Members of the Marco Island Area Association of REALTORS® (MIAAOR®) and Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®) will vote to either approve or deny a strategic merger of the two long-time independent Collier County-based REALTOR® member organizations in late May. If approved by members of both boards, the combined entity would serve over 7,000 active members in Collier County. The plan of merger document was approved by both Boards of Directors but requires majority approval by members in order to proceed. If approved, members will be served by a single MLS system and enjoy greater networking, expanded services and increased professional development.
“In early January, we formed a Merger Task Force consisting of members from both groups who discussed features of the consolidation that would produce best outcomes,” said Gary Elliott, Board President at MIAAOR®. Consistent with a trend occurring among independent boards in other geographic areas of the country – including Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale – the move to merge MIAAOR® and NABOR® will create better economies of scale and provide valuable member efficiencies.
“This is a great benefit for brokers and members alike as it will simplify their day-to-day processes,” said Rick Baranski, Board President at NABOR®. “Once the consolidation of our MLS systems is complete, brokers will no longer be required to pay for access to two MLS systems, two board membership fees, and two separate IDX fees.”
MIAAOR® members are encouraged to vote online between May 21st and May 30th. NABOR® members will cast their votes at the May 31st membership meeting. If approved, a merger application will be submitted for review to the National Association of REALTORS®. Once confirmation of acceptance is received from NAR®, the two Collier County boards will begin the process of combining their MLS systems. Fortunately, both MLS systems are managed by CoreLogic so the integration of data is expected to be completed within the coming months. Once completed, members will gain access to over 18,000 listings totaling over $10 billion in inventory. This will be advantageous for homebuyers and sellers as they will gain increased market exposure.
If accepted, MIAAOR® will become the Marco Island Area Chapter of the Naples Area Board of REALTORS® (NABOR®) and receive full access to all NABOR® member services and benefits. According to Shirley English, CEO of MIAAOR®, “With a merger, Marco Island members’ involvement or commitment to the island community and its residents will continue. This includes participation in the City of Marco Island’s Fourth of July fireworks display and the town’s annual prayer breakfast, two of so many other vital programs we intend to continue with our affiliation. And Marco Island staff and offices
Key benefits of the merger include:
- Reduced membership dues for MIAAOR® members from $369 per year to $157 per year
- Increased educational opportunities – many at no cost
- Increased networking opportunities
- Shared technologies
- A larger referral base
- Greater collaboration for community service and public recognition
- Stronger political advocacy
“The merger will provide no geographic restrictions for members within the county,” said Elliott. As such, members will not be required to input data into two separate MLS systems and there will be considerable cost savings for MIAAOR® members as their MLS and membership fees will be greatly reduced.
MIAAOR®’s 550 primary REALTOR® members will enjoy access to all the services and classes enjoyed by the 5,500 primary REALTOR® members of NABOR®.
“We are one of the only boards in the country that offers several important classes for free,” said Baranski. Recently, NABOR® started live streaming many of its classes and meetings so members could access training from the comfort of their offices. Marco Island members will be encouraged to take advantage of NABOR’s extensive training courses. “We also offer mediation services at no cost to members,” said Baranski.
According to Marty Manion, NABOR® CEO, another great advantage of the merger will be stronger political representation in Marco Island. “Our government affairs director will attend many of Marco Island’s City Hall meetings so we will have a better understanding of their unique real estate matters and as a result, work to strengthen advocacy and the protection of private property rights for Marco Island residents.”
To maintain an existing charter, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has established Core Standards criteria for local associations to meet, including Political Action contributions, participation in Calls for Action, consumer outreach programs, training, financial solvency and technology requirements.
NAR has been reducing the number of Associations over the last thirty years from over 2,000 to 1,165 last year. At the same time, the number of individual Realtors® has grown from 806,000 members to over 1.3 million members.
In regards to the proposed merger, MIAAOR President Gary Elliott, says, “We believe that Realtors will benefit from one MLS.”
To foster adequate representation, Elliott will join NABOR®’s Board of Directors Nominating Committee so Marco Island members will have the opportunity to participate in the entity’s new leadership. Collaboration amongst the two boards is not a new venture as many MIAAOR® members already volunteer on NABOR® committees. This merger is expected to further strengthen one of Collier County’s largest professional industries and creates a single MLS service for homebuyers and greater exposure for sellers throughout
For more information, contact Marty Manion, CEO NABOR® at 239-597-1666 or Shirley English, CEO MIAAOR® at 239-394-5616.