Realtors lead the way

Thank you for that great welcome.

Are you guys having a great time?

The food was amazing. We almost decided to switch to salmon last night, but apparently because of TRID there was a 3-day waiting period.

It is a tremendous honor to be up here this evening, and I want to thank each one of you for this opportunity.

Wow.  This is our biggest crowd in years.

 How many of you think that is no coincidence that once the housing market rebounded the economy started to come back?

Being Realtor isn’t a job. It is a calling

I want to talk to you about that, but I first I want to introduce you to a few people.

You guys are small business owners. You know the time constraints that places on a family. It’s important  to have a rock for a spouse and my wife is truly that. Heather; thank you for all you do.

If you ever have a question about my ability to close a deal a deal against insurmountable odds I would invite you to take another look at Heather.

We have an almost 5-year-old son, named Cash. Some of you may have met him earlier. He is our only child and we are still looking for his owner’s manual. Parenting is tough. I remember when Heather was pregnant people told us how great would be at being parents and how it was easier than raising a puppy.

Folks,  those people are LIARS! 

I have never met a puppy that could say “DADDY!” 4,567 times in one day.

How many of you – let's see a show of hands - being a Realtor was your first job? How many of you being a Realtor is your last job?

That is so awesome to see those hands. It's proof being Realtor isn’t a job. It is a calling.

I was joking earlier about TRID.  Because changes like TRID are always happening in our world. Change is scary but it is constant in our industry.

In fact, the real estate business been constantly evolving since our country was founded. But, what hasn’t changed is the importance of Realtors to our economy.

When our forefathers crossed the Atlantic to come to the new world; they had hopes of creating a better life in a new country where the citizens had independence and freedom. Where they had:

  • The right to farm
  • The right to build
  • The right to own

Just a little over 20 years after the founding of our country, America was in the process of expansion.

And at the heart of that expansion was a real estate transaction.

President Thomas Jefferson knew growing our borders past the Mississippi and opening up trade to the west was essential to our survival and He aggressively pushed for the Louisiana Purchase.

And even though he didn’t use a Realtor, he got a great deal.

Parts of 21 states for $15 million dollars.  He paid less than 3 cents an acre.

When I read that amazing story of the Louisiana Purchase and the leadership Thomas Jefferson showed the only thing I think is:

Can you imagine what it would be like to have Thomas Jefferson as a client?

Yes sir, I know you are standing right outside of the gate, but I can’t show you Oklahoma today. It has a 24-hour notice.

I wouldn’t want to bother that agent on a Sunday No I can’t call the seller. They are French.

Our profession is under constant assault

You know how French people are.

We don’t want to get on their bad side and have them fight us harder in negotiations.

The first thing Jefferson did when the Louisiana Purchase was completed was to have the land surveyed. He divided into townships. And then into tracts.

We had land rushes to encourage new American citizens to:

  • Stake their claim
  • Work their farm
  • Build their dream

Thomas Jefferson knew then - in the 1800’s – that the strength of our country was going to come through the individual ownership of property.

Home ownership is the cornerstone of our freedom and is critical to a strong and prosperous nation.

And as Realtors, we get to be right in the middle of the process.

When we help our clients purchase their home.. We are part of the biggest financial decision OF THEIR LIFE.

We get to be a part of them buying a home where there will:

  • Have their dreams
  • Make their memories
  • Build their equity

Your clients are vitally important to our economy. Their tax dollars pay for:

  • Our parks
  • Our schools
  • Our military

Do you realize the people who live in single family homes (YOUR CLIENTS) pay 90% of all federal taxes?

Home ownership is possible because our property laws are so strong. At your last closing, when you got up from that closing table, your buyer bought a house and they knew - without a doubt -  their name is on the title.

Your seller knows - without a doubt - that their house is sold.

It is not like that in other countries. In Brazil, it can take up to 120 days from closing before you even know if you own the property. In Africa, it can take up to 7 years to get clear title.

That closing table process is what separates America from the rest of the developing world!

But it hasn’t always been that way.

By the late 1800’s; the real estate business was dominated crooks and con men. Our property laws were so weak it was tough to determine who owned what and where.

But, that all changed because a group of real estate people formed what is now called the National Association of Realtors.

They worked to create system of property laws that are the envy of the free world.

They knew if the public didn’t trust the practioners of Real Estate, our nation would never prosper. So, they created the Code of Ethics, to ensure Realtors were seen as A CUT ABOVE the rest.

They knew they had to develop a system where all of the real estate data was kept in one place - a clearinghouse of information - they started working on our present day MLS over 100 years before the bozos at Zillow.

All of that is because Realtors like you were willing to show leadership. They were willing to influence others.

NETAR is going to LEAD THE WAY

Because Realtors like you LED THE WAY

Here at NETAR, We used to be several different organizations throughout Northeast Tennessee. And each one had its own thoughts, ideas, systems and processes. It was a group of organizations that would fail if they didn’t find a way to work together. A group of Realtors in our area, many of whom are in this room, started pitching the idea of consolidation.


Jewell McKinney is here tonight, was our very first President. She can tell you story after story of the challenges they faced pulling everyone together. Every Realtor had a different idea of the direction we needed to head. Every association wanted board members and committee chairs to come from THEIR ranks.

They had 32 different versions of the budget before they could agree on it. It’s not like they were emailing these budgets back and forth. They were they were using a new gizmo called a fax machine.

And that a little over 20 years ago.

And look where we are now. We are here today because a group of Realtors led the way

When you became a REALTOR, you joined a community of like-minded peers and colleagues who want to make new connections. That’s why we host events likes this and our doors are always open to members.

The benefits of being a Realtor are tremendous, but being involved in NETAR is what truly separates you.

I am willing to bet most everyone in this room has someone who told them they should be involved with NETAR.      Almost everyone in this room has that one person they can point to and say “he or she asked me to come,”

In my life, I had an exceptional lady who influenced me to get involved. Or let me say it this way.

She told me I HAD to get involved. I didn’t really know I had a choice.

She has been there with me, through thick and thin. Never telling me what was the right answer or the right direction, but guiding me so I could find my own way. She is an exceptional leader, grandmother, mother, a Past President of NETAR, a member of Tennessee’s Real Estate Commission.  She is my real estate rock. Her name is Diane Hills.

Diane: Thank you for all you have done for me…

For those of you who have a Diane in your life I challenge you - reach out to them - and say thank you. Thank you for guiding me when:

I didn’t even know what I didn’t know.

We need more people like Diane because our profession is under constant assault from the outside:

  • We are in a battle for data and accurate information
  • A few states have started placing a separate tax on commissions.
  • Over 700 associations … associations like NETAR… have closed their doors in the last 3 decades

We are going to survive - with your help.

Every Realtor in this room can influence one or two others… who aren’t here… to get involved;

Every Realtor in this room …. Can volunteer for a committee or to work on one of community involvement projects

Every Realtor is this room has the ability… to make our profession stronger.

If it is your dream to grow your personal business; getting more involved with NETAR is the next step in your evolution.

Henry David Thorough said “do not go where the path may lead, go where there is no path and blaze a trail”

As you look to the leaders of our industry, who have blazed a trail, like NAR President Bill Brown, Tennessee Realtors President Brian Copeland, like Diane Hills, Jewel McKinney, Randy Thomas, Danielle McMeans, Karen Randolph, Aaron Taylor and all of the other people we have honored tonight, please remember. They all have one thing in common. They all started right where you are tonight. In an audience somewhere. At an event like this, because someone invited them to go. And then they volunteered for a committee, and then they got on a board, and they started LEADING THE WAY.

They are masters of their craft because they are passionate about real estate. To blaze a new trail and build your dream, you must also have passion. When you are doing something you love, you look for ways to get better. And we know, the things that we master are the things that we are passionate about. Getting more involved means getting better at what you do.

You want to get better at what you do because you are passionate about building your dream. The difference between being passionate about a dream and casual about a dream is the difference of being in the real estate business or the real estate business being IN YOU.

When the Real Estate Business is in you - you breathe it. When it is in you - it affects you at the cellular level… When the Real Estate business is in you, it’s your DNA. When Real Estate is your DNA, your business will grow.

When Real Estate is your DNA, your dream becomes a reality When Real Estate is your DNA, you will LEAD THE WAY.

This going to be a wonderful year, Leigh Brown is coming in February, we have over 150 hours of education scheduled…. It’s going to be great and I am so happy you are a part of it.

As I close, I want each one of you know… my excitement for this year is high and my commitment to you is strong; NETAR is going to LEAD THE WAY.

From the bottom of my heart.