NAR Live Blog: Kmiecik named Region 7 VP

Illinois REALTOR® named to regional post

John C. Kmiecik was named Region 7 vice president at a NAR board meeting on May 17, 2013. Photo by Ann Londrigan.

John C. Kmiecik was elected Region 7 Vice president. Region 7 includes Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

First vice president candidates tout strengths; voting begins

Florida REALTOR® Tom Salomone touted his passion and experience in his bid to become NAR first vice president.

“It’s our job, our responsibility and our obligation to work together to fight for the livelihoods of our members,” Salomone said as he addressed the NAR Board of Directors meeting.

Pennsylvania REALTOR® Jim Helsel noted that the race was not about how much money a candidate can spend on campaign items such as water bottles and text messages, but about making a difference in the industry.

“We need to connect with our members in a more relevant way than we do now,” Helsel said.

He added that the association must listen to supporters and critics, and that it “must respond with strategies that keep our membership strong.”

Thanks from NY, NJ REALTORS®: Representatives from two of the states hardest hit by Super Storm Sandy thanked the board of directors for their generous donations in the wake of the disaster.

Discussion of’s next steps;
Special meeting on next steps called in July 

A major topic at the meeting today was a discussion on altering the content included on

The site, which is now ranked third for home searches, according to data, needs to expand its offerings, said Cathy Whatley, 2003 NAR president.

“We need to give content flexibility,” she said in the meeting where a motion was presented for a special board meeting to consider options “to enrich and broaden the user experience on”

The board agreed with the motion. It will meet in executive session in Chicago at the end of July to consider the next steps.

“I am not afraid to compete.” Whatley said of changing the content model for the site. President Errol Samuelson also pushed for expanded content to allow the site to better compete.

As he put it: “These are not ordinary times. ”

Samuelson said has updated its homepage, added an updated mobile app, and enhanced search capability.

But he noted that there are some areas where is lagging, specifically in the rental and new housing market. Competitors have aggressively added rental information and homes for sale by owner. That makes it appear as if is not as comprehensive as other home search sites.

Three quarters of people looking for a home bypass a REALTOR® at the outset of the home-buying process and go to the Internet. Samuelson said it was important in this environment where competitors have additional data to make sure that consumers differentiate between REALTORS® and non-REALTORS®.

Samuelson noted Zillow’s aggressive moves in the market. The company has announced a $30 million brand-building campaign, and he noted that the company is trying to change the public’s perception of what the real estate experience should be.

Can respond and thrive?

“We are up to the challenge,” Samuelson said. “We are capable of winning. We need to be sure we are up to meeting the consumer needs of today.”

Tom Salomone wins First Vice President for NAR

Vote just announced: Salomone wins 344 to 337 over Jim Helsel.

Both candidates appeared before IAR’s Executive Committee at the Capitol Conference in April.



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About Jon Broadbooks

Jon Broadbooks is Vice President/Communications for Illinois REALTORS®. He serves as editor of online and print content for the association’s communications including the Illinois REALTOR® magazine and e-newsletters. He conducts spokesperson training seminars and oversees website development for the Association.

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