2019 was a year of unprecedented growth, change and success for the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS®, our members, ValleyMLS.com and its subscribers. Board President Cindi Peters-Tanner’s theme to #MakeItHappen was the guiding philosophy of the year. From REALTORS® to Brokers, from Officers and Directors to association staff, we undertook bold projects that weren’t always easy and required us all to roll up our sleeves overcome the challenges ahead of us. We’re proud of what we accomplished this year and we’re thrilled to bring you this look back at 2019.
THE STRATEGIC PLAN. In June 2019, HAAR unveiled our Five Principles for 2019-2021. As our new mission statement explains, HAAR informs, influences, and empowers a thriving real estate market by focusing on education, advocacy and connections.
To reach that goal every day, we’re zeroing in on five foundational qualities of what it takes to succeed in the industry: knowledge, professionalism, housing, community and efficiency.
STEADY LEADERSHIP IN A YEAR OF CHANGE. In January, we inducted 2019 Officers and Directors, who embarked on a busy, ambitious year that moved forward our association, MLS and industry at large. HAAR and ValleyMLS.com are grateful to these members for their selfless service and volunteerism.
Thank you to our leadership team for your steady leadership, innovative approach in guiding us through 2019, and making this year the incredible journey that it was.
To our Board of Directors, thank you for your passion, thoughtfulness and relentless dedication to the success of HAAR and ValleyMLS.com.
ECONOMIC REPORTS THAT SHARE KNOWLEDGE. 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. We also released a special report that compares the Huntsville Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) to 16 other comparable MSAs throughout the country. What the special report found was that our communities in North Alabama maintains a favorable, more affordable cost-of-living than most others in the nation. Every economic report can be viewed in our archive by CLICKING HERE.
RECOGNIZING EXTRAORDINARY ENGAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP. At Burrit on the Mountain during our largest Membership Meeting of the year, we named Sid Pugh our 2019 REALTOR® of the Year and Craig Paulus our Affiliate of the Year. We are grateful for the experience and counsel they share with HAAR and their fellow members each and every day. Congratulations to both!
INDUSTRY-LEADING VOICES. HAAR takes pride in offering members the chance to hear from and interact with our industry’s leading voices. In 2019, Jackie Leavenworth, Valerie Garcia, Ron Phipps, Leigh York, Clint Skutchan and more brought lively and energetic presentations to our membership.
A HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP. This year, ValleyMLS.com and Greater Alabama MLS, serving the Huntsville and Birmingham Regional areas respectively, announced a historic partnership in an effort to better serve their subscribers. The collaboration allows the two MLSs to share data across platforms, showcasing homes from across all of central and north Alabama to agents and consumers.
By combining our efforts, we now offer a service where consumers can view more than 100,000 homes for sale in the state.
NEVER STOP GROWING. HAAR made 2019 another innovative and productive year in education and career development. Over 12 months, 521 new REALTORS® were inducted. We began to livestream free trainings on our public Facebook page and archived them at HAAR.realtor. We offered MLS Training Sessions, Lunch & Learns, Code of Ethics trainings, and countless other opportunities for members to develop their career at the HAAR School of Real Estate.
THE BROKER SUMMIT. In August, we offered another unique opportunity to area Brokers to learn, share their collective expertise, and attend a wide array of panels on every facet of our industry. Exclusively for ValleyMLS.com managing or qualified brokers, the 2019 Broker Summit in August featured presentations from nationally recognized voices in our industry, including Jackie Leavenworth, as well as local experts in Legal Affairs Regulatory Affairs, Property Management, Advocacy, Wire Fraud, Real Estate Technology and more. This intensive day of learning was a huge success for our community and we look forward to offering more experiences like these in the years to come.
JACKSON COUNTY. 2019 saw more engagement with HAAR’s Jackson County Chapter and the development of infrastructure to lift up communities in the region. Thank you to Jackson County Chapter Pam Wilks for her leadership, and to all of those who participated in our Quarterly Meetings and holiday party!
SUPPORTING OUR STUDENTS. On September 10th, voters went to the polls to support the growing community and thriving real estate market in Madison. The ballot initiative, which provided increased support for new schools and improvements to existing facilities, passed overwhelmingly with 71% of the vote. HAAR mobilized its members and consumers earlier in the year, winning a $50,000 grant from NAR to support the vote, and worked with Alabama REALTORS® on a campaign to get Madison residents to the polls.
In December, Huntsville held a similarly important vote that would ensure property taxes collected in areas where the city has grown into Limestone and Morgan counties would directly go to area schools. This local vote passed as well, with heavy support from HAAR and its membership.
MEETING OUR GOALS. For the first time in more than a decade, HAAR exceeded its ARPAC investment goal due in large part to a wildly successful event in September. The ARPAC Luau featured a Tacky Tourist Contest, authentic Hawaiian food and drink, a Cocktail Competition, and more fun for attendees.
As of December 1, HAAR members invested a total of $89,592.65 into ARPAC, representing 102% of our goal. Almost twice as many Major Investors stepped up this year as well, as our 2018 number of 15 jumped to 28 in 2019. The majority of these investments stay in North Alabama and help protect the interests of REALTORS®, homeownership, and private property rights.
LEADING THE WAY IN MONTGOMERY. In October, Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS® candidates for Alabama REALTORS® Board of Directors and Executive Committee were elected as HAAR accounted for more votes than any other large association in the state.
Congratulations to our new State Directors and Executive Committee member! We are thrilled at the amplified voice HAAR will have in Montgomery in 2020 and we are grateful for your continued service to our industry, as well as our state and local associations.
CONNECTING REALTORS WITH AFFILIATES TO LIFT UP OUR ENTIRE INDUSTRY. Our largest REALTOR® Expo yet offered HAAR members the opportunity to network and connect with local businesses that support the regional real estate industry. From lawn care to mortgage lending, home staging, appliances, law firms, moving companies and more, thank you to our affiliates for their enthusiastic participation in this incredible event!
CLEAR COOPERATION. In November, NAR’s Board of Directors approved MLS Statement 8.0, also known as the Clear Cooperation policy. The policy requires listing brokers who are participants in a multiple listing service to submit their listing to the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public. HAAR’s Board approved the adoption of this policy with an April 1, 2020 implementation date. Find out more information and ask questions directly to NAR by CLICKING HERE.
GIVING BACK. For our Day of Service, REALTORS® dedicated their time to food kitchens, the National Childrens Advocacy Center, and other non-profits to give back to the community that has provided so much to our industry and members. Thank you to David and Carrie Howard for their leadership with Realtors in Action.
USER-FRIENDLY AND BETTER FUNCTIONALITY. HAAR unveiled a revamped website in November to offer members a clearer understanding of the services we offer and a more user-friendly experience. With a heightened focus on news and delivering information to REALTORS® in real-time, the upgraded HAAR.realtor contains more information on association events, MLS features and breaking news from NAR.
BECOMING BETTER LEADERS AND BUILDING BETTER ASSOCIATIONS. Our final major event of the year brought 2011 NAR President Ron Phipps to our 4th annual Leadership Summit, presented by ValleyMLS.com. For the first time in its history, we opened registration for the event to all ValleyMLS.com subscribers, not only local association executives and elected leaders. Attendees were also treated to lunch and an hour of entertainment from local Huntsville comedians.
HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES. Our HAARliday Open House was held earlier than usual this year, and partygoers were treated to an evening of live music, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and comradery. We so thankful for our members, their engagement and the work they do to help grow our communities in North Alabama.
Thank you to our members, affiliates, leadership, staff and all who made this year the success that it was. Here’s to an even better 2020 and beyond!