Throughout my year as GCAR president, I often was asked about the purpose of the association. In response, I shared about the services GCAR provides to aide in the success of our members. But more importantly, I focused on the association’s advocacy efforts on behalf of consumers to protect and promote private property rights. With each of these conversations, I found that many are unaware of all that the association does. GCAR is much more than a social club for Realtors; GCAR is a player in the Greater Chattanooga community. As we close out the year, let’s recap the highlights of 2015.
For starters, we updated our logo to incorporate the Realtor R. Drawing on the power of the Realtor brand, GCAR is better positioned as “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” Not only do we provide key services for our members, we also are engaged in issues impacting current and future property owners. Numerous times throughout the year, GCAR leadership was called upon to share the Realtors’ perspective. Topics included the local housing market, stormwater regulations, homeowners associations, PILOT programs, and property taxes, to name a few of our areas of expertise.
Another way GCAR make its voice heard is by members investing in the Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC). In 2015, local Realtors invested nearly $50,000 for RPAC. These funds are used in a bi-partisan manner following interviews to identify candidates whose philosophies are consistent with and supportive of the concepts of private property rights. In addition to talking regularly with local, state, and national elected officials, we regularly communicate with Realtors about the importance of acting – i.e., responding to calls for action, registering to vote, and then exercising their right to vote. At last count, close to 100 percent of local Realtors had registered to vote.
In response to the July 16 shootings, some of which took place less than two miles from GCAR’s office, our leadership was compelled to act. GCAR donated $10,000 to the Chattanooga Heroes Fund, established by NFL quarterback Peyton Manning to help support the families of those who were killed and wounded in the attack on the U.S. Navy Reserve Center.
In late November, GCAR took an important step as a property owner – we paid off our building. This is no small feat, given that we’ve been at the 2963 Amnicola Highway location for only 10 years. With the building debt paid in full, we are in a solid financial position to continue to enhance member services and enrich our partnerships with local organizations.
One of the ways in which we’re investing in our members is through our revamped leadership development program. Set to kick off in mid-February 2016, the GCAR Leadership Academy will provide selected participants with tools and a knowledge-based foundation to motivate and empower them for serving in a local leadership position.
Another big effort underway is our partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga. Realtors volunteers have worked for the last several months to finalize details for a Habitat fundraiser to be held on April 11 at Black Creek. The fundraiser will be open to the public and includes a golf tournament, wine tasting, and silent auction. We currently seek sponsorships, golfers, and silent auction items.
My main goal this year was to leave the association better and stronger. We’ve accomplished a lot, and it’s been a team effort by those who have served alongside me on the board and on various committees and work groups. As we enter 2016, I’m excited about all that is yet to happen for our members and the Greater Chattanooga community. Shortly after this article goes to print, I will pass the gavel to 2016 President Nathan Walldorf. I’m confident Nathan’s year will be filled with many more accomplishments to better our profession and the rights of all property owners.
The Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS is “The Voice of Real Estate in Greater Chattanooga.” The Association is a regional organization with more than 1,500 members, and is one of more than 1,400 local boards and associations of REALTORS nationwide that comprise the National Association of REALTORS. The Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS services Hamilton and Sequatchie counties in southeast Tennessee, and Catoosa, Dade, and Walker counties in northwest Georgia. For more information, visit www.gcar.net.