Marking PAR’s 100th Anniversary: Past President Todd Umbenhauer

By Kim Shindle | Dec. 17, 2020 | 3 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: Todd Umbenhauer
Company: Keller Williams Real Estate, Harleysville
Years in real estate: 46 years
Local association: Montgomery County Association of Realtors®
Year served: 2018 president

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
I would remind myself, “Todd, you’re in the real estate business, but you’re also in the lead generation business.” The most educated Realtor® in the world is unemployed if they have no clients. I would make sure I understood that my first job is to learn how to get clients and my second job is to serve them well as a Realtor®.

Why should agents get involved in their local, state and national associations?
I think involvement at all three levels of our Realtor® association is important as that is the environment in which we can best learn how to continue to fight for the preservation of private property rights and to improve our service to our members and the public. One receives far more than one gives through this involvement. Having the opportunity to serve at the local, state or national level is an opportunity for growth in so many different ways and it gives you an avenue to make a difference both within our industry and in our service to the public.

What advice would you give someone who was thinking of moving up through the offices in PAR?
If someone is considering moving through the chairs, as we say, I would first suggest that they talk to people who have already served and then consult with family, friends and colleagues to get their input. I will add that it’s critical that you are doing it for the right reasons. As you move into leadership, understand that the person who sits at the head of the table is no more important than the people who are sitting around the table.

What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the real estate market since you started?
Without question, the biggest change that I’ve seen in my years in the real estate business is technology. I started at a time when we would be outside a property with a windchill factor of 20 degrees and standing in the snow taking a picture with a Polaroid black and white camera. Then we would pull the film out of the camera, put it under our arm and wait for 60 seconds praying that there would actually be a good picture at the end of the process. Now we’re able to do livestream video. That’s pretty much like going from a stagecoach to a rocket ship. Technology is the most earth-shaking change I’ve seen since I started more than 40 years ago.

Do you think the environment or technology will have a bigger impact on real estate in the
next 100 years?
I think both technology and the environment will continue to influence real estate. The environment will impact real estate to varying degrees depending somewhat on location, but all areas will be affected to be sure. If you’re in an area that is more directly and profoundly impacted by climate change, obviously that is going to have a significant impact on real estate. If you’re in areas not as directly affected by environmental issues, then technology will probably be the top news story in real estate. It will depend on where you are located. I believe technology across the board will always have an impact on real estate.

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