Marking PAR’s 100th Anniversary: Past President Melissa Sieg

By Kim Shindle | July 2, 2020 | 6 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: Melissa Sieg
Company: Corman Home Sales and Property Management, Bellefonte
Years in real estate: 37 years
Local association: Centre County Association of Realtors®
Year served: 2005 president

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
I would probably tell myself to go to college. My parents would probably be saying, “I told you” right now if they heard that answer. But that’s one thing I would probably do differently if I could.

The other advice I would give to myself is regarding the plans you make. Stick with it, even when it gets hard. Some people go through life without a plan and they just pay attention to whatever hits that day. I’ve had some of that over the years. I think if I could give myself that advice 30-35 years ago, I’d say, “Hey, let’s make a plan” and at least try to stick with it as much as I can and modify it if I need to here and there, but make the plan. The other thing is I would tell myself is to be prepared to sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.

Why should agents get involved in their local, state and national associations?
That is the age-old question, why and how do we get people involved in the local, state and national associations?

The answer a lot of people give is they want to give back to the association, but that’s not what you tell the people now to try to get them involved. That’s hopefully what they learn when they’re there. I was probably three years in the business before I became involved in my local or state association. What I found was my confidence level grew exponentially with the more meetings I attended, the more activities I participated in and the more people I met at both the state and the local level. My confidence level grew, which I think allowed my business to then grow significantly. It was about that same time that my business end of things took off. So, I have a strong feeling one had significantly to do with the other.

It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to not just to give back, but to participate in with what’s going to happen with your business and with your industry. As active members of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors®, we have the opportunity to put our thumbprint on legislation and the laws that are passed and with the forms we use. To participate at the state level especially, where you can participate in the conversations of what the legislation should say and what kind of things should be passed through the Real Estate Commission, so we all become more professional.

I remember it really hit me whenever I stopped into a Standard Forms Committee meeting years ago and I heard everyone making their recommendations and suggestions for changes. It took a few meetings, but then the changes were approved for those forms and I remembered I was part of that conversation. I just think that’s a tremendous opportunity to be able to put a thumbprint on our industry and offer whatever input I have – or any member has – for our industry.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking of moving up through the offices in PAR?
I would suggest that you be certain you have good processes and procedures in place both in your home life, as well as your office and work life. It’s a time commitment to be an officer. It’s so important that these processes can get things done in your life while you’re attending meetings, participating in conference calls and going to conferences and trainings. It’s just as important in your home life as it is in your work life. There’s nothing that gets us all through the day that’s better than family, so you need to make sure you’re taking care of your family.

In looking at it strictly from a work life point of view, with the amount of time that you’ll spend on the road in various ways, you need to make sure you have a plan and that you have the right people in place back home to help you execute your plan.

My father, and my husband, used to always tell me: Remember, your activities within the association are in addition to, not in lieu of your day-to-day work.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the real estate market since you started?
One is buyer agency. When I started in the real estate industry it was sub agency, buyer agency didn’t exist, so I think that was a significant change that allowed Realtors® to better understand that vicarious liability. And how better to represent our clients, both buyers and sellers.

The other significant change has got to be technology. When I first got in the business, you would type or hand write the contract, drive it to the listing agent’s office to hand deliver it and go over it with them, you personally delivered counteroffers and contracts once they were fully signed. You did a lot more driving then. Then came fax machines and that made life a little bit easier. Nowadays, the electronic signature is very easy and quick.

I do think one thing that has been lost in the business with the advanced technology is there aren’t as many face-to-face transactions going on between me and my clients and few face-to-face meetings with other agents and I miss that. Over the years, I got to know a lot of agents very, very well. We became friends because of transactions we did together. In doing everything electronically, it’s not quite the same interaction. One time I had to ask someone who “that agent was across the room” who I thought I knew but couldn’t place the face – as soon as I heard the name, I knew who exactly it was because we had done a few transactions together – but never met face-to-face throughout the process.

Do you think the environment or technology will have a bigger impact on real estate in the next 100 years?
With technology, you always think, we’re about as far as we can possibly be and what could possibly come next? In my mind, I can’t fathom where technology will go next that will make a significant difference in the business. Well, something will. However, ultimately, you’ll still need people in the real estate industry.

A few months ago, I would have told you I didn’t think the environment would affect the real estate industry as much as technology. However, if you consider the pandemic to be an environmental issue – then wow. It has affected our industry, our markets and ourselves personally and professionally greatly. We are all still learning how to “open for business” safely and effectively. The coming months, and perhaps even year or two, should prove interesting while we all work together to fight to keep the virus from spreading, but also keep our economy moving forward in a way that makes sense.

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