Who is the WCAR?
The Williamson County Association of REALTORS® is a trade association that exists to represent the interests of real estate professionals and those who own or desire to own real property. The association was established in 1962 to provide professional development, dispute resolution, legislative advocacy, communication, and community improvement for those it serves. It continues to deliver the same fundamental services, though the details of how they are delivered have changed – and will continue to change – over time.
What They Do
Professional Development is delivered through courses provided at the association’s office and through a series of forums and special events done exclusively by the association or in cooperation with other community organizations. It addresses topics from specific real estate requirements to the use of new tools to serve clients and customers best.
Dispute resolution is provided using a system of mediation and confidential hearings through which association members and public citizens can present their cases. Decisions are based on the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and the related guidelines provided by the National Association of REALTORS®.
Legislative advocacy is addressed by informing members of key legislation impacting those we serve and organizing appropriate responses such that those interests are protected and enhanced at every level of government. It also includes establishing and developing healthy communicating relationships with elected officials.
Communication is focused mainly on the association’s members concerning the association’s activity on their behalf and encouragement to be engaged in that activity. However, it also involves the general public concerning the value of a home and real property ownership and the importance of engaging a real estate professional – a REALTOR® – to represent them in real property transactions.
Community improvement is supported through relationships with key organizations in our service area and the REALTOR® Good Works Foundation, founded in 2007 to facilitate members contributing to the growth and success of the community where they live, work, and play.
The association is led by an active and engaged elected board of directors and a professional staff. It is guided by a strategic plan to use all resources to best deliver valuable services to those we exist to support.
YOUR Williamson had the opportunity recently to interview the WCAR’s current President, Lorie Layman, about the state of the real estate market in Williamson County as part of this year’s annual Real Estate and Home Issue.
What do you think is the best thing about the real estate community in Williamson County? What are some of the challenges facing REALTORS® in Williamson County?
The best thing about the real estate community in Williamson County is everyone, not just REALTORS®, wants to make sure that anyone who wants to live in our community can find a place. Working together to make sure that everyone can have that American Dream of homeownership is a common goal for everyone. One of the biggest challenges facing our REALTORS® and their clients is inventory shortages. It’s no secret that Middle Tennessee, the Metro Nashville area, and Williamson County continue to be very hot and desirable markets.
In a county with seemingly so much building, how can there be so little inventory?
The lack of inventory is due to multiple reasons. First, we have several corporate relocations to the area bringing jobs and new residents. The low taxes and cost of living make Williamson County so desirable; people are relocating from higher-cost regions of the country. Secondly, the pandemic caused a shortage of building materials which drove up housing costs. Lastly, we see people upgrade to larger houses as more of the workforce works from home in an increasingly virtual work environment.
What is the number one thing people moving to Williamson County are looking for in a realtor?
First and foremost, people want someone ethical and educated about the buying and selling process and knowledgeable about the local community. Buying a home for most of us is the largest transaction a person will go through. Helping to walk them through what can be a very stressful process is something that our members need to be equipped to handle. Also, with the large number of people moving to our area from completely different parts of the country, having a REALTOR® who can introduce them to all facets of their new community is key.
How does the WCAR provide services for both the industry and the community at large?
We want our members and the community to know that having that REALTOR® “R” by their name doesn’t just mean they are all about buying and selling houses. They have chosen to become invested and involved in their community through service but also advocacy. Local, State, and National Advocacy is a key pillar to the REALTOR® organization. We are one of the largest groups advocating at all levels of government for property rights, preserving the American Dream of homeownership for all, and ensuring that all communities have access to utilities like broadband.
How does WCAR give back to the community through events, your scholarship program and other initiatives?
The REALTOR® Good Works Foundation (RGWF) is the philanthropic arm of WCAR. This organization raises thousands of dollars annually to provide scholarships to graduating seniors and promote fine arts education in Williamson County Schools.
Our Community Outreach Committee partners with a variety of government and non-profit organizations on events that, we hope, will serve as a benefit to our community and neighbors.
Recently, WCAR used a $3500 National Association of REALTORS® Placemaking grant to install bike fix-it stations in Crockett Park and another park to be determined.
Over the past year, committee members have volunteered at several mobile food pantries organized by One Generation Away. The next volunteer opportunity is scheduled for November 20th at Johnson Elementary School.
The Community Outreach Committee provided lunch for the county’s Emergency Management staff to recognize National First Responders Day during the pandemic. This year, the committee will provide food for the volunteer firefighters who staff the dozen or more fire stations protecting the county’s unincorporated areas.
Why is it so important for a realtor to be a member of the WCAR?
When licensed agents choose to become a REALTOR® by joining their local association of choice, they also become members of our state and national associations. Our members are held to the highest standards of business practices and adhere to our national code of ethics. Being a member of WCAR allows our members to help keep each other accountable to these standards. Still, we also provide our members with the professional development they need to successfully work with their customers and clients to find their next home.