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As 2022 winds down, all eyes are on the future, and the National Association of REALTORS® is preparing for another productive year—with Kenny Parcell at the helm as president. While challenges abound as we continue to deal with low inventory, rising mortgage rates and the Fed doing everything they can to stave off inflation, Parcell is committed to engaging with the association’s 1.5 million members. Here, Parcell breaks down his plans for the year ahead.
Kenny, you’ve been in real estate for 20-plus years. How did you get into the business?
After a less-than-satisfactory experience purchasing my first home as a newly married man while attending Brigham Young University on a football scholarship, I ultimately decided to get my real estate license and become a REALTOR®. My original intent was to educate myself as to the ins and outs of the real estate process rather than practice, but a paper I wrote for one of my college courses about my home-buying experience caught the eye of my professor who was looking to sell her home due to a job transfer—and she became my first client. From there, the referrals began pouring in, and I found myself making a pretty good living as a college student listing the homes of various professors who were looking to sell. That was 3,200 homes ago, and it’s safe to say that it’s been a life-changing event.
What would you point to as some of your biggest accomplishments/milestones over the years?
Looking back over the years, the one thing I can say is that it’s been a great journey. From dealing with incredible people—clients and colleagues alike—to serving at the local, state and national level, I have had the opportunity to serve with the best volunteers and the very best people who give so much back to the community. It’s been a pleasure dealing with people who make me want to be better.
In what ways will your involvement in the association guide your term as president?
Having served at the local, state and national level, I understand what our members need. And I know what our brokers need as well. I’m a broker/owner who still sells real estate, so I’m not a paperweight president who has retired from the industry and is simply looking for something to do. I’m in the trenches with our members every day.
What do you hope to accomplish over the next year?
I want to give the members that I serve my very best. That begins with our 2023 theme, which is “Riding With the Brand.” In the Old West, a person would sign onto an outfit and ride for the brand, and they took care of it like it was their own. But our theme is riding with rather than riding for, which means that our members are an intricate part of the brand. The brand is you, and the brand is us, and we all bring something to the brand. As I step into the role of president, it will be important to convey this message so that our members understand that they are part of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) brand. I want every one of our 1.5 million members to know that they do something for the brand, and that the brand is bigger than any one person.
Your 2023 theme revolves around ensuring that every member understands that they are part of the brand. How are you working to get that message across to your membership?
While we’ve opened up a grant process where states can request a “Riding With the Brand” bus tour, it is my hope that we will go to all of the states and territories and bring NAR’s value proposition to the average member out on the street. With each bus tour we conduct, we’ll be hitting on advocacy, our Member Value Plus (MVP) program and all the other great things we do for our members in order to make them feel like they are part of the brand. The bus tour will be kicking off in Philadelphia during the REALTOR® Party Training Conference.
You’re stepping into the role of president at a time when housing inventory is low, mortgage rates are rising and the Fed is hiking interest rates to stave off inflation. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the industry in the year ahead?
Even though interest rates are still low, they have doubled in the last three months (at press time), so I think the biggest challenge facing the real estate industry in the year ahead will be affordable and fair housing. It’s going to be a changing market, so agents/REALTORS® need to adapt—and adapt quickly—or they run the risk of finding themselves in real trouble.
What types of new opportunities will these challenges present for your members?
The market may trend a bit toward a short sell market like we experienced back in 2008 with some foreclosures and REO properties, so real estate professionals must be familiar with those obstacles. To that end, it’s being well-versed and adaptable to make things work as the market changes, whether that’s new construction, property management, commercial space or being creative in the warehouse space—or whatever that niche is for that particular REALTOR®.
Affordable housing is going to be a key issue moving forward. What is NAR doing today in relation to affordable housing—and how will that continue to evolve as the future unfolds?
We are continuing to converse nonstop with our members of Congress in order to help them understand the challenges of where people are living, as well as the shortages that may impact where their kids or grandkids end up in the future. As far as affordable housing is concerned, it’s also important to understand that the net worth of a renter compared to the net worth of a property owner is significant, and so, we need to be looking at ways to help that first-time buyer build wealth.
What are you most excited about as you step into your new role?
I’m looking forward to engaging with the average member out on the street, and for them to realize that I’m just like them. Not only do I pay the same dues, but I’m giving my very best to provide value for the brand and to help make it so they can provide a living for their family.