg has been the No. 2 guy at NAR for years. From his official bio:

“Robert Goldberg serves as senior vice president of sales and marketing, business development and strategic investments, professional development and conventions for NAR. In this recently expanded role, Mr. Goldberg oversees several groups that are focused on building the NAR brand and its value to members and the association, and has far-reaching responsibility for revenue through publications ads, products and trade show sales and sponsorships.

“Through his lucrative negotiations with Fortune 500 and other companies, the Realtor Benefits alliance program continues to provide value to members and generates significant non-dues revenues for the association. He also oversees the internet products group, the marketing research group, the product management group and the marketing communications and promotions group.

“Mr. Goldberg leads the conventions group, which develops and manages programing and events for the world’s largest real estate trade show and convention and other major NAR meetings. He has been with the National Association of Realtors since 1995.

“In his role as senior vice president administration for Realtor University, he is responsible for oversight of University graduate school staff and day-to-day operations including the research center, curriculum development and budgets.

“Additionally, Mr. Goldberg is the president and chief executive officer for the Realtors Information Network (RIN), a for profit, wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the nation’s largest professional trade association.

“As CEO, he is responsible for oversight of the realtor.com Operating Agreement with Move, Inc. Previously, Mr. Goldberg was the chief operating officer and senior vice president of marketing for RIN. As a member of the executive management team, he was responsible for business development and strategic partnerships, product marketing, management of all products and services, contract negotiations, strategic planning, competitive positioning, marketing and corporate communications, advertising and promotions, and conventions.”

Basically, he ran pretty much everything that isn’t lobbying.

Where was this vision, this innovation, this future-based thinking, this forcing change during all of those years? Negotiating discounts for Realtors at Hertz is none of those things.

I’ve been to most of the NAR conventions, and none of those are exactly futuristic events filled with a vision for how conventions could and should be done. Do we even touch Realtor University? The Realtor Credit Union?

We’re going to have to talk about the track record

In the press release, we find this passage:

“Bob’s vision, business acumen and unique ability to successfully leverage NAR’s technology investments will ensure Realtors remain at the center of the real estate transaction,” said 2017 NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor from Alamo, California.

“With extensive knowledge of the association and real estate industry, Bob brings with him a strong track record for future-based thinking and enacting change, which is why the NAR leadership team is extremely confident in his ability to lead the association and membership to continued future success.”

So this strong track record for future-based thinking and enacting change — what are we pointing to as examples?

Can’t be realtor.com

Under Goldberg’s watch as president and CEO of RIN, realtor.com plummeted from being the No. 1 real estate portal by a wide margin to a distant third, behind Zillow and Trulia struggling to compete. Move was then sold off to News Corp. for about what Zillow makes in annual revenues today. That is double-plus ungood on any level.

Now, to be fair Goldberg didn’t run realtor.com; he only oversaw the relationship between Move and NAR based on the operating agreement between the two.

Which makes this story from 2013 relevant for us:

“At NAR’s midyear conference in May, the 785-member board authorized a special, closed meeting in Chicago to contemplate whether to update the agreement between NAR and realtor.com operator Move Inc. to give realtor.com more freedom to compete with rivals such as Zillow and Trulia.

The board said NAR’s leadership team would work with Move and its subsidiary RealSelect to develop recommendations ‘to enrich and broaden the user experience’ on realtor.com and present them to the board at the closed meeting Wednesday.”

Of course, loosening the restrictions on realtor.com in 2013 after it had already fallen to third place proved to be too late.

A reasonable question one could ask might be, what was Goldberg doing between say 2008 and 2010 when it was obvious to all of us in the industry that Zillow was making huge gains on realtor.com?

A huge part of the reason was that Move (which owns realtor.com) was fighting with at least one hand tied behind its back by the restrictions of the operating agreement.

Why didn’t Goldberg remove the shackles from realtor.com so it could compete with the upstarts before those upstarts grew up and became real problems? It isn’t as if the management at realtor.com — particularly Errol Samuelson, then president of realtor.com — wasn’t constantly asking him to do just that.

Maybe Goldberg did go to bat for freeing up realtor.com but was overruled. We just didn’t hear about it. Either way, that part of the track record isn’t exactly a confidence-inspiring career highlight.

Brand marketing?

(Note: Please see Heather Elias’s comment below. It appears that Goldberg had no role in the debacle that was the “Great time to buy or sell” campaign:

“To clarify one of your assumptions made within the post: regarding the entire section questioning Bob’s judgement for the ‘great time to buy or sell’ and Phil Dunphy pieces, the communications division of NAR is responsible for advertising campaigns, not the marketing side. This includes all consumer messaging and member messaging. Bob’s side of the shop had nothing to do with those. Might want to note that somewhere in there.”

Because I don’t work for or with NAR, I had assumed that marketing controls well, marketing. Apparently not at NAR. Well, it gives me a great deal more comfort and hope to know Goldberg is innocent of this particular sin.)

His bio says Goldberg was overseeing several groups that were focused on building the NAR brand. Presumably, that means the Realtor brand because the two are ostensibly the same thing.

If that’s the case, we might ask whether the Realtor brand has been strengthened or weakened over his tenure. And we know that NAR spent something north of $38 million in 2015 in advertising and promotions. Doing some rough math, we’re looking at maybe half a billion dollars or more spent on promoting and advertising the Realtor brand over the past two decades.

That brand marketing include this gem from 2006, over a decade from Bob Goldberg starting at NAR:

Without hearing otherwise, we have to assume Goldberg oversaw that “Great time to buy or sell” marketing campaign. What about commercials like this one?

Was NAR really running TV commercials telling people that it was a good time to buy in 2007? Yes, yes it was. #SMH

A quick reminder of what happened from 2007 to 2011:

So NAR was telling the American consumer to buy homes in 2006 and 2007.

If you can think of a faster way to tarnish the Realtor brand, a more effective way to undermine consumer confidence and trust in Realtors, what would that be?

That entire campaign may have been the most effective anti-Realtor campaign in the history of advertising.

Reasonable people can differ on something like value of a brand, but from where I sit … in 1995, the Realtor brand was merely meaningless. People just didn’t think about it very much, kinda like Kleenex or Xerox. In 2017, the Realtor brand is a punchline.

Maybe you also think Phil Dunphy is a great role model for the public perception of Realtors.

Maybe Goldberg wasn’t involved with any of those. Maybe he wasn’t a senior executive in charge of consumer advertising in 2006, though I believe he was. Or maybe he argued vociferously, with vision, innovation and future-based thinking, against such idiotic branding and marketing campaigns but got overruled by Dale Stinton? The various presidents over the years?

I only hope that the search committee and the NAR leadership team asked him those questions and got satisfactory answers.

Either way, I’m going to need to be convinced on this stellar track record that inspires such extreme confidence that Bob Goldberg is the man to lead the Association and its members into future success.

What does NAR leadership think NAR’s mission is?

Now, look, it isn’t as if Goldberg got to where he is because of those obvious failures. Great leaders misstep and make mistakes. He has a long track record of success on a number of fronts and initiatives. I have no doubt that he’s a capable executive who gets things done.

The real issue isn’t with Goldberg but with the NAR leadership and what it was thinking. Let me explain.

Goldberg’s portfolio covered pretty much everything outside of lobbying. In particular, his area covered non-dues revenues programs. From his bio above:

“Mr. Goldberg oversees several groups that are focused on building the NAR brand and its value to members and the association and has far-reaching responsibility for revenue through publications ads, products and trade show sales and sponsorships.

“Through his lucrative negotiations with Fortune 500 and other companies, the Realtor Benefits alliance program continues to provide value to members and generates significant non-dues revenues for the association.”

The relationship with realtor.com generates non-dues revenues for NAR. Conventions generate non-dues revenues for NAR. The word around the industry campfire is that Goldberg brings in tens of millions of dollars in non-dues revenues to NAR every year. He’s a good, maybe great, businessman.

But what that means is that Goldberg’s entire track record is precisely those things that the rank and file members of NAR do not care about.

Ask anyone who is committed to the Realtor organization what the value of the Association is. The answers you get are usually these three things:

  • Political advocacy
  • Code of Ethics/professionalism
  • Education

Not a single Realtor I have met or asked has ever said discounts on cell phone plans. Not one.

Now, if you do a search on YouTube for Bob Goldberg NAR, you find some videos of him speaking and being interviewed. After all, he’s been a senior executive for more than two decades. But what you find is things like this:

Are these programs impressive at a certain level? Of course they are; $500 off and two year’s of free oil changes if you buy a Chrysler are useful — if you’re buying a Chrysler. But $57 million in savings for 700,000 members amounts to $81 per person.

The storyline pushing that this represents a competitive edge for NAR members is risible. Competitive edge against whom? The millions of non-Realtor licensees competing for brokerage business?

In most markets 100 percent of the people in real estate brokerage are Realtor members themselves. How in the world does saving money on Chrysler help you gain an edge against another Realtor?

Now, Goldberg can only accomplish what’s put in front of him. If his job was to go out and do the Member Benefits Program, then he has done that and done that well. So again, this isn’t about Bob Goldberg. It’s about the Leadership Team.

Because in the video announcement above, Bill Brown says they chose him because Goldberg articulated bold new initiatives to enhance benefits for members. In the press release, they talk about Goldberg’s “unique ability to successfully leverage NAR’s technology investments.”

What in the world do they think NAR’s mission is? Member benefits? Technology investments?

Why do they think members join NAR in the first place?

When we talk about Goldberg’s vision for NAR, we’re really talking about the vision of the NAR leadership team that chose him. What is that vision? NAR as a giant benefits program for people interested in buying Chrysler cars?

Finally, the process

In the above video, Brown says that the search committee started this process seven months ago. OK, fine. I mean, just about everybody knew Stinton wasn’t going to renew his contract long before that. The subject was a common conversation topic as early as 2015, after all. But let’s go with the seven-month timeframe.

We know that the job description wasn’t published until March. So in just under four months, the committee looked at some 80 candidates, interviewed a bunch of them, narrowed them down to four finalists, and then the leadership team interviewed them and selected Goldberg by acclamation?

From the very start, there have been a lot of us who worried that this entire process was an expensive, time-consuming charade. Many of us thought that the fix was in and Goldberg was “the chosen one,” but for some reason, Stinton and the leadership team needed to make it appear as if there had been some full exhaustive search process.

And lookee here — what a shock! After a seven-month highly secretive and exhaustive process involving a top-tier executive search firm, the new CEO is … Bob Goldberg by acclamation! So the leadership team was unanimous in its choice. It wasn’t close, apparently.

Well, I’m going to need some convincing this was all on the level.

It has been widely rumored that the “final four” included Alex Perriello, former CEO of Realogy Franchise Group. I for one would love to know in what way Perriello was found wanting in terms of “extensive knowledge of the association and real estate industry,” “a strong track record for future-based thinking and enacting change” or managing a large staff with a big budget.

The man helped guide Realogy through some of the roughest times in the company’s history when the bubble burst. He was instrumental in growing the largest real estate company in the world, and instrumental in bringing it back from the brink of bankruptcy.

I don’t know Goldberg; but I do know Perriello. I worked for the man as a junior executive at Realogy. He’s a natural born leader in every respect. And with his lifetime in the industry, starting as a Realtor on the street, then as a manager of a local brokerage, then into the franchise world, all the while being heavily involved with NAR, there is no one who embodies the real estate industry more than Perriello does.

It’s no secret that I wanted a female CEO for NAR. But if that wasn’t going to happen, Perriello would have been an inspired choice.

He would have been a CEO who has walked in his members’ shoes. A CEO who knew what it’s like to wake up with no promised paycheck. A CEO who knew what it’s like to operate a brokerage as the world changed around you. A CEO who was leading brokers large and small through the information technology revolution.

At a critical juncture in NAR’s history, when it absolutely needs a leader who could bring all of the disparate factions including brokers, agents, local associations, the MLS, vendors, portals — and those who hate them altogether, Perriello would have been a marvelous choice.

Like I said, everyone I know who knows Goldberg says he’s a capable leader. But most of them would agree, I think, that it is no knock on Goldberg to say that he does not embody real estate like Alex Perriello does.

Did the leadership team offer Perriello the job, and Perriello turned it down? OK, that’s one thing.

Because I do know David Charron, former CEO of MRIS, refused to even consider the job, and he’s another leader with extensive knowledge, strong track record and personal integrity. But Perriello wasn’t their first choice, and the leadership team chose Goldberg over him by acclamation? Not even a close vote, but by unanimous consent?

How convenient.

Because if Stinton wanted Goldberg to get the job, as has been widely rumored for over two years now, and the leadership team wanted him to be the next CEO, then they should have just named him the successor two years ago and saved everybody a lot of time and money.

Heidrick Struggles, the corporate headhunter NAR hired for this, isn’t cheap. The time and energy of 15 volunteer leaders who spent months on this don’t come for free. The 80 people who applied for the position could have used their time and energy doing something more productive than being players in an elaborate puppet show.

So please tell me, tell the rest of us, that this wasn’t just an elaborate internal politics dinner theater designed to convince people that y’all had not made up your minds years ago. But you’re going to have to do more than tell us; you’re going to have to convince us.

How to convince me

At this point, no amount of talking is going to convince me or anybody else who has these questions. Actions — and nothing other than actions — can convince me that this entire process was on the up-and-up and that Goldberg is indeed the exact change agent with deep experience, institutional knowledge and the vision that NAR needs right now.

Three suggestions for actions that would convince the hopeful skeptics like me.

1. Personnel is policy

Most of that will come as issues arise and as events unfold. But there is one thing that he can do in August to make me believe as I so desperately want to: Clean house among the staff at NAR.

Because personnel is policy.

If Goldberg as CEO has a vision of the future that is based on innovation and future-based thinking, and he has been chomping at the bit to enact changes that he could not as a mere senior VP of everything, then he needs to replace the bureaucracy that is NAR staff.

He doesn’t have to fire everybody and bring in fresh blood. But senior management, department heads and maybe a couple of levels under them need to be looked at very carefully, and in all honesty, most of them are going to have to be replaced.

Not because they’re bad people or incompetent, but because they’re so used to the way things were under Stinton. You want new thinking and new actions? Get new people because personnel is policy.

And based on who the new people are, what their track records are and what they’re all about, we’ll know whether there will be some change to go along with the hope of the Goldberg reign.

Otherwise, nothing will change. I mean literally, nothing will change except the name on the door.

This is nothing new or unusual. When a new CEO comes into an organization, he or she will typically do a bunch of reshuffling, house cleaning and changing personnel to drive his or her strategy and vision.

Don’t do that, and we’re more or less saying that the status quo is just fine, it works and don’t fix what ain’t broken. That appears to be the message being sent by the NAR leadership with this pick.

We’ll find out soon enough whether the new CEO of NAR is saying the same thing.

2. Professionalism

As Stinton said, NAR needs to tell a new story. The A1 problem of the DANGER Report was widespread incompetence among Realtor ranks.

I can understand that Goldberg’s portfolio did not include really doing something about that problem. Well, as CEO, it does now.

If I see huge shifts in NAR’s budget and policy toward reinforcing professionalism, enforcing the Code of Ethics and raising the bar for Realtor membership, I will be convinced.

Example? Sure thing. Free consulting to the incoming CEO — more of which will appear over the next several years here, I’m sure.

Currently, the NAR Handbook prohibits Association staff from being involved in ethics complaints. That’s silly. Change that policy so that local and state associations can have staff ethics compliance people in much the same way that the MLS has compliance departments who investigate complaints and bring enforcement actions when necessary.

If your core mission includes professionalism and your whole identity is the Code of Ethics, then you need to be involved in that.

The single greatest member benefit that NAR could provide is to kick out those who should not be part of the organization.

Let me see Goldberg do that, and I’ll be his biggest fan and acknowledge that he is indeed a visionary change agent.

3. Cut, cut, cut

One of the cornerstones of corporate strategy — which is what I do for a living — is to figure out what you’re good at doing and then stop doing everything else. Great CEOs routinely sell off profitable, money-making divisions of their company that aren’t the core of the company’s vision or mission.

The former CEO of Procter Gamble, A.G. Lafley makes clear that the CEO must make hard choices:

“There’s a mindset among CEOs and other leaders that they don’t want to get pinned down or painted into a corner. They want to keep all their options open. Why do they want that? Because they don’t want to take on the risk of making a bad choice or a wrong choice.

“But the fact is, strategy is all about making choices — choosing where you’re going to play and how you’re going to win, along with what winning means.”

The hardest and most important choice to make is to answer the classic Peter Drucker question: What business are we in?

In my humble opinion, the biggest problem of NAR as an organization is that it has lost sight of what business it is in. It’s in so many businesses including magazine publishing, events, providing lockboxes, zipForms and DocuSign and MLS software (with RPR/AMP).

And the leadership team exacerbates the problem by talking about “leveraging NAR’s technology investments.”

NAR is not now, has never been and never will be a technology company. It is not now, has never been and never will be a venture capitalist with a portfolio of technology investments. In those industries, NAR has no competitive advantage and enormous competitive disadvantages. So get out of those and focus on your core competencies.

Spin off RPR. Sell Second Century Ventures to an actual VC firm. Sell off the publishing “business” — it’s not the business you’re in as NAR. Realtor University? Credit union? Cut, cut, cut. Divest. Partner. Above all, focus on who you are and what business you’re in.

If Goldberg can lead NAR to focus on that core mission, which incidentally involves spinning off and eliminating virtually everything he has worked on at NAR to date, then I’ll be convinced and become his biggest cheerleader.

Hope and maybe change?

This is getting way too long, even by my standards. And I feel certain that we’ll be talking more about Goldberg as the CEO of NAR in the months and years ahead.

What can we say in conclusion?

We can say that given everything going on, Goldberg is without a doubt the candidate for hope rather than the candidate of change. He may end up surprising all of us with how much he can and will change NAR the organization and the real estate industry as a whole.

But based on his track record and his long tenure, he represents maintenance of the status quo and the hope that it will continue to work.

We can say that in the minds of the NAR leadership, Goldberg must have been the best person out of the 80 or so highly accomplished men and women who applied for the job. Assuming that the process wasn’t an elaborate puppet show, I suppose we have to take them at their word.

But y’all better recognize that there are a lot of your members out here who think that the fix was in from the start. There’s a strong whiff of Frank Underwood over the whole process. Your choice whether you want to convince us otherwise or not.

We can say that the leadership team at NAR has some explaining to do about this choice. Not because of Goldberg, but because what the choice says about their vision of NAR, their perspective on what is going on and what is coming down the road.

President Brown needs to do more than just a short video announcing the decision. He and Elizabeth Mendenhall, the 2018 president, and John Smaby, the 2019 president, as well as everybody involved in NAR in a leadership position, now need to tell us a lot more about how they view the future of NAR.

We can say that the Goldberg is facing challenges that his 11 predecessors have never faced. If things have been worse for organized real estate in past decades, I’m not aware of it.

At least in the dozen years or so that I have been in the industry, this is as bad as it has ever been. He may be the exact person we all need at this moment in time who will restore trust and faith in the Realtor brand and the Realtor movement. Time will tell.

And I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can say that I need to be convinced on a few things.

But I haven’t made up my mind yet. Goldberg deserves a chance to prove himself to all of us, myself included.

So in closing, let me reiterate my hope in and support for Bob Goldberg, the new CEO of NAR. He would not have been my first choice, or even my second. But it wasn’t my decision, it was NAR’s decision to make. And now, with the decision having been made, I sincerely hope that he succeeds. Because his success will mean the success of NAR and the Realtor movement.

If he fails, NAR fails. And right now, I believe NAR needs to be saved. The Realtor movement needs to be saved.

Best of luck to you, Mr. CEO! Do the right thing. We’re counting on you.

Robert Hahn is the Managing Partner of 7DS Associates, a marketing, technology and strategy consultancy focusing on the real estate industry. Check out his personal blog, The Notorious R.O.B. or find him on Twitter: @robhahn.

Email Robert Hahn

ACHIEVEMENT: Council Bluffs Realtor Recognized Nationally for Protecting, Investing in Real Estate Industry

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Personnel news

Downing-Frye Realty Inc.

These sales associates have joined the firm:

Susan Spedling has joined the Naples office. Originally from California, Spedling moved to Florida in 2004. She has experience as an executive assistance in the construction industry. Spedling has earned the CSA designation and is a member of the Naples Area Board of Realtors (NABOR), Florida Realtors (FR) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Karena DeWitt has joined the Marco Island office. Originally from Nashville, DeWitt moved to Florida in 2013. She is a graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va. DeWitt has 15 years of real estate experience in Tennessee and specializes in luxury homes sales, new construction and equestrian properties. She has earned the CRS, ABR, CNE and e-Pro designations. DeWitt is a member of NABOR, the Marco Island Area Association of Realtors (MIAAOR), FR and NAR.

Rob Smith has joined the Naples office. Originally from Danville, Kentucky, he studied at Centre College in Danville, Ky. Smith moved to Florida in 2005. Before real estate, he ran a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio until 2005 when he joined the Marriott Marco Island Beach Hotel where he continues to serve. Smith is a member of NABOR, FR and NAR.

The following new agents have also joined the firm: In the Naples office: Frederic J. Kaouk, Jack Reinelt, Aida Julia Solano and Tatyana Seamans. In the Bonita Springs office: Gale Griswold.

Downing-Frye Realty Inc. announced its sales and listing leaders for May. In the Naples office: Mary Catharine White was the sales leader and Michael Dorobanti was the listing leader. In the Bonita Springs office: The Brown Realty Group was the sales leader and Phillip Pugh was the listing leader. 

John R. Wood Properties

The firm has added the following Realtors: Old Naples office: Blaine EastNorth Naples office: Michael FlaniganLisa Trubiano and Lorri BrunoBonita Springs office: Peter Simmons, Kim Venezia and Jane Newby Gruenhagen.

CRE Consultants 

Kelly Cerino has been named the real estate manager and will be based in the Naples office, where she will handle a portfolio of 11 properties. Cerino has 13 years of experience in commercial and residential lease negotiations, accounts payable/accounts receivable and bookkeeping. She is a Florida licensed CAM and holds a Florida real estate license. Cerino has been a Naples resident for more than 25 years.

Daryl Silvers Naples

Patricia G. Joyce has joined the firm. Before moving to Naples, Joyce lived and worked for 23 years in Beverly Hills, California, involved with an A-rated commercial/residential real estate and investment firm. She holds a B.A. from Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland and is also a graduate of the UCLA Writers Program in Los Angeles. She will  enable buyers and sellers with the right tools, guidance and support.

Stevens Construction Inc.

Chris Walczak has joined the company’s Fort Myers team. He has 12 years of commercial construction and architectural experience and previously served as a project manager for a national construction manager. A LEED BD+C Accredited Professional and licensed Real Estate Sales Associate, Walczak served as an adjunct professor at Florida SouthWestern State College teaching courses in construction management, estimating and scheduling for three years. As project manager, Walczak will have overall responsibility for the management and execution of commercial projects during all phases of design and construction, ensuring projects maintain budget and schedule.