By Cliff Long
Orlando REALTOR® magazine, Fall 2019
October 4, 2019 - I am pleased to report that today, as this issue of Orlando REALTOR® magazine goes to the printer, ORRA and the Greater Tampa REALTORS® are in discussions to unite into a single association. Our common goal is to create a member organization with the combined resources to provide REALTORS® with additional products and services, better programs and benefits, and greater political and community influence at, whenever possible, a lower cost.
The negotiations to join our two like-minded associations have just begun. Should they proceed successfully, ORRA’s membership will be asked for a vote of approval in December. Please watch your e-mail and the ORRA website for updates and opportunities to ask questions.
Below is our initial set of FAQs. You can be assured that as negotiations proceed, we are doing so with all members’ best interests in mind, and additional details will be posted as they become available.
I am excited about the potential of serving the leadership of ORRA and GTR as they work to create one of the country’s largest REALTOR® associations, and I am honored to be part of the process. If you have any questions, I invite you to send them to me via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• What are some of the anticipated benefits if GTR and ORRA would partner together?
Combining efforts would present many new opportunities to deliver an enhanced member experience that would better serve all members with more offerings of products and services. Additional education offerings (including live video conferencing of classes and events), a more streamlined professional standards process, more housing market information, and additional discounts and savings are just some of the many benefits to come. With greater numbers, additional resources, and our larger footprint, our advocacy efforts will be amplified, ensuring the REALTOR® voice is clearly heard at the local, state, and national levels.
• Why partner and why now?
Like so many industries, the real estate industry is evolving, with increased regionalization and expanded geographic boundaries. Discussions have led to the leadership of both major organizations within the Orlando-Tampa super region to recognize that now is an opportune time for them to come together to better deliver the array of services needed for members’ success in the ever-changing market, both today and in the future. Coming together will not only produce cost savings and economies of scale, our combined 27,000-member voice will also provide us with a greater impact within the super region and the political sphere.
• Why partner with an association that is not a neighboring association?
Bringing together two like-minded, complementary associations is not about geography. This partnership brings together two associations along the I-4 corridor that have strong revenues, reserves, and member counts for the collective benefit of the membership. Orlando-Tampa is a super region, and these two groups together would create the third-largest association in Florida and the fifth largest in the country.
• What would the new name be?
According to NAR, the name of the new corporation must be descriptive of the actual area served by the association, so the name would be Greater Orlando Tampa REALTORS®.
• How will the decision to join GTR and ORRA be made?
There will be a membership vote scheduled for each association in accordance with the current bylaws of each association.
• How will the unification affect my membership dues?
Combined resources will create larger economies of scale and greater stability, thereby enhancing our ability to prevent dues increases while potentially enhancing membership offerings.
• Would this affect my MLS service?
The services you are provided from Stellar MLS will not be affected. However, a larger combined association could positively impact the decision-making process for future enhancements.
• How will my MLS fees be affected?
MLS fees (except for the local service center fee) are not determined by the association.
• How will this affect my Supra eKEY fees?
Supra fees have been negotiated with each association. As a result of the partnership, a new combined contract will be negotiated with anticipated cost savings that can be passed onto our members.
ORRA CEO Cliff Long can be reached at email@example.com.