The Maine Association of REALTORS was founded and organized under the name of REAL ESTATE DEALERS OF MAINE in 1936. The Association has undergone a number of name changes since then including the Maine Real Estate Association, the Maine Association of Real Estate Boards (1950’s), and finally in 1971, the Maine Association of REALTORS.
The moving force behind the Association’s organization was a major legislative proposal involving property taxation. Throughout 1936, the new organization focused its attention on organizational and legislative activities. Total membership at year-end: 48; Dues: $5.00; Slogan: “Ethics, Economy, and Service”.
During the next few years the Association focused on legislative and educational objectives and actively promoted membership. While the Association’s major legislative effort was lobbying passage ofMaine’s real estate license law in 1937, property taxation continued to be an issue of importance and concern. In addition to participating in the State ofMaine’s World’s Fair exhibit, the Association organized and conducted its first formal education program in 1939. In 1940 the Association’s primary goal was to organize local boards of REALTORSâ throughout the state. 1940 also marked the year that the Association published its first membership newsletter. The Association actively supported FDR’s war effort and worked with theU.S.military and state government to further the housing objectives of the Roosevelt Administration. In 1943, the Association’s Directors voted to discontinue meeting for the duration of the war in an effort to conserve fuel; responsibilities for mobilizing housing objectives were assigned to the respective boards.
Post WWII Federal housing objectives were not supported with the same fervor as the war years objectives, and the Association opposed public housing and slum clean-up programs; however, the GI bill was ardently supported. The major campaign of 1945 was a cooperative effort by the Association and the Maine Publicity Bureau to promote housing opportunities inMaine.
By 1949 the Association was well established and was expanding its scope of activities. At the 1949 Annual Meeting, membership dues were increased to $10 per member!
During the 1950’s and 1960’s the Association continued to promote real estate and housing objectives inMaine. In addition to an active legislative committee, the Association expanded its educational activities. In 1968, the Association joined with the New Hampshireand Vermont Associations to organize the Tri-State REALTORS Institute which enabled the Association to offer REALTORS Institute courses and grant the GRI designation. Membership continued to grow as did the Association’s budget. The Association engaged a paid executive officer and set-up corporate offices.
In the 1980’s the Association established a Legal Hotline as part of dues, where the members can ask general legal questions. This remains at the top of membership surveys as meaningful programs. A variety of standard forms were created and the establishment of a Legal Action Fund.
During the 1990’s the Association significantly increased its involvement in technology projects, including launching an affordable housing foundation, Statewide MLS, replacing print newsletters with fax and email newsletters, a popular consumer Web site, Forms on Disk as part of dues, a membership Web site and a Technology Hotline. In addition, comprehensive agency legislation was passed, a mechanic’s lien law for both commercial and residential real estate, and other key legislation to protect real estate transactions.
As MAR entered the next century the need to monitor and be actively involved with regulatory activities increased and our Government Affairs staff and activities expanded. The issues fund grew so that MAR could immediately become involved in issues that now cost a minimum of $100,000 to influence than prior decades were $5,000 in effort could be effective. It became more necessary to do public relations expenditures due to changes in the economy.
Today, the Association has 12 Local Boards/Councils of MAR and a membership totaling over 4,500 REALTORS from 600 real estate firms and approximately 450 Affiliate members representing businesses and professions with related real estate interests. The Association has extensive programs in the areas of technology, government and political affairs, legal affairs and risk reduction, membership services, professional standards, and education. The Association maintains an executive office in Augusta.
Editor’s Note: Compiling a history of the State Association is a major undertaking. Many of the Association’s original documents and other written sources have regrettably been lost or destroyed over the years; many of the individuals who could have provided verbal history have passed away. The information in this summary was obtained from the Association’s Directors Meeting and Annual Meeting minutes.