An Overview of Who We Are & What We Are About
The Board of REALTORS is a professional affiliation of licensed real estate agents and appraisers, who indicate dedication to their work and the industry by ascribing to and working in accord with a structure of Professional Standards, governed by a strict REALTOR Code of Ethics, for conducting business with fellow REALTORS, customers and clients, and the general public. Membership is by choice, with local affiliation establishing membership at the state and national levels. NC Licensing law requires that broker licensees (who have not established themselves as Broker-in-Charge or sole-proprietor), who wish to be active in real estate, be supervised by an overseeing broker, who assumes ultimate responsibility for the agent's conduct and fiscal obligations, in accordance with state real estate laws. Likewise, the REALTOR associations require that all brokers, affiliated with a member broker (firm principal), accept the same standards of practice by joining the local Board, performing required membership responsibilities, and paying necessary dues. The principal broker, who has elected to associate the firm with the REALTORS association(s), should bear the responsibility of communicating this aspect of the profession to all who work in the firm.
The use of the term, REALTOR, is limited to real estate professionals, who are members of a local and/or state and nationally compliant association. Unfortunately, the general public thinks the term is synonymous for any licensed real estate agent, which reflects negatively on all REALTORS in instances where non-member agents do not ascribe to the same high professional standards.
In addition to the use of the time-honored designation, REALTORS receive a number of benefits through the associations. Members are provided valuable information and opportunities for education, from the local, state, and/or national associations, which can assist in day-to-day endeavors and pave the way for greater success in your chosen field. Your local Association has publications and training videos available to you as well as on-going real estate and Multiple Listing Service training courses. The Haywood Co. Board of REALTORS offers NC Real Estate Commission mandated continuining education classes and various REALTOR designation courses.
As to the cost for membership, it is very reasonable, about $37.00 a month for all three associations, billed and collected at the beginning of each year, with funds disbursed as local-32%, state-37%, and national-31%. NAR assesses an additional $35.00 fee for its REALTOR Party Initiative which promotes the benefits of working with a REALTOR as well as protecting homeownership rights. Comparatively, this investment in your profession is nominal, especially considering the extensive, strong support base and the networking opportunities provided by the affiliation.
An integral part of our Board is the Haywood County Multiple Listing Service, which is a separate organization with its own Directors and Officers. Just as membership in the Board is elective, a principal broker (or firm) chooses to participate in the MLS. Though it is possible to be a REALTOR without being a participant in the MLS, it is not possible to participate in the MLS without being a REALTOR. The actual members of the MLS, referred to as Participants, are the Brokers in Charge, who attend MLS meetings and have voting privileges. As with REALTOR Association membership, if a Broker elects to participate in the MLS, it is with the understanding that every licensed agent, under his/her supervision must pay quarterly agent dues. Other Boards have different policies, which may allow MLS waivers; however, Haywood County's Bylaws are in accordance with NAR's model policies. (Note: MLS membership may be granted through "Board of Choice", which means an actively licensed broker may join the Haywood County MLS, using his REALTOR status from a different Board.)
The Haywood County MLS in conjunction with the Asheville and Hendersonville Board of REALTORS own and manage the North Carolina Mountains Regional Multiple Listing Service. Again, the fees are very reasonable, when placed in perspective of benefit derived. For a little more than $2.00 a day, each participating agent has available over 17,000 properties to present to prospective buyers. From the listing viewpoint, each can claim direct marketing to over 2700 licensed agents, can afford extended national marketing through optional inclusion of property in an Internet Data Exchange with other local MLS member firms, and international marketing potential as a result of MLS listings placed on realtor.com. and other nationally recognized websites. Throw in the convenience of the Sentrilock lockbox system, which can save a lot of time and gas money (not having to drive to another firm to pick up a key), and you've got a true bargain.
In addition to our real estate agent and appraiser membership, we have the added pleasure of our Allied membership. These are local community members or businesses, whose work or services relate to yours. Never forget that these fine folks are as important to us as we are to them. The rest of the Board/MLS family is comprised of unofficial members, various office and staff personnel, who assist all of us in day-to-day activities.
Whether you're an independent broker working on your own, part of a small team in a growing office, or one of many in a productive, larger firm, your decision to join your local Board and/or the MLS and to work cooperatively with other members makes you an important part of a bigger picture. We are connected to one another through our local association; this locale is joined with others in the state through NCAR; North Carolina unites with all the other states with NAR; and we all reach out to the world through the Internet. What a force! What a future! REALTORS are professional members of the real estate community and are committed to the dream of individual home-ownership.
Organized in 1966 by Marion O'Neil, who became a Member at Large of the North Carolina Association of REALTORS, the Haywood County Board of REALTORS had 17 founding members: Marion O'Neil, Nancy Nance, Elise League, W.S.Cunningham, Daisy Hurley, Nelly Leslie, Fred Sivia, William Okom, David Felmet, Russell Hargreves, L.N.Davis, Sam McCrary, Lonnie Lyda, Paul Davis, John Smith, Wayne Rogers, and David Satterfield. The organization was incorporated December 21st, 1970.
The Board of REALTORS sister organization, the Haywood County Multiple Listing Service, was incorporated in December 1971. This cooperative of listing exchange between real estate firms initially relied on typed pages of new information gathered from the members, with the first printed MLS books published in the late 70s. In 1988, the BOR and MLS purchased its first computer, which was housed in the MLS Chairperson's (Barbara Stetzel of Lots & Acreage) office and was the first step towards today's up-to-the-minute online MLS system. The Haywood Co. MLS in partnership with the Asheville, Hendersonville and Brevard Board of REALTORS have formed the North Carolina Mountains Regional MLS. This gives our members access to almost 17,000 residential, commercial and land listings throughout Western N. C.
The first office of the Board and MLS, which was rented in December of 1991, was a small room on the first floor of the Bottoms building on Church Street. It was at the time that the organizations hired a general secretary to coordinate daily operations and manage the MLS computer program. In December of 1995, Bob Hill was hired to fill the part-time office manager position, and in late 1997 he was appointed as the organization's first Executive Officer. Lisa Brown is now the Association Executive and has been with the board since 2001.
During the 1990's, both organizations experienced tremendous growth in membership. At the beginning of 1992, there were 25 offices, with 115 agents, in the MLS. Today the Board's REALTOR membership is over 290, plus an additional 100 Allied members from related businesses, with close to 100 firms participating in the MLS.
Outgrowing the small rented quarters, the organizations came "home" with the purchase, in June of 1999, of the Lots and Acreage Headquarters building at 695 N. Main Street
The Haywood County Board of REALTORS is VERY active in the community and our members volunteer their time for a number of charities. Our members become involved with the Haywood Habitat for Humanity builds, the American Cancer Society's "Relay For Life", the United Way's "Day Of Caring", and the Salvation Army's Christmas Bell Ringing. The board also sponsors an annual food and coat drive as well as making contributions to Haywood Christian Ministry's "Heating Fuel Fund". In 2007 our association was presented with the North Carolina Award For Outstanding Volunteer Service. In 2008 the REALTOR members raised over $30,000 for KARE and the board annualy provides scholarships for two high school seniors and a student at Haywood Community College.