Moderator: Kymber Lovett-Menkiti, President, Keller Williams Capital Properties, Washington D.C.; Broker Relations Liaison, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
Panelist: Tracy Kasper, Broker/Owner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Silverhawk Realty; 2024 President, National Association of REALTORS®
Kymber Lovett-Menkiti: There is a long tradition of using the November edition of this column to introduce the NAR president for the upcoming year. But in one of the most tumultuous years in the association’s history, the vast majority of residential real estate professionals already know who Tracy Kasper is. While she is the official 2024 NAR president, Tracy began her tenure late this summer after allegations of sexual harassment rocked the association, leading to the resignation of 2023 NAR President Kenny Parcell and the creation of a “culture transformation commission.” I’d like to use this space to learn more about Tracy’s big-picture goals for brokers, REALTORS® (members of the National Association of REALTORS®) and the industry at large. Tracy, it’s been an unusual start to your term, to say the least. Given the ongoing challenges NAR is facing, what do you most hope to accomplish during your tenure as president?
Tracy Kasper: My top priority, and the top priority of the organization as a whole, is to move forward, make necessary changes and regain trust. We are committed to providing a safe, productive and welcoming environment for staff and association members that is free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. And we must make that commitment clear by taking real action. I feel an incredible sense of urgency around this, and I want to move quickly. We have to listen better. We have to take meaningful action. We have to do better by our members and staff. We want members and staff to continue to share their thoughts and ideas with us, because we want to hear them. Together, we can facilitate the changes we need to make in order to move forward.
KLM: “Moving forward” is a critical priority on many levels in today’s climate. Take the commission-based lawsuits confronting the industry, for example—what’s your plan for educating REALTORS® so that they can better define their value at this time when the traditional real estate business model is being challenged
TK: We know that the way real estate is transacted in the United States is pro-competition, pro-consumer, and the envy of much of the world. It’s critical that we share the facts, and NAR has a number of resources available to our members through our customized, always evolving website, Competition.Realtor. That’s where we provide tool kits and talking points to help them talk to consumers about fees and commissions. We’re encouraging them to remind consumers that sellers already sign contracts agreeing to what they will pay in commission to the seller’s agent.
Additionally, we’re continuing to encourage REALTORS® to use buyer broker agreements and be reminded of their obligations under the Code of Ethics to advise their clients and make all agreements in writing that are clear and understandable.
KLM: And what about happenings in Washington…what policy and/or regulation is most impacting residential real estate at the moment, and how will NAR advocate accordingly?TK: Our biggest policy concern right now is the lack of coherent and comprehensive policies at all levels of government to address the serious lack of housing supply. Many elected leaders comprehend the depth and magnitude of this problem, and they are working on ideas as we speak, but we need more focus on the problem nationally, and we need more practical solutions.
KLM: With so many day-to-day challenges like these, why is it important for brokers and REALTORS® to play a role at the national level?
TK: It is precisely because of the numerous day-to-day challenges that our industry faces that we need a national presence like NAR. Countless Americans rely on REALTORS® every day for guidance on critical housing decisions, and we exist to empower REALTORS® as they preserve, protect and advance the right to real property for all. We are an ally and a resource for our members across the country who are working to achieve professional success and personal fulfillment in this industry.
And, due to our reach, NAR does incredible things that support not only REALTORS®, but also the wider community. I am proud to be leading a new NAR initiative—Ignite Others—that officially kicks off next year. It includes events and programs designed to help members deepen their service to their communities by teaching financial literacy and homeownership preparedness to high school students. Our goal is to help young people understand how to plan for a financial future that includes homeownership, and possibly even a career in real estate.
KLM: That is a truly worthy goal. You have our support in guiding the association—and its members—to better times in 2024.
The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Kymber Lovett-Menkiti, NAR’s Broker Relations Liaison. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.