REALTORS® share ideas and debate at Washington REALTORS® statewide conference

From legislative priorities to diversity issues to awards, the Washington REALTORS® Spring Business Conference at the Seattle Airport Marriott last week covered everything impacting REALTORS® in Washington.

Wednesday featured a first-time conference attendee orientation, where new state directors learn more about their roles. Robyn Phillips, WR Orientation Chair, greeted the group and encouraged everyone to make the most of their time at the conference. “I get to see and learn things that I wouldn’t learn if I were just a REALTOR® in my company,” Phillips said. VP-Elect of Government Affairs for Seattle King County REALTORS®, Lynn Sanborn, added, “I’ve only been involved with leadership for about four years, and it’s been awesome. I wish I’d gotten involved sooner.”

The most popular meeting of the day was the standing-room only legislative update, where REALTORS® heard about how WR is using its dues dollars to advocate for REALTOR® members. Among the topics were the Hirst fix achieved earlier this year, tax proposals that WR defeated in 2017 to save REALTORS® in the state $50 million, and continuing efforts to bring more inventory on the market.

Zack Rubin-McCarry, political representative for the National Association of REALTORS®, was on hand to give federal updates. He emphasized the importance of the national REALTOR® PAC and encouraged REALTORS® to stay active and contact their congressional representatives about homeownership issues during this uncertain and highly partisan political climate. “As a former Hill staffer, I can tell you those emails do get read, every single one of them, and it makes a difference,” Rubin-McCarry said.

The first day of the conference wrapped up with regional roundtables, where local associations get together with others in their area to brainstorm solutions to regional issues. Every single person in the room at the Puget Sound region’s roundtable agreed that lack of supply is the number one issue affecting real estate right now.

Lennox Scott summarized what many REALTORS® are feeling. “We have a whole bunch of people who are not benefitting from the growth spurt we’re having,” he said. “All they’re getting are higher taxes and they still can’t afford the few homes for sale. Those people would benefit from condominiums.”

While the conference gives REALTORS® the chance to connect with colleagues and friends across the state, being involved with WR is about more than attending meetings. It’s being surrounded by passionate people who believe in homeownership and are willing to speak up to solve our issues, especially our housing shortage.

“It feeds my passion. Housing is a moral issue, and as REALTORS® we bring that to the table,” said Christopher Grimm, new WR director. “I told a client about my involvement the other day, because it’s important to me that my clients know that this is just one part of the extraordinary lengths I go to be informed and an activist on the issues that involve the supply of housing and its availability to the widest range of people in our community.”

Rich Bergdahl, president-elect for Seattle King County REALTORS® and 29-time WR Business Conference attendee, echoed Grimm’s client-focused attitude. “I’m always there because it is one of the best forums to learn, develop statewide relationships, and grow professionally. Working directly with REALTOR® leadership and WR staff to address evolving trends and direct the change immediately occurring in our industry is what helps keep my knowledge at ‘the cutting edge’ for my clients. Participating is a valuable experience and wise investment of time.”

Read WR’s full recap of the conference events here.