This morning in New Windsor, New York, I had the privilege of witnessing the Orange County Association of Realtors overwhelming vote in favor of merging their association with WPAR (Westchester-Putnam) and ROCBOR (Rockland) to form the new Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. This was the third and final “yea” vote between the three boards, and paves the way for an offical merger commencing January 1, 2012.
OCAR’s leadership did an outstanding job of educating the membership on the merits of the merger proposal, from a well done YouTube video by president Ron Garafalo to office meetings, informational mailings and even social media. No one could say they didn’t know the details unless they really weren’t paying attention. And from the discussion I saw, membership clearly paid attention.
I should mention that in 2005 when I started the company, I joined OCAR before joining the then Westchester Board of Realtors. There was a thought that Ann and I might move our family to Washingtonville or Goshen. I have worked in Orange County and been a member of the Greater Hudson Valley MLS ever since. We remained in Westchester, but I know firsthand that the association is an excellent group with strong leadership, and it will make HGAR better.
I have written previously on the Westchester and Rockland votes posts why I believe this is good for the public. I’ll indulge in a selfish motive of why I was so in favor of the merger: in the future, when the respective contracts run out with the vendors, the two MLS systems will be consolidated into one Multiple Listing Service. With the natural crossover between our market areas, this will benefit all brokerages, but for firms like mine that pay for two separate MLS systems, it will make a positive difference in managing overhead. The best reason for consolidation is economics. This is smart economics for sure.