The following is a list of Questions and Answers pertaining to the upcoming 2012 Dues Bill that will be emailed to Realtors around August 26th. Your 2012 LIBOR dues bill is to be paid by September 30th.
Q. What will the “bottom line” be on the bill?
A: $585.00 compared to $540.00 last year.
Q: Who approves the dues and any increases?
A: The Budget and Finance Committees of both LIBOR and MLSLI reviewed the projected expenses and revenues on a line by line basis. It was then reviewed by the Leadership (the two Executive Committees). It was then reviewed with the Boards of Directors and they formally approved them.
Q: Who serves on these bodies?
A: All the Committee members and Directors are experienced Realtors with diverse backgrounds and frankly, diverse points of view, who volunteer their time on your behalf. Almost 150 Realtors were involved in the process.
Q: What goes into the bill we’re going to get?
A: There are four main components to the bill.
The NAR assessment $155.00 per licensee in the Board
The NYSAR assessment $90.00 per licensee
The LIBOR portion $230.00 (Funds all operations/services)
The MLS agent licensee fee $92.00 (This is passed through to MLSLI)
RPAC (voluntary) $18.00
“Bottom Line” $585.00
Q: What changed from last year?
A: NAR increased by $40.00
NYSAR stayed the same. (It was increased $20.00 last year.)
The LIBOR portion increased $40.00
The MLS licensee fee decreased $28.00.
RPAC suggested investment decreased $7.00.
Q: Why did the Board have to go up $40.00?
A: For 2012, the Board could no longer subsidize the bill out of Reserves as it did in past years and the increase would have been closer to $30.00 if there has been no 2011subsidy. Starting in 2009, the Directors authorized using $2,000,000 from Reserves to hold down the overall dues for members.
Q. Why can’t they be subsidized again?
A: After subsidizing dues for the past three years, the Board has only one month’s operating expenses in its Reserves.
Q: Couldn’t Board expenses be reduced.
A: Over the past six years, Board expenses were continually pruned to hold down costs. The 2012 Expense budget is only 2.3% more than it was six years ago and the Directors insured that we were still able to provide a full range of programs, services and information.
Q: Still, why what seems to be a large increase?
A: The real problem faced is revenue. The 2012 budget was conservatively based on 19,000 members while the current budget was based on 22,500 which means that there is $700,000 less projected revenue.
Q: Suppose the budget was set up to be less conservative?
A: Projecting 20,000 members would only have lowered the “bottom line” by $10.00.
Q: Why were they so conservative?
A: They really weren’t. They looked at the trend and responded prudently. It’s been gradually declining. Mid year in 2008 was 25,887; 2009 was 23,975; 2010 was 22,472 and this year was 21,060.
Q: What about the size of the staff?
A: The staff is now at its lowest level since 2005.
Q: How do LIBOR dues compare to other Boards?
A: Generally lower, due to the economies of scale and our operating efficiencies. But it’s hard to compare because some Boards offer more services than others. For instance LIBOR has three Realtor Service Centers for member convenience in taking courses or for computer training. LIBOR also has an increasingly popular Legal Help Line where members may speak to an experienced real estate attorney on issues affecting their business.
Q: Are there any new programs that can help us?
A: We’re scheduling two free programs with Brian Buffini and we’re working on bringing in Terry Watson for three programs at a bargain price. We’ll also see a redesign of LIRealtor.com which will make locating critical information and updates easier to find.
Q: Why did the portion for MLS decrease from $120.00 to $92.00?
A: The MLS Board of Directors has been committed to gradually re-establishing a proper level of reserves and has budgeted accordingly in recent years. However, they decided not to plan tofund reserves in the 2012 budget. This reduction was passed on to the agents.
Q: How does $92.00 compare to other MLS’s agent fees?
A: There is a wide variation but across the country the average is about $35.00 a month or $420.00 a year.
Q: What about owner-brokers?
A: Each pays $160.00 per office per month. Owner brokers account for 55% of MLS revenue and agents contribute 30%. In MLSs where agents pay higher monthly fees, there is no, or only a minimal office fee to owner brokers.
Q: What about the RPAC line?
A: It was set at $18.00 compared to last years’ $25.00. It’s now approximately a nickel a day.
Q: Does five cents a day really make a difference?
A: Absolutely. If every Realtor gave a nickel a day, we’d raise almost $350,000 which we’ll definitely need in the fight to preserve the Mortgage Interest Deduction!
Q: Lastly, can I finance my dues bill so I can pay it off over time?
A: The Long Island Realtors Federal Credit Union is offering members an Exclusive Dues Loan Program that makes paying them more affordable. Contact: 631-661-4800 ext. 371 or visit
www.lirfcu.com for details.