A Message from WRA President Mike Theo: Positives on the Horizon

 Mike Theo  |    March 07, 2013

2013 is off to a quick start. Our markets continue to show signs of strength in January ‚ÄĒ with sales up 18 percent and prices up 3.4 percent over last year. That makes 19 straight months of double-digit sales increases over the previous year. A nice trend indeed.

The WRA is also experiencing a fast beginning to the New Year. In January, we completed an important board of directors meeting and began an even more important strategic planning process.
The fundamentals of our marketplace are strong: historically low interest rates, shrinking inventories, increasing sales in all regions of the state, falling foreclosures, stable or increasing prices, growing new construction, the return of multiple offers, lower unemployment than the national average and higher housing affordability. 

The fundamentals of our association are similarly strong. In January, the board of directors was briefed by our auditors that the WRA is financially solid. The first quarter of the current fiscal year shows we exceeded budget projections for dues, CE income and membership renewals. Our 2013-14 continuing education courses were approved, and live class offerings began in February. Planning for the 2013 WRA convention at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells on September 15-16 is in full swing, with the energy already building around the rocking theme of ‚ÄúTaking it to the Streets.‚Ä̬†

The directors saw how our members were using our website, reading our publications and engaging our association and fellow REALTORS¬ģ through WRA social media.

The directors approved an aggressive legislative agenda that included a full plate of issues covering land use, license law, economic development, tax reform and the protection of private property rights. They reviewed license law developments at the Department of Safety and Professional Services and the Real Estate Examining Board. They also set an ambitious fundraising goal for the REALTORS¬ģ Political Action Committee (RPAC). And very significantly, after a detailed briefing and discussion, the directors voted unanimously to endorse the re-election of Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Pat Roggensack in the spring 2013 election.

Looking at the January board of directors meeting, it’s clear from the breadth and success of the many programs, projects, issues and activities, that the WRA is doing things right. But looking ahead, the more critical question is: are we doing the right things?

To explore this more complex question, the WRA recently began a robust strategic planning process that involves qualitative and quantitative research of today’s, as well as tomorrow’s, marketplace, then asks how the WRA can help members make the American Dream of homeownership a reality for qualified individuals and families. The qualitative research has involved five focus groups of members across the state, including one with our board of directors. What we’re hearing is fascinating. Market information is ubiquitous and available to anyone with access to the Internet, yet the increasingly sophisticated consumer continues to seek the advice of a professional who knows local markets and how to navigate the complexity of a real estate transaction. Members want their association to help protect that marketplace by ensuring quality market statistics, enhanced professionalism, promoting favorable laws and regulations, delivering superior educational opportunities, and providing state-of-the-art communications. 

Our strategic planning research will next include quantitative research in the form an electronic survey to all members in mid to late March. This phase of our planning process will synthesize what we‚Äôve heard in the focus groups and ask you ‚ÄĒ each and every one of you ‚ÄĒ what you think. The results will be used to create a final vision and plan for the board of directors to review and approve at their May meeting. The plan will then help guide our structure, focus, budgets and programs for years to come.

Hopefully, our improving marketplace will continue and everyone will be busy as we head into the prime selling season. But when you receive the strategic planning e-mail survey, please take a few precious minutes to respond. Your participation will allow us to create an even more effective association moving forward. For now, we will continue doing things right. And with your input, we will ensure in the future we’re doing the right things.

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