Marking PAR’s 100th Anniversary: Past President Len Ferber

By Kim Shindle | July 16, 2020 | 5 min. read

Editor’s note: The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. As part of our Member Profile feature, we’ll be highlighting some of the Realtors® who have served as president of the organization.

Name: Len Ferber
Company: Len Ferber Real Estate, Strasburg
Years in real estate: 35 years
Local association: Lancaster County Association of Realtors®
Year served: 2006 president

Could you reflect on your involvement with Habitat for Humanity during your presidency?
In 2005 and 2006 after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, I became certified as a team leader for Habitat for Humanity through NAR. I visited New Orleans a couple of weeks after Katrina with PAR’s then Association Executive Patrice Merzanis because NAR was going to have its annual convention there. From that point, I got involved in Habitat. NAR was able to raise $4.5 million through the generosity of the Realtors®. PAR had volunteers in the state construct portions of two homes that were shipped to New Orleans prior to the convention. Overall, NAR was able to build 52 homes down in the Gulf Coast, in New Orleans in the 9th Ward, Slidell and Covington. We had a tremendous time, but everyone giving of one’s self was simply phenomenal. We had hundreds of Realtors® from Pennsylvania who gave up a week of their time to come down with me and donate their time to build these homes to help people. Habitat for Humanity is a great organization, along with the Wounded Warriors, along with many other organizations. You have to get out and give back to your community. I really enjoyed doing that and it was a fun time.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
If I could go back in time, the one thing I would like to do is give more myself to the community. I’ve given half of my life in volunteerism and I certainly enjoyed doing that. I would like to spend more of my time helping others, than helping my individual self. Money means nothing to me; time to help others will give you the greatest satisfaction in life.

Why should agents get involved in their local, state and national associations?
It’s very important for agents to get involved in their local, state and national associations. You have to increase your visibility as Realtors®. You have to be aware of the events in your community. You have to be aware of the legislation and be aware of what the elected officials are doing that could affect your business. It’s always important to be aware the needs of the community. It’s extremely important to get out there, be visible and to give your time back to the community.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking of moving up through the offices in PAR?
If you want to move up through the PAR offices, you have to be a dedicated individual. You have to give your time. You have to realize it’s going to take a lot of sacrifice. You’re going to spend a lot of time on the road. During my presidency, I traveled 29,000 miles on the road. It’s countless hours, and I enjoyed every single minute of it. It was a great opportunity. You have to be prepared to give your time. You have to have someone to cover some of your affairs in your office in order to do it, but the rewards of self-satisfaction are great and the joy of giving is wonderful.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the real estate market since you started?
In days when I started, we used to take photos of properties and we had a choice of either 12, 24 or 36 photos. Now we have digital cameras; we have the MLS. We don’t have to go print out all of our photos. Everything is on computers. There are a lot of pluses and minuses about this industry right now. I see that the biggest change in the real estate industry right now is we have less communication with a buyer and that’s not a good thing.

Do you think the environment or technology will have a bigger impact on real estate in the next 100 years?
Well, the environment’s not going to bother real estate as much as technology right now. We’ve seen tremendous advancements in some of the online real estate sites and it’s not good. What I see is that the buyer is losing less personal contact with the agents. There’s more technology out, there’s less understanding of some of the documents that they are signing. You really need to get involved with your clients, spend the time with them and help them understand what’s happening in the transaction. Some of the sites are allowing you to list your house, sell it and go to settlement and you can do everything over the internet without ever seeing a real estate agent. Realtors® need to be involved in the transaction. You’ve got to do as much as you can in order to work with your clients and provide them with the proper service.

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