By Maria Kauffman
Last month, I had the opportunity to represent the Greater Regional Alliance of REALTORS® (Grand Rapids, Mich.) at YPN Advance as part of the National Association of REALTORS® Leadership Summit in Chicago. At this event, local YPN committee chairs, vice-chairs, and association liaisons come together from across the country to discuss real estate and market trends, YPN events, and best practices. It was eye-opening to interact with young real estate leaders from New Jersey to San Francisco, Guam to Dallas, Miami to Billings, and so many other places. There were more than 200 attendees this year.
Here are my takeaways from my time learning and networking in Chicago:
1. Understanding RPAC: The REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) has the goal of protecting private property ownership rights with a continued focus on fair housing and housing affordability. Most of the young professionals who attended the conference are RPAC contributors, and many spoke about the important impact it has on our business. I still have a lot to learn about RPAC, so I have committed to reaching out to my local representative to invest and dive in.
2. Embrace the role of facilitator: We must have a continued dedication to our craft as real estate professionals by being a facilitator and resource for our clients. I often explain it this way to my clients and the agents I train: Much like a lawyer or doctor, my job is to disclose information, provide resources, and advice based on my experience and market tools. I cannot tell you what to do, and I won’t do anything other than what you ask. We can’t and won’t make decisions on the clients’ behalf.
3. Learning from other YPNs: Many YPN committees and associations across the country have similar struggles with member attendance and engagement. As leaders of committees, we shouldn’t be afraid to charge more members with tasks and responsibilities. We should also be open to new ideas—that’s the point of YPN! We should continue to seek a balance between the fun stuff (ugly sweater parties, pub crawls, etc.) and educational events that provide quality content. This goes back to your entire committee understanding the mission, vision, and values, and having a cohesive goal in mind.
4. Take advantage of networking opportunities: While events like YPN Advance provide great education, true learning and value comes from networking. My Facebook and Instagram friend requests have blown up in the last few weeks, and I now have a presence in front of referral sources in multiple cities across the country. I also have peace of mind knowing that I actually know the brokers and agents I am sending my beloved clients to when they move out of our market. The value in relationships should never be underestimated.
Lastly, I didn’t speak with a single agent at YPN Advance who said their market isn’t highly competitive. Inventory is low across the board, especially for single-family homes. As we move into the fall market, we are starting to see a slight slowdown. If you are a buyer reading this message, now is a good time to jump on listings instead of waiting for the spring.
Maria Kauffman is a real estate professional with Bellabay Realty in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Prior to real estate, her career heavily focused on brand management and digital sales. From a media agency in Chicago to a start-up in Seattle, from a Proctor & Gamble affiliate in New England to MLive Media Group in Grand Rapids, she’s been involved various ventures and has marketed international brands. She’s currently Bellabay’s director of training and development, where she mentors newer agents so they’re set up to succeed and achieve their goals in real estate. Connect with Maria at mariakauffmanrealestate.com.