The most powerful real estate trade organization has been long recognized for boasting a strong network, comprehensive data reports, and extensive member benefits. But like every coin’s other side, there are reasons why you choose to sidestep the National Association of Realtors (NAR)? Or leave them if you’re already members. Here are a few of the reasons why you choose to sidestep the NAR:

Unpacking the NAR: An Overview

Before dissecting why one may consider parting ways with the NAR, it’s crucial to understand what it entails. The organization mandates rigid membership requirements and necessitates a binding agreement known as the NAR Settlement Agreement. It sets strict guidelines on business operations and adherence to their code of ethics, which, while ensuring uniform standards, can be restrictive.

Admittedly, the NAR provides its members with access to a wealth of resources, ranging from comprehensive listings to training resources. It also supplies a level of prestige – being part of such an established organization can enhance realtor credibility. Yet not every realtor finds the offerings of the NAR to be valuable, or worth the associated costs.

One question remains, does the average home buyer decide to buy a house because their agent is a NAR Member? The answer is no. The average home buyer does not care if their agent is a NAR member or not. They care about finding the right house at the right price. And they want an agent who will work hard to get them there. You would think this might be the reason why you choose to sidestep the National Association of Realtors (NAR)?

Evaluating the NAR Settlement Agreement

The core of the NAR’s control stems from the Settlement Agreement. The agreement, though aimed at protecting consumers and promoting fairness, places several obligations on realtors. A potential challenge is the degree of control and regulation it wields over listings. With a mandate that all listings be equitable and accessible to all members. Some realtors might find their competitive edge diminished.

The NAR’s control over listings is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it ensures that all members have access to the same information and can compete on an even playing field. On the other hand, it also limits competition by making it difficult for non-members to enter the market. This may be especially problematic in areas where there are few realtors or where there is high demand for housing.

Cost Versus Benefit: Is it Really Worth it?

Membership with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) certainly comes with a notable price tag. The accumulative annual cost, alongside local and state dues, can be quite substantial. As realtors navigate their yearly budgets, many stand at a crossroads. Contemplating the true worth of their investment in this traditional institution.

Numerous colleagues have shared with me that approximately 20% of their clientele is attributed to their local board MLS. This statistic leads to a pivotal inquiry: Is the remaining 80% of business justifying the expense associated with NAR affiliation?

For a growing faction within the industry, the answer seems to be leaning towards alternatives. The appeal of NAR membership is waning for those who discover comparable services at a more economical rate. With the added benefit of fewer regulatory constraints. It is undeniable that the NAR has long enjoyed a monolithic presence, setting the purported gold standard for real estate professionals. Yet, the question that looms large is whether this legacy holds steadfast relevance in the dynamic landscape of today’s market.

With a burgeoning array of alternative platforms that promise flexibility, efficiency, and a more attractive cost structure. The tide of professional opinion is shifting. Modern realtors are increasingly considering whether entrenchment in an “expensive club” is a necessity. Or an echo from a bygone era of industry operation.

Perhaps the moment is nigh for the NAR to introspectively revisit its business model. Would adapting to the newly evolving market needs ensure the association’s longevity and continued reverence? Or might a stubborn adherence to the status quo herald a gradual erosion of its historic market stronghold?

Addressing these and other reflections head-on may not just be beneficial. It could be crucial for both the NAR’s survival and the prosperity of individual real estate professionals pondering their place within the broader ecosystem.

Finding a New Broker

Dissatisfaction with the NAR often leads to considering other brokers. Independent, non-NAR affiliated brokers can provide the flexibility and personalized guidance that NAR may fail to provide, all at lower costs and without restrictive guidelines.

Switching to a new broker also provides the allure of deviation. Non-traditional brokers often employ innovative strategies and technologies that can provide an edge in today’s competitive real estate market.

The NAR is a powerful organization, but it’s not the only game in town. If you’re unhappy with your current broker or want to explore other options, there are many non-NAR affiliated brokers who can provide the same services at lower costs and without restrictive guidelines.

Another alternative, is to become a Broker. Becoming a broker can be a great way to take control of your real estate career. As a broker, you’ll have the ability to work with other agents and brokers, as well as manage your own listings. This can provide you with more freedom and flexibility than being an agent alone.

Thinking Outside the Box: Disruptive Real Estate Options

In a bold departure from conventional practice, a wave of ingenuity is transforming the real estate industry. Leading this charge is My State MLS, a nationwide Multiple Listing Service that offers an unparalleled opportunity for licensed real estate professionals. For a single, affordable monthly fee, agents can list properties across any city or state where they hold a license. This groundbreaking approach not only sidesteps the fines and fees typical of local MLS systems but also equips agents with a robust suite of tools designed to amplify their business growth. At the heart of My State MLS is a commitment to unmatched customer support, ensuring that every listing garners the widest possible exposure.

As a comprehensive Nationwide MLS and Referral Network, My State MLS demands nothing less than professional licensure for its members. This platform is reimagining how properties are bought, sold, and rented, challenging the tight grip traditionally held by Board MLS systems. Features like open listings and co-brokering, often restricted by conventional platforms, are freely accessible through My State MLS. You would think this might be the reason why you choose to sidestep the National Association of Realtors (NAR)?

Disruptive Real Estate Options for New Agents

Agents, particularly those newly launched into their careers, have found innovative ways to leverage open listings. Instead of solely relying on purchased leads or their existing networks, agents are reaching out to rental property owners and managers. By offering to list homes for rent without any upfront costs. The commission is only due if the agent successfully connects a tenant. Agents provide valuable exposure for landlords while simultaneously generating leads for themselves.

Open listings present myriad opportunities. Enticing For Sale by Owner (FSBO) prospects to partner with an agency. Persuading builders to list new properties, and sparking interest among condo developers. What makes open listings especially appealing is the no-risk proposition for property owners. Commission is paid only upon the agent’s successful sale or rental. Beyond the immediate goal of securing a deal, the true gem of open listings lies in lead generation. Offering a pathway for agents to expand their clientele.

Through its innovative framework, My State MLS is not just offering an alternative; it’s setting a new standard, offering real estate professionals the tools, freedom, and support to thrive in an evolving marketplace.

Isn’t it Time you Traded up?

The American Real Estate Association (AREA) ushers in a new era for real estate professionals across the nation. Designed by real estate agents for the industry, AREA is committed to advocating, innovating, and educating on a scale never seen before. In these pivotal times, where the stakes are incredibly high for both the industry and homeowners alike. Isn’t it time you considered elevating your professional journey?

Joining AREA means more than just being part of another trade organization. It’s about being at the forefront of monumental shifts in the real estate industry. It’s about having a voice in critical conversations, benefiting from national-level advocacy, and contributing to a movement that thinks globally but acts locally.

The American Real Estate Association is not just offering an alternative. They are creating a legacy of innovation, education, and advocacy. If you’re ready to trade up to a richer real estate career and make a real impact, it’s time to consider AREA. Connect with them to stay updated on their progress and learn how you can be part of their exciting journey.


The National Association of Realtors undeniably provides benefits to its members. However, potential drawbacks—such as the overbearing rules set out in the NAR Settlement Agreement, the high membership fees, and the lack of competitive differentiation—make it necessary for some realtors to consider exploring new avenues.

Whether it is switching to a new broker or leveraging disruptive technology in real estate, there are more options available now than ever before in this dynamic, ever-evolving industry. The choice is ultimately a personal one, dictated by each individual’s circumstances and career goals. Assessing these options outside the NAR could pave the way to newer opportunities and a tailored approach to a winning real estate career. So the bottom line is, there are reasons why you might choose to sidestep the National Association of Realtors (NAR)?

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