Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

To many people, airplane time is down time. Catch up on some reading, watch a movie, anything to distract yourself from the cramped feeling you get when the person in front of you reclines their seat. As President of CREA and resident of St. John's, Newfoundland, I travel constantly, so airplane time is quiet work time, something that is hard to find lately with all that's going on. In fact, I am writing this on a flight to Ottawa.

The upside of all the travel is that I get to meet REALTORS® and real estate leaders from across Canada. In 2014 this was especially true as we launched a new initiative to connect CREA with members on the street, called CREA Open House.

As REALTORS® we are in a face-to-face business.  Our clients are best served when we build a relationship and get to know their concerns and aspirations. I love that our national association also recognizes this through its Open House by meeting with REALTORS® and leadership in their own backyard. It's the best way to understand members' needs and concerns, and learn how CREA can better serve them. Indeed, this fall we met with REALTORS® in all four western provinces and look forward to meeting members in the rest of the country this winter and next spring and fall.

We address a number of topical issues at these member-to-member meetings, but two of the most prominent are new or updated CREA products and services. For example, the new and improved REALTOR.ca is now fully functional and is being very well received by consumers with over 27.5 million visits in the month of May alone. A new milestone! 

Downloads of our REALTOR.ca app continue to grow exponentially and if you don't use it yourself to see exactly what the consumer sees and track statistics on your listings, then you are overlooking a great service.  Get it here.

One of our newest member services is our online lobbying tool - the REALTOR® Action Network (RAN). It's unique in Canada, we are the only national association with such a well-developed and customized product. RAN is a grassroots program that allows individual REALTORS® to influence government policy.

It's critical that you join, since RAN only works when REALTORS® from across Canada actively participate and join. It provides a direct line from you to your Member of Parliament (MP) and leverages the strength of our membership to effect change. As the daughter of a former MP and Cabinet Minister, I can tell you there is nothing more compelling than receiving multiple communications from your own constituents, people who vote for you and are active in the community. The RAN is an incredibly powerful tool but its success depends on numbers. The more REALTORS® who join, the stronger we are.
Please take the time right now to add your voice and sign-up.

In under two minutes you can give a wonderful gift to our team in Ottawa working on your behalf on issues like Anti-Spam, FINTRAC and the Home Buyers' Plan.

As my plane descends I look back on the year with a deep appreciation for the opportunity to work on your behalf. It's been a unique pleasure to meet so many of you and see how engaged you are, not just selling real estate, but volunteering to improve the quality of life in towns and cities across the country. On behalf of the CREA Board of Directors and staff I would like to wish you all the very best for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year…..and as we say in Newfoundland "long may your big jib draw!"

Beth