Goals and milestones are part of the DNA of most successful REALTORS®. I believe giving back is, too!
This year marks my 20th year in the business and a milestone birthday, so it’s a good time to reflect on what enabled me, someone who left high school early, to become a homeowner at age 19, to be on the cusp of co-owning a brokerage, and to contribute to the greater good.
Credit for launching the career I love starts with my parents who instilled in me the mantra: why rent when you could own?
Acting on that question, I hired an agent and found myself fascinated by the process. Every aspect was appealing, from creative advertising to touring, and especially the negotiation and closing process. Upon completing the sale, I told my agent I wanted her job. She graciously helped me get started.
Early on, recognizing I lacked formal training, I sought out acceptance into the “school of hard knocks.” I found mentors I admired and embraced what I later learned was an autodidactic approach to success.
Two of the best ways brokers are succeeding and helping people in these changing and challenging times are by enhancing their skillset and engaging in civic and community service. Staying current on technology, laws and regulations, marketing, negotiating, and financing are essential. Volunteering can also be fulfilling, not only by providing needed services, but also by strengthening or developing relationships, providing a sense of purpose, and acquiring new skills.
The local, state and national Association of REALTORS® (NAR) are go-to sources for professional development, designations and certifications, and for uncovering opportunities for volunteering, both within the profession and at a civic level. In addition to satisfying continuing education requirements, these designations help Realtors distinguish themselves from other licensees and demonstrate specialized knowledge and experience.
Like many of my colleagues, I have participated in NAR’s leadership training, which can help hone skills and propel careers. Without such training, it is unlikely I would be the youngest president in the history of Seattle King County REALTORS®!
Participation in REALTORS® associations at the local, state and national levels also offers invaluable networking opportunities. One outgrowth of these interactions is the Young Professionals Network. Launched by NAR in 2006 and by SKCR in 2010, this organization helps young practitioners become more business savvy and fosters the exchange of tips and tricks. Being a co-founder of SKCR’s young professionals group is a source of pride!
In recognition of the success and popularity of SKCR’s YPN, the national association tapped 2020 SKCR president Georgia Stevens, to be the 2021 chair of its Young Professionals Network, which encompasses more than 500 networks. Licensed since age 19, this dynamic REALTOR®, and another co-founder of SKCR YPN, has leaned into leadership since early in her distinguished career!
Outside our professional associations, REALTORS® are well positioned to be involved in community-based service organizations and charitable causes. As volunteers, we help improve the neighborhoods where we live, work, and invest by volunteering, plus we can expand our circle of friends and strengthen our reputations as advocates, problem-solvers and achievers.
In a commentary for an industry publication, Charlie Oppler, 2021 president of NAR, promoted volunteerism, noting REALTORS® volunteer at more than twice the rate of the general population, with 72 percent of members volunteering regularly.
Through its Good Neighbor Awards program and a more recent initiative, the REALTORS® Day of Service, NAR inspires volunteerism and recognizes myriad worthy causes, ranging from housing for the homeless, disaster relief, tutoring, support for refugees, food drives and countless other concerns.
The 7,700 members of the Seattle King County REALTORS® give back in extraordinary ways. My predecessor, Lynn Sanborn, launched the Quarterly Good Neighbors Awards program to spotlight some of these compassionate individuals and their good deeds.
For brokers who are looking for some meaningful ways to give back at a local level, I invite you to consider opportunities within the association. Here are some of my suggestions:
· Attend the annual Battle of the Barristers program, which helps raise funds for Realtor Scholarships.
· Take part in TREC, (The REALTORS® Environmental Council), an annual “boots on the ground” day of service at a park or open space in King County.
· Support the RPAC (REALTORS® Political Action Committee) auction by donating an item and being an active bidder!
· Become a Major Investor in REALTORS® advocacy efforts.
· Celebrate community service by attending the annual Seattle-King County First Citizen Awards banquet.
· Join an SKCR Committee.
· Participate in the annual golf tournament, which in 2021 raised money for Habitat for Humanity.
· Connect with the school districts whose levies and bonds are endorsed by SKCR to help on their campaigns.
· Consider attending our national mid-year meetings or this year’s trade mission to Japan.
· For young professionals, join the Young Professional Network.
Learn more and ask questions by visiting Seattle King County REALTORS® online at nwrealtor.com
Rachel Mehmedagic (Adler) is the 2022 president of Seattle King County REALTORS®. Among her professional credentials are CNE (Certified Negotiations Expert), CSP (Certified New Home Sales Professional) and certification as a First Time Home Buyer Instructor.