I just returned from the NAR Convention and Meetings in Orlando Florida. One of the meetings I attended was the Appraisal Committee. There, I learned to my disappointment that the talks which had gone on for two years between the Institute and NAR had broken down. Although we were given scant information, with NAR citing confidentiality agreements that they had entered into with the Institute, Joe Traynor, who was on the task force, bluntly said: “Let me assure you, it was not NAR’s fault”. We heard from Laurie Janik, who was able to tell us that after much effort, and with NAR thinking that an agreement was extremely close, the Institute came back with over twenty demands, some of which would have called for changes to NAR’s Constitution and/or bylaws. The sense we got at the meeting is that staff and past leadership at the Appraisal Institute did not want the merger to happen.
The history of this relationship, for those who are newer to the business is that at one time we were one big happy family. Then, the Institute left NAR. In a nutshell, the Institute is known for education and educational products (and high dues, in my opinion, but that’s another matter); NAR is known for political clout. NAR wanted to add good educational opportunities for its appraiser members. Appraisers, for the 25+ years I have been one, and have been teaching them, desire political clout.
What is inexcusable to me, as a member of both the Appraisal Institute and NAR, is that I got, as a member of the Institute, no information about this merger. I was never asked my opinion, nor was I asked if the merger was important to me. The other appraisers present at the committee meeting, who like me, have membership in both groups, confirmed this; they were never consulted either. We did get some information from NAR, albeit not as much as some of us would have liked. This begs the question: “Does an organization exist to serve its members, or do the members exist to serve the organization?” Shame on the Appraisal Institute for not finding out what members think about this, and if the scuttlebutt is correct, shame on them for continuing for two years, only to throw unreasonable, ‘deal-breaker’ items on the table at the very last minute. That’s not negotiating in good faith. The Appraisal Institute has had a very good corner on education, but they don’t have the entire corner. NAR has a great track record of finding and hiring good educators to develop courses, and great instructors to present them. As an appraiser, REALTOR®, and educator, I hope this happens. Competition is good; and if you can’t get them to join, well, maybe you have to beat them.
Any organization is only good when it serves all the needs of their members, and when those in charge realize the members are their clients. Appraisers need a lot of things from an organization: they need education, they need networking, they need political clout. NAR can, and should provide all three. Two years were spent chasing a dream; it is time for NAR to just respond to their members and give them what they want.