A Message from the President with Mike Theo: Proportionality

 Mike Theo  |    May 02, 2013

A wise mentor of mine back in my state capitol staffing days pointed out that we all have two ears and one mouth and we ought to use them proportionately. That’s sage advice. 

Over the past several months, we have been doing a lot of listening as part of a robust strategic planning process. This listening included five professionally facilitated member focus groups ‚ÄĒ including one with our entire board of directors, followed by an all-member electronic survey.¬†

For those of you who participated in the focus groups and the thousands who responded to the survey ‚ÄĒ thanks!¬†

The survey results aligned with what we heard in the focus groups, with both yielding fascinating insights into our marketplace, our membership and our association. Here are a few snippets of what you had to say.

Eight out of 10 of you said your local real estate markets are stronger than a year ago, but that fundamental changes in the marketplace are making your jobs more complex and frustrating. These changes include the use and application of technology, the financing process, and accurate pricing and valuation of property. When asked if the changes are temporary or permanent, 73 percent of you said the changes were permanent, forever changing the way you do business.

You said the biggest business challenges over the next year will involve consumer difficulties getting financing, shrinking inventories, difficulties with appraisals, and inaccurate information on the Internet. You said the greatest business opportunities were more consumers in the market for buying a home, better balance between seller prices and buyer expectations, and low interest rates and affordable prices.

You were also overwhelmingly satisfied with the WRA, with 83 percent of you saying the WRA helps the real estate industry in Wisconsin and 78 percent saying the WRA helps you in your personal real estate business. Seventy six percent of you said you were either very or somewhat satisfied with the WRA. Only 7 percent said you were either somewhat or very dissatisfied.

So what’s the bottom line? Based on your input, here are the major themes we heard you wanted:

Work to create more jobs and a growing economy. 

A healthy and dynamic economy will do more to help the real estate business than anything. The WRA should, to the greatest extent possible, work for economic and job growth.

Protect and empower the consumer. 

The WRA should work to protect consumers from excessive tax or regulatory policies that overly constrict access to financing by creditworthy buyers and/or hurt housing and real estate affordability.

Promote the REALTOR¬ģ brand.

  • The WRA should work to establish REALTORS¬ģ as the ‚Äúgo to‚ÄĚ source for accurate, timely and relevant information for buyers and sellers.
  • Moreover, we should help the media and general public better understand and appreciate the important roles REALTORS¬ģ play in the transaction and in the community.
  • And we should make sure REALTORS¬ģ are well trained and provide quality professional services to the public.¬†

So we have asked for your input and you have given it. Our challenge now is to take what we heard and create an organization that meets your needs, the needs of your customers and clients, and importantly, meets the needs of our local communities and neighbors. And as we move from strategic goals to tactical programming, our listening is not over. Your comments are always welcome. Proportionality between listening and talking demands nothing less.

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