The Monroe Downriver Regional Association of Realtors is a service organization and the voice for local real estate.
Biz: Real Estate
They say it’s who you know, not what you know, but realtors at the newly-formed Monroe Downriver Regional Association of Realtors (MDRAR) don’t let that stop them. According to realtor Marie Gamber, “We don’t hold ourselves out to be experts in any area other than real estate, but we are constantly improving the tools that we use, constantly educating ourselves, being up [to date] with the issues that impact homeowners.”
MDRAR is the product of a merger between the Down River Association of Realtors and the Monroe County Association of Realtors, and a penchant for education isn’t the only thing that makes them unique. Says Ms. Gamber, “They cover unique areas. The Monroe county culture and the Downriver culture are totally different. We have so many affiliates that are able to help- Downriver affiliates can do loans, they can do title work for the Monroe County area regardless of the culture difference.”
The merger nearly doubled the membership size of each organization, allowing realtors to become more heavily involved in their community. “Being able to do fundraising for your own community provides a huge impact for the homeowners and families living in those communities. Coming together and doubling the membership makes us stronger,” says Ms. Gamber.
In addition to doubling the membership size, the merger is also preparing for the future. It creates a stronger MLS (multiple listing service), which essentially means a stronger network of realtors. “In order to maintain the presence of Monroe and Downriver realtors in the community we needed a strong, central association. This will make our association 700+ members, which puts us tenth largest in the state,” explains Ms. Gamber. “By having the two chapters, we’re the first association to merge and have chapters in Michigan. There are only two other states that have done it. It’s all about coming together and being stronger and being able to maintain an association no matter how the structure of the industry changes in the future. It’s long-range planning.”
The merger also allows for more impact on the state and national level and a stronger presence at conventions. That can translate to a more prominent voice with the Realtor PAC, a group tasked with lobbying for issues that matter to realtors. So what issues do realtors care about?
“Property rights,” says Ms. Gamber. “Many things that impact homeowners, the realtor PAC is in there at the state and national level lobbying for whatever is best for the homeowner, because that’s best for the realtor.”
One issue that the Realtor PAC has gone to bat for is short-term rentals. In some communities, restrictions were placed on homeowners trying to rent their homes to tourists. Sites like Airbnb.com allow homeowners to list their cottage, house, or even spare bedroom, often at cheaper rates than hotels. The Realtor PAC has fought against those restrictions.