A Note from 2020 HAAR President, Sha Jarboe
2020 was a year of unprecedented and unexpected challenges and triumphs for the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS®, our members, ValleyMLS.com and its subscribers.
When I chose our 2020 theme as #MadeToThrive, I never knew it would be so appropriate. I think we all anticipated the usual ups and downs and to expect the unexpected, but none of us figured this year to be perhaps the most unique of our lives and our industry.
In the face of new obstacles and new responsibilities to keep our coworkers and clients safe, that’s exactly what we did: THRIVED. And we need to look no further than our members to thank for the success we saw during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
Between HAAR Leadership, staff and members, we all met the year’s challenges head-on and didn’t let them stop us from launching new ventures like our Local Political Coordinator program or creating massive new value for agents as we did with our historic datashare partnership with the Greater Alabama MLS in Birmingham.
I would like to particularly thank those with whom I served in the 2020 Leadership Team. President-Elect Zelda Friedman built value for our members like we have never seen before.
Tim Brown took on the newly-created Vice President role, providing his unique insight to boost our education and outreach efforts. Treasurer Monica Sanford ensured our ambitious yet responsible budgeting continued to build both HAAR and ValleyMLS.com. And, of course, ValleyMLS.com Chair Cindi Peters-Tanner oversaw the final stages of our partnership with Birmingham.
What you’ll see below in our 2020 Annual report is a recounting of everything we accomplished this year by pulling together, rolling up our sleeves, proving to our community – and perhaps most importantly, ourselves – that we are #MadeToThrive.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your 2020 President. I look forward to continuing my service as 2021 Chair of ValleyMLS.com alongside 2021 President Zelda Friedman, President-elect Isaac Winkles, Vice President Chris Hulser, and Treasurer Tamara Fox.
I join our entire association in wishing you Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!
2020 President, Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS®
ADVANCING THE STRATEGIC PLAN. Last year, HAAR introduced our Strategic Plan and Five Guiding Principles for 2019-2021. This year, we got to work to put this plan into action and let those principles guide our mission to inform, influence and empower a thriving real estate market by focusing on education, advocacy and connections.
January: Low Inventory, Installation, & Advocacy
The year began with a report from ValleyMLS.com and HAAR that the number of active available listings of homes for sale in Madison County dipped below 1,000 at 988 – the lowest figure seen by ValleyMLS.com since 1998 when inventory data was first recorded.
Soon after, 2020 Officers and Directors were inducted as President Sha Jarboe ushered in the year’s theme: Made To Thrive.
HAAR’s advocacy efforts were recognized by the National Association of REALTORS® REALTOR® Party Magazine for our work to support a property tax vote in Madison, Alabama, that would help local schools keep pace with rapid growth in the area.
2020 GALA: INSTALLING FEARLESS AND STEADY LEADERSHIP. In January, we inducted 2020 Officers and Directors, who began preparation for another year of growth for our association, MLS and our industry in North Alabama and beyond. HAAR and ValleyMLS.com are grateful to these members for volunteering their time and talents to our members. As times changed rapidly, our Leaders worked together to responsibly keep our community safe without sacrificing opportunity for REALTOR® success.
The 2019 HAAR Broker Excellence Award was also presented to Elizabeth Cooper-Golden.
LEADERSHIP TEAM. HAAR officers took a hands-on approach to keep lines of communication open in the “new normal” of videoconferencing and virtual meetings. Meeting weekly, the Leadership Team ensured they and HAAR staff remained prepared and nimble to take on new challenges, no matter how short the timeline was presented in front of us.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS. To our 2020 HAAR and ValleyMLS.com Boards of Directors, thank you for your thoughtful approach to managing the association, MLS, and staff, and for your tireless dedication to the success of our communities and real estate market for years to come.
February: Sharing Knowledge, ARPAC, More Advocacy
February marked the first Real Estate Economics Report of the year and saw HAAR honored at the Alabama REALTORS® Capitol Conference for reaching its ARPAC fundraising goal for the first time since 2007.
HAAR also worked to gather information from members and the new construction community on how a potential impact fee in the city of Madison would affect growth, housing prices and the American Dream of owning a home.
Later in the month, after REALTOR Members® mobilized against these potential impact fee and the issue was tabled indefinitely at a City Council meeting by Mayor Paul Finley. Later in the year, REALTOR® Party magazine would again recognize HAAR’s advocacy efforts.
February also saw HAAR’s first and only in-person membership meeting with guest speaker Anita Kirkman.
ECONOMIC REPORTS: SHARING KNOWLEDGE, BRANDED WITH YOUR BUSINESS. This year, HAAR continued our partnership with the UAH College of Business in producing Quarterly Real Estate Economic Reports for our members, elected officials and the general public.
These reports are available to the public but are released early to Brokers, community stakeholders and the membership at large.
In addition to these quarter reports. HAAR and ValleyMLS.com also work to provide monthly “Fast Stats” from across North Alabama as well as a Weekly Real Estate Market Activity Report every Monday.
ELECTING REALTOR® CHAMPIONS. Across nearly 25 county and municipal races, the HAAR Candidate Interview Panel spent countless hours vetting, interviewing and educating candidates running for local office, eventually endorsing REALTOR® Champions that will join us in our fight to protect private property rights and homeownership.
Members and staff will continue our relationship with these REALTOR® Champions – and all elected officials – through our Local Political Coordinator Program.
ENDORSED REALTOR® CHAMPIONS:
- Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle
- Huntsville City Councilmember Devyn Keith
- Huntsville City Councilmember John Meredith
- Madison County Commissioner Dale Strong
- County Commissioner Tom Brandon
- County Commissioner Phil Vandiver
- County Tax Assessor Cliff Mann
- Madison Mayor Paul Finley
- Madison City Councilmember Maura Wroblewski
- Madison City Councilmember Teddy Powell
- Madison City Councilmember Grew Shaw
- Madison City Councilmember John Seifert
- Scottsboro Mayor Jim McCamy
- Tax Collector Valerie Miles
NEVER STOP GROWING. In 2020, HAAR focused on ensuring members and those first joining the association see zero interruption in services. We were proud to achieve our goal, livestreaming our meetings and offering countless remote educational opportunities.
Despite an uncertain year with historically low inventory, hundreds of new REALTORS® were inducted into the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS®.
If you’re afraid you missed out on an event or class, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
March: Clear Cooperation, a Historic Night for ARPAC, and the Beginning of a Virtual Year
As we entered March, our community had no idea the direction 2020 would take and the challenges on the horizon. While we were still able to safely meet in person, HAAR held its first ever Member Happy Hour.
The day before a national emergency was declared in response to rising COVID-19 cases, HAAR hosted what would be the only in-person ARPAC Major Investor Event of the year, which turned out to be the most successful fundraising event in association history.
The reception raised $44,225 featured special guest speaker and Alabama REALTORS® President Morgan Ashurst.
HAAR would begin a work-from-home schedule for staff in Mid-March and begin virtual events in April.
ADAPTING TO CHANGE & PROVIDING UNINTERRUPTED SERVICE TO MEMBERS. HAAR and ValleyMLS.com have worked to adapt to a rapidly-changing world.
- HAAR set up a one-stop-shop for breaking news and updates on the COVID-19 pandemic at HAAR.realtor/covid
- ValleyMLS.com offered extensions to subscribers who needed a little bit more time to pay dues.
- Both the association and MLS worked overtime to find, offer and promote new tools to keep REALTORS® in business while keeping their clients and colleagues safe.
- FREE Zoom classes were provided to ValleyMLS.com subscribers for the entire year.
In only eight months, more than 3,100 attendees took advantage of HAAR & ValleyMLS.com classes, trainings, meetings, forums, orientations and other events via Zoom videoconferencing!
HAAR and ValleyMLS.com Leadership hit the ground running in the opening days of the pandemic, holding a Town Hall with the Huntsville Chamber of Commerce, bringing local leaders to speak directly to our membership, and ensuring relief and resources were being communicated to REALTORS®.
REALTORS IN ACTION. 2020 was the first full year that REALTORS® in Action (RiA) operated as a registered 501(c)3 and contributions are fully tax deductible. Because the majority of our meetings were virtual this year, RiA took a major hit in fundraising and is always in need of support. Click below to learn how to donate to RiA through your dashboard.
CLEAR COOPERATION. The National Association of REALTORS® zeroed in on April 1st, 2020 as the date for the “Clear Cooperation” policy to go into effect. We were proud to report that HAAR and ValleyMLS.com worked to bring the MLS into compliance with this new policy one month early on March 1st.
What is Clear Cooperation? Take a moment to view the videos below from NAR or view ValleyMLS.com’s guide to frequently asked questions on the policy.
April: Virtual Book Club, Broker Forum, more COVID Support
In April, President Sha Jarboe kicked off the inaugural HAARreads, a book club for REALTORS® to discuss a work chosen by HAAR leadership and how it affects their life personally or professionally.
Broker Forums also proceeded uninterrupted, albeit in a virtual format, continuing to provide Brokers the chance to discuss the latest issues impacting the industry and tell HAAR how we can improve services.
As listed above, additional pandemic support was deployed for members, including a dedicated COVID support website, new FREE CE classes for all ValleyMLS.com subscribers, and a toolkit aimed at helping Brokers keep their offices safe.
INDUSTRY AND COMMUNITY-LEADING VOICES THAT INFORM AND INSPIRE. HAAR takes pride in offering members the chance to hear from and interact with our industry’s leading voices. Although 2020 threw us all a curveball, members who attended monthly Membership Meetings experienced the views of Marki Lemons-Rhyal, Brian Copeland, Ziggy Zicarelli, Anita Kirkman, Morgan Ashurst, Mayor Tommy Battle, Mayor Paul Finley, and others.
May: Econ Report, Affiliate Support
In May, REALTORS® geared up for a busy summer while taking advantage of tools and resources at their fingertips to stay safe.
A new program was launched to thank and promote HAAR affiliates for their support during an uncertain and challenging year.
The 2020 1st Quarter Real Estate Economics Report was also released, finding “Supply and Price” driving the market. Because the effects of the pandemic didn’t take hold until mid-March, HAAR would have to wait until the 2nd Quarter report to gauge how much COVID-19 had impacted the industry. At that point, anecdotal success stories led to cautious optimism.
HATE HAS NO HOME HERE. FIGHTING BACK AGAINST DISCRIMINATION, FLEXING OUR FAIR HOUSING MUSCLE. Throughout the year, HAAR has partnered with the National Association of REALTORS® to give members the tools they need to sharpen their skills and become stronger Fair Housing champions:
- HAAR offered an Implicit Bias Training with Kenny Anderson, which is available to replay on the right through December 31st.
- NAR is offering the At Home With Diversity (AHWD, 6 CE hours) designation on January 21st for FREE for the first 150 who sign up for the class. It is only $25 after that. REGISTER TODAY.
- Fairhaven.realtor is a new simulator from NAR that gives REALTORS® the chance to run through real-life situations and sell homes while confronting discrimination.
- NAR will host monthly trainings on Code of Ethics Changes. CLICK HERE to register.
INNOVATIVE EDUCATION. In addition to historic attendance of free CE courses and MLS trainings in 2020, this year, HAAR offered an ambitious new 3-day class that offers agents with 1-3 years experience a kind of “Orientation 2.0” and next-level training with our Right Start class.
Right Start will be taught for the first time beginning February 3rd in 2021. For more information or to register, click to the left or email email@example.com.
June - August: Support During Busy Summer Season
During what is typically the busiest time of the year for REALTORS®, Summer 2020 was particularly active for the majority of our members. As safety precautions kept virtual meetings going, HAAR was thrilled to see increased engagement at Zoom events, particularly for our August Membership meeting, which named REALTOR® of the Year, Affilate of the Year, REALTOR® Emeritus, and more.
HAAR’s Political Advocacy efforts also kicked into high gear as candidates for Municipal races were vetted, endorsed and elected, and our Local Political Coordinator Program launched.
In lieu of in-person meetings planned with President Sha Jarboe and CEO Josh McFall to area brokerages, the budget was moved for these meetings to provide Thank You packages for more than 500 ValleyMLS.com brokers.
ValleyMLS.com’s collaboration with CRS Tax Data went live as the latest new free asset for subscribers.
August also saw another virtual Broker Forum and our first Virtual Membership Meeting, featuring annual awards and special guest speaker Marki Lemons-Rhyal.
Finally, the 2nd Quarter Real Estate Economics Report was released, showing a real estate market #MadeToThrive through the pandemic summer months.
VALLEYMLS.COM BUILDS FINANCIAL STABILITY WHILE PROVIDING SUPPORT TO PARTNER ASSOCIATIONS. In June, the ValleyMLS.com Board of Directors voted to approve $1600 stimulus checks to all six associations while shoring up the MLS with nine months worth of reserves, ensuring Valley can weather any storm and remain available for agents building their business during the pandemic.
EXPANDING HAAR’S POLITICAL ADVOCACY REACH WITH LOCAL POLITICAL COORDINATORS. The first of its kind in Alabama and among the nation’s initial crop of LPC programs organized by local REALTOR® Associations, HAAR’s LPC program is made up of individual HAAR members to assist association leadership in staying ahead of issues before they are enacted.
RECOGNIZING EXTRAORDINARY ACHIEVEMENT, ENGAGEMENT, & LEADERSHIP. During August’s Virtual Membership Meeting, we named Bill Stewart our 2020 REALTOR® of the Year and Lacy Dyar our Affiliate of the Year. We are grateful for the experience, counsel and passion they share with their colleagues and our association every day. Congratulations to both!
REALTOR® OF THE YEAR, BILL STEWART. A HAAR Past President who has been highly involved in local, state and NAR Leadership roles, Bill Stewart was announced as our 2020 REALTOR® of the Year by 2019 ROTY, Sid Pugh.
Bill’s work on virtually every HAAR committee and workgroup imaginable has strengthened our association, North Alabama real estate and our community as a whole. He has mentored countless REALTORS® in his more than twenty years as a Broker.
HAAR congratulates our 2020 REALTOR® of the Year, Bill Stewart. His service to our organization and community cannot be overstated.
AFFILIATE OF THE YEAR, LACY DYAR. Lacy Dyar of Supreme Lending was announced as the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS® 2020 Affiliate of the Year! In his introduction of Lacy, last year’s AOTY, Craig Paulus spoke to the high level of energy and engagement that Lacy has provided to our industry and HAAR over the years.
Lacy’s involvement since 2015 and her work with WCR, on the REALTOR® Expo, and investment in ARPAC only begin to tell the story of a young career that has lifted up our industry and local market.
HAAR congratulates our 2020 Affiliate of the Year, Lacy Dyar, and we thank her for everything she does for our community.
REALTOR® EMERITUS. A REALTOR® Member who has held membership in the National Association as a REALTOR®, REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®, or both, for a cumulative period of forty (40) years, is eligible for REALTOR® Emeritus status.
That’s the definition of REALTOR® Emeritus, but what those who earn this title contribute to our industry and community is beyond words. This year, we were honored to provide Martha Webster and Heide Williams with awards that welcome them into the REALTOR® Emeritus family. Thank you to Martha and Heide for all that they have done for HAAR, Alabama REALTORS® and NAR.
September: Safety Month Takes A New Meaning, Officer Elections
September is annually observed as REALTOR® Safety Month, which took on a new meaning in the face of the pandemic. Throughout the month, HAAR re-doubled its efforts to provide safety tips – related to COVID-19 in addition to the usual innovative ideas and programs offered by the National Association of REALTORS®
Annual Officer Elections saw record-setting voter turnout with more than 1/3 of HAAR members voting. Thank you to everyone who ran for officer positions and volunteering their time to make HAAR stronger in 2021!
ValleyMLS.com, in partnership with Greater Alabama MLS (GAMLS) have announced that data is now fully live and shared across platforms for subscribers of both Multiple Listing Services organizations.
October: Board & State Elections, Implicit Bias Training, Annual Member Meeting
More elections took place in October: 2021 HAAR Board of Directors were elected as were NAR Board & Committee Members and State Directors and other leaders.
October’s virtual member meeting held the usual annual business, giving members the chance to have their voices heard on the budgeting process.
As mentioned above, our Implicit Bias Training course was launched with instructor Kenny Anderson. This course will be a required course in 2021 for all new MLS subscribers.
November: Historic Advertising Efforts, ValleyMLS.com Receives Soaring Grades, New Jackson County Chapter President
While many begin thinking about winding down the year when November rolls around, HAAR, ValleyMLS.com and our members and subscribers operate like we’re just getting started. This month saw the launch of a new advertising campaign for ValleyMLS.com, REALTOR® billboard popping up in Madison County, a flattering report card from ValleyMLS.com subscriber, another Broker Forum and a newly-elected Jackson County Chapter President.
ONE CAMPAIGN TO LIFT UP ALL VALLEYMLS.COM AGENTS. In November, ValleyMLS.com launched a historic advertising campaign that garnered more than 1.3 million impressions across the region in one month.
VALLEYMLS.COM SUBSCRIBERS GIVE SOARING GRADES TO THEIR MLS. In Fall 2020, the WAV Group conducted a Member Satisfaction Survey of ValleyMLS.com subscribers to take an annual pulse of those who use the MLS every day to run their business. The WAV Group received an overwhelming amount of answers in a 30.2% response rate that is almost unheard of in industry standards.
In those responses, ValleyMLS.com and the WAV Group saw a high rate of positive responses as well as a way to improve services for subscribers.
December: Leadership Summit, Spreading Holiday Cheer, Benefits Your HAAR Dues Unlock
Although the month of December is only half over at the time the annual report was posted, we’re proud of the work we expect to see done by year’s end.
The 2020 ValleyMLS.com Leadership Summit was held virtually this year, but we are proud to report no drop-off in attendance as 2019 NAR Vice President of Association Affairs Brian Copeland addressed us virtually on leadership tactics, practical ways to get the most out of a videoconference event, and the all-important message of stomping out discrimination in 2021.
Thank you to Brian for his leadership and taking the time to share his outlook with ValleyMLS.com association partners.
PASSING THE TORCH IN JACKSON COUNTY. The final Jackson County Chapter meeting of 2020 included the election of a new Chapter President for 2021-22, Marty Paulson. We look forward to working with Marty and thank her for her volunteer leadership.
HAAR also would like to send a note of gratitude to Pam Wilks for taking the reins of the Jackson County Chapter for the past two years.
Bright days are ahead for Northeast Alabama and we’re ready to roll up our sleeves!
SPREADING HOLIDAY CHEER! Unfortunately, the annual HAARliday Open House had to be cancelled for COVID related safety precautions.
Although we could not be together for an evening of fun this year, the HAAR Board of Directors authorized the use of the event’s budget to donate to REALTORS® in Action and to provide 250 tickets to members on a first-come, first-serve basis to the 25th anniversary of the Huntsville Botanical Gardens’ Galaxy of Lights! All tickets have been reserved.