Each year, especially around dues billing time, we begin receiving questions from members about what they receive for their $132 per year that goes to HAR for membership. One of the biggest sources of confusion is that HAR sends out the bills on behalf of NAR, TAR and HAR so each member of one must be a member of the other two. The total of all three associations’ dues and mandatory assessments is currently $359 for 2011 (which will rise to at least $399 in 2012 after the passage of the $40 dues increase by NAR). Only $132 of that amount goes to HAR, with $112 being sent to TAR and $155 being sent to NAR in 2012.

It should be noted that HAR’s membership dues have not risen for the last eight years. In fact, when you include the MLS subscriber fees, the total paid by individual agents is $17 less than it was in 1998.

Just to see how we size up with other local associations, HAR recently surveyed some of the larger local REALTOR® associations in the country including: Northern Virginia ($295); Atlanta ($176); and Chicago ($264). As you can tell, HAR’s dues are lower than other large associations and you receive far more benefits than those associations provide to their members. Additionally, the average agent throughout the country pays $38 per month in MLS fees compared to $20 per month in Houston.

In a time when sales are not happening as frequently as they once were, it can be difficult to see the value you receive as a member, but HAR makes every effort to continue to provide cutting-edge tools and services at no additional cost to you. Just this past month, the zipLogix Digital Ink electronic signature product was launched for all HAR members who are MLS or Commercial Information Exchange subscribers. That single benefit saves an individual member between $180 and $300 per year [read more about it in the adjacent article].

In late breaking news, the Board of Directors also just approved providing a free transaction management platform, HAR Electronic Transaction Solution (HAR-ETS), which should be debuted to the membership in the next few months. Look for the information as all the details are determined.

The free member websites, the exposure for your listings to 1.2 million people each month on HAR.com, the savings from not being subjected to frivolous Deceptive Trade Practices Act lawsuits, free MCE classes, free member blogs, etc. All of these things alone could justify your membership dues dollars.

In total, there are more than 80 tools and services provided to HAR members, with new products being rolled out at a dizzying pace. Look for even more exciting services being launched in the next few months that will make your membership in HAR even more of a no brainer.

That being said, many of HAR’s tools have been developed based on feedback from our members about things they wished the association offered. As HAR Chief Technology Officer Taqi Rizvi is often quoted as saying, “We can do anything!”

We will continue to work hard to earn your membership and look forward to helping you become even more successful and efficient in your business. We truly live by the HAR mission statement, which is to help our members achieve ongoing success…all while not raising your HAR dues.