Realtor associations in the central San Joaquin Valley are merging to provide members and clients with better services while meeting new national operating standards.
The Tulare County Association of Realtors and the Orange Belt Board of Realtors, based in Porterville, are joining forces. The Fresno Association of Realtors and the Yosemite Gateway Association of Realtors, based in Oakhurst, will become one as well.
There has been a feeling over the past five years that the Tulare and Orange Belt groups, which have members in common, should join to provide Realtors with accurate real estate information and data from the Multiple Listing Services which would better serve clients in the area, said Darcy Staberg, president of the Tulare County board.
The merger “has been in the works for three years,” Staberg said. “We’ve been talking, planning and meeting and this past year each board took it to their membership and it’s been approved.”
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The Tulare County association has 865 members and 1,200 Multiple Listing Service members. Orange Belt has 169 members.
The Fresno group has about 3,000 members and will gain about 115 members from Yosemite Gateway as a result of the merger.
“The Fresno Realtors are super excited to have the Yosemite Gateway members as part of our Realtor members,” said Patrick Prince, president of the Fresno Association’s board.
The National Association of Realtors in 2014 passed new “core standards” or requirements for local and state associations to follow in the areas of ethics, advocacy, consumer outreach, unification, technology, and financial solvency. Groups that do not meet the requirements could have their charters revoked. Mergers were expected.
California saw mergers before and after the new codes went into effect, said Joel Singer, chief executive officer for the California Association of Realtors. “Most of the mergers are fueled by a desire to provide better member services. Having more resources allows you to provide better services.”
A handful of California associations merged last year. So far this year, two mergers have been completed and Singer expects up to two more by the end of the year.