NAR’s 2015 Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo is officially open for business and in full swing! If you’ve never attended this annual event (which many of us still call by the old name – “Mid Year”) you’re missing out. I’ve spoken to Realtors recently who told me they don’t attend the May event because they go to the annual convention in November. I am especially surprised by the number of Realtors in the immediate region – say within a 3-hour drive to DC – who don’t make an effort to see what the event is all about. The two events are similar in some ways (both feature a trade show and committee meetings) but they have very different focuses and attendee mix. Here’s three quick reasons to attend the May meetings:
1. KNOWLEDGE – There is a wealth of knowledge at both the Legislative Meetings and the annual convention for you to absorb. While the May meetings don’t have the volume of courses that take place at November’s convention, designations such as CRS and WCR offer educational opportunities for their members. The information to be found here in May is updates on what’s going on legislatively at a national level, and what’s going on in NAR’s committees. Many meetings are open to all members, with the few closed meetings designated in the attendee packet. If you have any interest in laws that affect real estate and our profession, sit in on the meetings here and even join the groups as they visit Capitol Hill to talk with our legislators.
2. NEW TECHNOLOGY & TOOLS – The trade show is a scaled down version of the November trade show, but there is still plenty to do here in May. The trade show vendors include NAR affiliates, vendor partners, and more. Lenders, software companies, and other groups give away the traditional “swag” in hopes of bending your ear for a few minutes. Take the time to see what these groups are offering, and you might pick up a new tool you can use to help you do business. I like to take a look at the vendor list and booth layout before walking into the trade show area, so I know which vendors in particular I want to be sure to visit. Having a “hit list” helps me prioritize my schedule in case I get stuck at one booth and run out of time.
3. THE PEOPLE – All of the above reasons to attend NAR’s May meetings are great, but my number one reason for driving over 3 hours to attend is simple: the people. Where else can you mix and mingle with some of the top minds in real estate simply by walking into the lobby of one of the hosting hotels? Don’t feel like sitting in on the committee meetings or lobbying on Capitol Hill? No problem. Grab a cup of coffee and park yourself in the lobby of the hotels where the meetings take place, and people watch. Watch for faces you know (even if it’s just from Facebook or reading someone’s blog) and be open to meeting new real estate friends. Last year while waiting for Realtor University’s Master of Real Estate graduation ceremony to begin I spent a few hours in the lobby of the Omni Shoreham – and met dozens of fascinating Realtors from across the country. Some nickname this “Lobby Con” (as in working the convention in the lobby) – and it can be just as enjoyable as the convention itself, for me at least.
I’m finishing packing my bags now. If you’re in DC, message me to meet up and say hi. I’ll likely be parked in the lobby at the Omni or the Wardham on Wednesday and Thursday, making my own meet and greet event.