Realtors, a lot like the wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood," tend to have unfavorable reputations.
The Sequim Association of Realtors' new board of directors, installed in December, is stepping forward to set the record straight.
"There is a lot of stuff said that puts Realtors in a negative light, so people as a whole get a distorted view of who we are, what we do and what we are about," said David Sharman, Realtors association president and Windermere Real Estate Sequim East designated broker. "We are not just a bunch of land snatchers and buck grabbers. One of our primary issues is to improve quality of life, not destroy it."
The association, which includes more than 190 agents and 22 real estate companies and offices, donates thousands of dollars to the community each year. In 2007, one company alone contributed $150,000.
"Our membership is the fabric of the Sequim community," Sharman said. "There is not an event or meeting or fundraiser that one of our people isn't a part of. Relay For Life, the Boys & Girls Clubs, the senior center, Toys for Tots .... It'd be easier to single out what we don't support."
"The Realtors contribute a great deal to the Port Angeles and Sequim communities," he continued. "We don't do it for the glory, we do it so people can enjoy a better quality of life."
Each agent has his or her own reasons for donating time and services.
"I feel like I have a responsibility to my community," Sharman said. "This community is really good to me and the people in it are good people. It makes me feel good to do my part."
Members of the association come from all professions and walks of life, from retired Boeing engineers and teachers to helicopter pilots and Ph.D.s - not to mention the younger agents who grew up in the field or who knew from an early age they wanted to work in real estate.
"It continues to amaze me the brilliance of the average Realtor," Sharman said. "As a whole, the group is well educated because a lot of us are on second careers."
Kurt Schneider, the association's public relations chairman, supports Sharman's assertions.
"... there is a code of ethics among Realtors that a lot of people don't realize exists," Schneider said. "We look out for the best interest of people buying and selling homes and property and living in the community, and that is the way it should be."
Being a part of the association unites agents toward the community good.
"Each Realtor is in business for themselves under the umbrella of their brokerage," Sharman explained, "but we are all a part of Sequim and we all spend our money throughout the community. We are fortunate enough to be able to give back. How lucky does that make us?" he asked.
The association isn't just for Realtors, either. Individuals and businesses can join as affiliate members or simply stay up to date about the group's efforts by going online to www.
"We are not a secret organization. If somebody has a concern or question, they are more than welcome to contact us," Sharman encouraged. "Our intention is to increase public awareness of who we are and what we are about and work more closely with the community. We want to be a conduit for real estate information because people ask us every day, 'How is the market?' If we can provide good, real information that relates to our area, I think our market and community will both be stronger."
For more information, call administrative executive Gina Velaske at 681-5036.
The Sequim Gazette is located at 147 W. Washington Street in Sequim.
Business hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Phone 360-683-3311, or toll free at 800-829-5810. FAX 360-683-6670.
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