NAR halts ‘presidential initiatives’ for next 2 years amid turmoil

The trade group will not take on pet projects for the duration of NAR President Kevin Sears’ tenure, which is slated to last until November 2025, he told NAR’s Board of Directors Wednesday morning.

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The National Association of Realtors is winding down a financial education program for high schoolers and halting presidential initiatives until at least the end of 2025, according to an announcement emailed to its board of directors Wednesday morning.

In the email, NAR President Kevin Sears said NAR had decided to “pause any further presidential initiatives for the duration of my tenure as NAR President.”

Sears stepped into the role of president in January after former NAR President Tracy Kasper resigned; Kasper herself took on the role after former NAR President Kenny Parcell resigned in August. If Sears, as is currently expected, serves both Kasper’s tenure and his own, that means that NAR would not be taking on any pet projects spearheaded by its president until at least November 2025.

Sears also announced NAR’s Leadership Team had unanimously voted to wind down the 1.5-million member trade group’s Ignite Others initiative, a program in which Realtors would teach local youth about financial literacy. The program was meant to officially kick off this year under Kasper’s tenure, according to an August 2023 announcement.

The moves come as NAR, the real estate industry’s most powerful trade group, deals with fallout from scandals, multiple lawsuits, the departure of several high-profile leaders and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. Earlier this month, Sears told hundreds of agents at an industry conference that the DOJ is going to be a “bigger problem” for brokers and agents than a multibillion-dollar verdict against NAR in an antitrust commission suit tried in October known as known as Sitzer | Burnett.

According to Sears’ email on Wednesday, the decision to end Ignite Others was “based on direct feedback from our members” and a desire to “refocus” on NAR’s core programs.

“As you know, there are many challenges facing our profession today, and the Leadership Team and I have been engaged in extensive discussions with members to understand their feedback and concerns,” Sears said.

“We hear you and are taking action to meet your needs. Now more than ever is the time to refocus our efforts on the basics – NAR’s core programs and supporting our members where they are most demanding our help.”

“The spirit of the [Ignite Others] program and many of its resources will continue on in other core NAR programs,” he added.

KevinSears InitiativesAnnouncementToNARBOD 02142024

Screenshot of NAR President Kevin Sears’ Feb. 14, 2024 email to the NAR board of directors

Sears noted that members who have begun applications to participate in the program will be able to complete them and those already trained and ready will be able to complete their high school visits as planned. In addition, Sears said local associations will be able to apply for Ignite Others event grants until Friday, February 23, but no further funding requests will be considered after that date.

Inman has reached out to NAR to ask why this particular program and all presidential initiatives are being halted and if the changes are an attempt to cut costs. We will update this story if and when responses are received.

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

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