I just received my invoice for 2011 Realtor fees. Even in the midst of a down real estate market, the Realtor fees increase. It will cost $637 to be able to continue using “REALTOR” on my business card. This doesn’t count quarterly fees agents pay to the local MLS.
Being a REALTOR has nothing to do with the Department of Real Estate (DRE). If you aren’t aware, REALTOR is a trade association which licensed agents pay to be a member of. If you are a member, you are supposed to follow the REALTOR Code of Ethics.
My view of the REALTOR organization changed a bit last year when they sent a film crew to video tape me. The editor that came from the Mid-west stayed at one of the most expensive hotels in the area during their stay. That made me think that members were paying too much if membership money was being spent like this. When I was at Cisco Systems when they were a small company, the management made us all aware of travel expenses, even though Cisco’s business was booming. The CEO at the time, John Morgridge, was a very frugal CEO. He would go to a hotel and use the lobby phone to try to get a better rate and then check in (this was before there was hotel reservations via the Internet). While the restrictions placed on the rest of us weren’t this strict, watching John did make us all very aware of the money we were spending when traveling. Looks like there isn’t a John Morgridge at the Realtor Association. 🙁