Association Profile Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS

Association

Established in 1886, SPAAR was the first REALTOR association in Minnesota. SPAAR welcomes more than 6,000 members and spans 11 counties in the Twin Cities metro area, from Mille Lacs to Rice.

Better Agents | Better Communities 
In 2010, SPAAR completed a merger with the Southern Twin Cities Association of REALTORS. In 2011, they merged with the North Metro REALTORS Association. With combined services, resources and memberships, the resulting association was one not only of deep history and tradition – but of strength and influence.

In May 2013, SPAAR began its journey to put that newly enhanced influence to good use with a new identity and strategy for helping members succeed. Born of the new identity was the tagline “Better Agents | Better Communities” – four words that have shaped the way SPAAR motivates members to perform at their highest levels in both business and the places in which they live and work.

To provide the best possible service to their members, they had to rethink their strategic goals. From that process, SPAAR created four pillars by which to ensure success.

The Pillars of SPAAR
Advocacy – One of the most important services SPAAR provides to its members is advocacy. The association has a government affairs committee comprised of volunteer members and association staff who work together to protect the rights of homeowners and support housing-related issues at the local, state and national levels.

Communication – It’s well-known that we don’t have much if we can’t communicate with one another. At SPAAR, that same idea is true, but they also focus on making sure communication is as effective and efficient as possible. The association values communication both internally and externally. They send out targeted emails to get their messages to members, in addition to calls, letters, word-of-mouth and many other avenues. In addition, they encourage members to engage in effective communication with consumers. SPAAR also sends messaging to the public via monthly news releases that speak to the vitality of the local housing market.

Community Engagement – Getting involved on a community level became one of SPAAR’s main goals over the past year. They have developed and implemented a multifaceted service program to engage members and to create a positive public image for SPAAR. The community engagement committee and a diversity task force are always looking for new opportunities for SPAAR to improve communities in its jurisdiction. SPAAR awards a grant each year, donates to numerous charitable organizations and provides scholarships to children or grandchildren of REALTOR members. SPAAR has two charities itself – The SPAAR Charitable Foundation and Toys for Joy. Together, the two groups are the driving force behind many of their charitable efforts.

Professional Development – SPAAR is positioning itself as members’ provider of choice for education through easily accessible, highly valuable and fairly priced educational opportunities. They offer relevant classes that enhance the members’ ability to conduct their business in an ethical and professional manner. This year, SPAAR has developed a class for members called, “REALTOR Professionalism in an Online World.” The class is offered for free to members as a benefit of belonging to the association.

Service Highlights at SPAAR
Customer Service
– At SPAAR, they believe in real humans answering phones. Their membership staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and always willing to help guide members. They pride themselves on connecting with members. Customer service has long been a highlight of SPAAR’s efforts to provide the best possible experience for members.

Market Statistics – Both weekly and monthly, SPAAR delivers housing market reports to members and to the public. SPAAR sends a news release to local media each month that breaks down the numbers and explains what they mean for their members’ business and for the economy in general.

SPAAR Squad – This year, SPAAR implemented a new service in which association staff travel to broker offices to present various news and information relevant to members, free of charge. Topics range from public policy updates and market statistical tools to upcoming education and Supra lockboxes. The initiative has been extremely successful. Staff also collects survey results following each meeting to evaluate the experience. So far, every single SPAAR Squad visit has been well received with high marks on the surveys.

Member Appreciation Days – Each month, SPAAR holds a Member Appreciation Day on a Friday in which members can often enjoy free food paired with a particular service, also offered to members for free. Some noteworthy Member Appreciation Days this year have included a Tech Dump, Shred Day and a Flu Shot Clinic. In October, SPAAR held a Member Appreciation event for members to come paint pumpkins that were donated to a local children’s hospital.

Online Web Portal – SPAAR converted to a new, Web-based membership system this year. With this new system, members can access an online profile through a Web portal where they can update their information, add a photo, select their area of business to be displayed in the member directory and more. Since the system is Web-based, members no longer have to wait for staff to make changes to their information. Members can simply update their online profile in just a few clicks any time, day or night.

Volunteer Opportunities – While SPAAR provides many opportunities for members to volunteer throughout each year, one of the most successful efforts this year was the REALTOR Habitat for Humanity build held in August. SPAAR members joined together in teams of 15 for a week to help build a home for someone in need. This build week was a great showcase of our members’ compassion for others.

Looking Ahead
In 2015, SPAAR will look to provide even more value for REALTORS. A few upcoming projects will target the community aspect of buying and selling homes from a consumer standpoint. They have also made it a priority to promote the value of using a REALTOR to consumers, highlighting the important ethical and professional advantage of a REALTOR versus simply a real estate agent.

SPAAR’s successful use of video in 2014 to promote upcoming programs and deliver important messages will continue next year. SPAAR will also provide a video on the annual market statistics report that includes metrics for the entire year.

Encouraging members to engage with their communities will continue to be a goal for SPAAR in 2015. SPAAR’s community engagement department will play a big role in connecting members with various volunteer opportunities throughout their large jurisdiction.

Overall, members are at the heart of SPAAR’s mission. They do whatever they can to improve the success of the people who choose to let SPAAR be a part of their business.