by Paula Serven, 2016 President of the Arizona Association of REALTORS® (AAR)

I am not going to say, “Let’s Ring Out the Old!” because many of the initiatives by 2015 Arizona REALTORS® President Jim Sexton continue to live on.

For example, he was instrumental in explaining the new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) or “Know Before You Owe” rule, broadening lines of communication with the Arizona Department of Real Estate (ADRE) and improving consumer outreach with our first Ask-A-REALTOR® telephone hotline.

Among AAR’s many other accomplishments in 2015 were:
• Revising AAR forms to comply with the new TRID rule
• Drafting a revised HOA Condominium/Planned Community Addendum to promote a greater level of disclosure of HOA fees paid upon close of escrow
• Introducing agent safety text-alert program to notify members of possible threats
• Upgrading member website to improve searches, security and subscriptions
• Surveying Designated Brokers to identify frequent claims, demands and complaints
• Defending members-as-mediators in the Arizona Rules of the Supreme Court
• Securing Tech Helpline as a new member benefit for 2016
• Improving data collection by MLS Connect to ensure TRID compliance
• Helping pass legislation so REALTORS® need not obtain additional business licenses
Raising a record-breaking $577.8K in RAPAC funds to lobby on behalf of members
• Providing two dozen webinars in a variety of tracks, including three on TRID alone
• Streaming live remote clinics and classrooms to 11 local associations
• Awarding five Foundation Challenge Grants and launching Community Outreach Awards

As your 2016 President, it is my pleasure to forecast the coming year with an overview of some key member benefits from each of our primary committees.

Legislative & Political Affairs
Committee focus: To protect private property rights, promote AAR’s interests at all levels of government, and mobilize members to legislative and political action.
• Maintain contact with members of Congress to foster a positive real estate environment
• Provide fundraising for and training in local, state and national legislative programs
• Share information about new and proposed laws or rules affecting member business
• Support election-year activities that advocate for a real estate-friendly legislature

Risk Management
Committee focus: To implement and oversee programs designed to mitigate risk for consumers, as well as all Arizona REALTORS®.
• Process ethics complaints and arbitration requests
• Draft, revise and inform members about business-critical forms, issues and publications
• Communicate with ADRE and other administrative agencies on regulatory issues
• Provide risk management guidance to members on specific situations and transactions

Business Services & Technology
Committee focus: To coordinate association activities relating to the technology and processes of information flow among those served by AAR.
• Provide technology tools that members can use to increase professionalism and service
• Develop and monitor software to securely access forms and maintain data
• Continue to offer superior technical and customer support

Professional & Business Development
Committee focus: To provide tools to assist members and associations to be the best prepared and perform to the highest standards.
• Provide high-level, skill-based education programs that focus on member competencies
• Offer (2) three-hour continuing education remote courses every month
• Develop and deliver emerging education resources designed for brokers and managers
• Maintain Certification, Designation and Leadership Training programs
• Continue to organize Broker University, Industry Partners and Spring Conferences

Operations & Strategic Initiatives
Committee focus: To oversee a variety of programs, products, services and activities including Association Relations, Communications, Consumer & Community Outreach and Disaster Assistance.
• Collaborate with local associations and industry partners to accomplish mutual goals
• Provide timely internet and social media content that informs and inspires members
• Engage the public in real estate issues, trends and charitable efforts
• Help offset personal or natural disasters with financial assistance to members, public
• Survey members to ensure AAR continues to offer exceptional benefits

Throughout the New Year, I will continue to share pertinent developments from all committees, relevant partnerships and of course, from members like you who inspire and challenge us.

Arizona REALTORS® is more than 44,000 strong and with that strength comes the courage to stand up and be heard by legislators. Together, we have the resources to reduce risk, provide time-saving technology and keys to success; as well as have the collective heart to help our members and neighbors in times of need.

Thank you for this opportunity. I look forward to serving as your president in 2016. Happy New Year!

Paula Serven is a member of the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® (SAAR). She has served on the SAAR Executive Committee since 2007, was President in 2010 and Chairman of the Board in 2011. Paula also served on the Board of Directors for the National Association of REALTORS® and AAR.

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