Through My Lens

May 29, 2024

Through My Lens by Doreen Spagnuolo, LIBOR CEO

by Doreen Spagnuolo, LIBOR CEO

Show Me the Value

If a neighbor asked you whether selling their home without a real estate professional was a good idea, how would you respond?

Given your industry knowledge and for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) transactions, you might point out that going it alone could expose your neighbor to legal and financial risk. You might ask the neighbor about their traditional and digital marketing plan, how much time and money they plan to commit, their knowledge of fair housing law, and how confident they’ll be in the potential “buyers” who may arrive on their doorstep.

All of which is a nice way of saying you think investing in a REALTOR® is well worth the peace of mind, time savings, professional advocacy, and day-to-day troubleshooting that comes with that decision.

This analogy may be helpful in thinking through some of our industry’s current challenges. In the wake of the proposed National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) settlement, some members have questioned whether it would be better to disassociate with NAR.

The question of why alliance makes sense, like that of the FSBO seller wondering about using a REALTOR®, is one of value. Long Island Board of REALTORS®, LIBOR, maintains that the value our members receive from NAR is worth every dollar we invest. Let’s take a candid look at what we gain:

Class Protection

Although it may be difficult to see the NAR settlement in a positive light, it does protect more than 1.4 NAR members from legal claims brought by home sellers related to broker commissions. The settlement, as negotiated, provides certainty and protection to NAR members.

Consider the other possible outcomes assessed by those closest to the situation: appealing the Missouri case, risking a multi-billion adverse judgment, and continuing to separately litigate each individual class action lawsuit across the country.  Another option was filing for Chapter 11 (Bankruptcy) reorganization, to pause litigation against NAR and relieve it of its liabilities.

Both alternatives would have done nothing to protect NAR members, leaving us open to future lawsuits and liability. Plus, the potential for thousands of additional copycat lawsuits against REALTORS® would be untenable for the real estate industry. 

It had become clear that there was no scenario following the litigation in which the status quo for our industry could have remained.

Marketing and Branding

NAR’s branding campaign has made more than 2.85 billion impressions on consumers, instilling trust in REALTORS® and making consumers 89% more likely to use a REALTOR® in their real estate transactions.

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is another unique advantage of our membership. Overwhelming brand preference and our operation according to a strict Code of Ethics will be more important than ever to consumers in the wake of the settlement. NAR gives us tools to communicate the value that underlies these distinctions. The Code of Ethics also provides a structure for us to self-govern through the ethics complaint, hearing, and arbitration processes.


There’s power in numbers and NAR continues to be the largest trade association in the country. NAR’s advocacy work has a proven track record in fighting for homeownership, real estate investment, property rights, and strong communities.

In 2023, the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) also disbursed tens of millions of dollars to support state and local efforts. Some of this support allows LIBOR to more effectively advocate on issues of import to the communities where our members work and live such as opposition to increases in transfer or mortgage recording taxes, support for fair housing and Qualified Opportunity Zones tax incentives, creation of a first-time home buyer savings account, support for clean water, greater transparency in co-op purchases, and use of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

Business Management

NAR delivers tools that distinguish REALTORS® from real estate salespeople. The association is the go-to authority on market trends and statistics. Member resources such as Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) provides data and reports so you can “wow” clients and close more deals. A litany of other NAR tools are available to members if we choose to use them.


NAR attracts the industry’s best and brightest and facilitates important conversations on industry trends. Only NAR offers official REALTOR® designations such as the increasingly in-demand Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®), Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), and the e-PRO® digital marketing certification, to name just a few.


NAR offers members unparalleled ways to come together and grow through collaboration. Every year, approximately 9,000 NAR members attend the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., to advance the industry and influence public policy.

NAR NXT, The REALTOR® Experience is the real estate industry’s largest annual event, where approximately 15,000 REALTORS® and guests assemble. Ample opportunity also exists to fine-tune your networking by joining specialized NAR commercial and residential institutes, societies, or councils such as the Young Professionals Network (YPN) and the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. If you haven’t attended one of these events or joined like-minded professionals, you’re missing out.


The benefits described here are just some advantages LIBOR members derive from our affiliation with NAR. The NAR Membership Guide details all the benefits of NAR membership, but perceived value is driven by personal experience, familiarity, and usage of benefits. Now, more than ever, it is important that we exercise every benefit afforded to us through our strong alliance and continue to shape the industry’s future together.