As we look back over the years to recall some of the accomplishments of the Georgia Association, we become interested in knowing what the objectives of the Association were when it was organized in 1920 in order to see whether it is doing what it was set up to do. Some of these were: To promote the interest, dignity, and character of the real estate business- to cultivate a fraternal spirit among its members- To promote the welfare of the real estate business, property owners, tenants, buyers, and in general the good of the people of Georgia- To unite brokers in the state for the purpose of exerting effectively a combined influence upon matters affecting real estate interest- To promote and maintain the highest standards of conduct in the transaction of real estate business. We can take pride in that all these have been accomplished.
Before we enumerate some of the things that have been done, let’s look at our organization in the early 20’s. For years there were only five (sometimes four) local member boards in the Association. Knowing that this organization was an asset to the real estate profession and being sold on its value, this small group carried on during good times and lean. As contrasted with the days when we had only four local board members, we now have 24 with a membership of 1,812 REALTORS® and Associates.
For years the work of the Association was carried on by the officers and staff (the staff being one person who worked part time). The budget at times was only $1,000.00 per year (no including convention). How we have grown since those days may be shown by the fact we now have a suite of offices, a full time executive secretary, a secretary, and an annual budget of more than $40,000.00.
In the early days, our members felt the most important thing that should be undertaken was to get the Legislature to pass a bill authorizing the appointment of a Real Estate Commission which would pass on the qualifications of salesmen and brokers entering the real estate field, to issue licenses and generally to regulate the conduct of brokers and salesmen for the protection of our profession and the public. Through our efforts, the Real Estate License Law was passed in 1925 but was only applicable to counties having a population of 70,000 or more so it only applied to Bibb, Chatham, Fulton, Muscogee, and Richmond. In 1950, the law was amended to provide for the bonding of brokers and a one year apprenticeship as a salesman before he could get a broker’s license. In 1953, the county population requirement was reduced from 70,000 to 30,000. Brunswick REALTORS® were disappointed that their county did not come under the law so another amendment was passed to cover any county having a municipality of 17,500 or more. Again in 1956 the law was amended to make it state wide, a goal which all of us wanted but saw little chance of getting.
The Association was responsible for getting the Homestead Exemption Law passed in the early 30’s. To accomplish this, our members formed the Georgia Federation of Tax payers League and organized branches of the League throughout the state. This law has been a boon to owners of small homes and a help to all homeowners and has greatly stimulated home ownership.
Through the efforts of our members, the Tenant Occupancy Law was passed by the Legislature in 1955. This law makes it possible to dispossess a tenant who cannot be found, so that warrant can be served.
Through the years the Association has worked for the passage of other bills which would promote the interest of those in real estate or owning property. Not only have we sought to improve the laws affecting us, but have opposed and helped defeat many bills which would adversely affect our business and the owners of real property.
About 1946 the Association became interested in the establishment of a Chair in Real Estate at the University of Georgia. For years, our presidents and committees conferred with State and University officials in efforts to accomplish this. Various approaches were used, but all led to disappointment. Finally on March 13, 1956, a committee appeared before the Board of Regents. As a result of this meeting, the Board on April 11, 1956, directed the University to establish courses in real estate leading to the BBA Degree (majoring in real estate) and ultimately leading to the MBA Degree (majoring in real estate). So at last, after at least 10 years of work, success was ours. The State Association is now contributing $2,500.00 per year as an aid in financing this program. In this day of training and education this program grows more and more important as it encourages and qualifies young people to choose real estate as a career.
Through the years the Association has sponsored conferences on different phases of real estate. Another feature has been our conventions. These have been held yearly; even during the war when hotel accommodations could not be obtained and gasoline was hard to get, one day conventions were held. Not only have these been enjoyable and pleasant affairs, but they also have been educational. Through the addresses, panels, and discussions our members have received new ideas about selling, property management, lending and appraising, and better methods of doing business, and have returned home to make more money and to serve their clients and customers better.
Our Association offers a group life insurance plan which has enabled many of our members (otherwise uninsurable) to get insurance at group rates. Under this plan we now have $9,000,000.00 of insurance in force and benefits totaling $100,000.00 have been paid to dependents of our members. Major Medical Expense and Loss of Income policies are also available to our members.
We call can well be proud of the things which our Association has done and what it has meant to our members and to the real estate interest in Georgia.