Marking PAR’s 100th Anniversary: Past President Dominic Cardone
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: Dominic Cardone
Company: Keller Williams Real Estate, Media
Years in real estate: 38 years
Local association: Suburban West Realtors® Association
Year served: 2007 president
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?
This advice is true, not just in real estate and in real estate leadership, but in life. I think the older we get, many of us would say to ourselves, “I wish I hadn’t taken myself so seriously.” I wish I would have been a little more lighthearted.
We always need to respect everyone’s opinions and we need to hear divergent opinions. Sometimes we personalize those opinions when they don’t agree with our own. We need to take it a little more lightly and not take it as seriously. I believe if you don’t agree with someone it’s like playing a baseball game and you’re on one team and they’re on another team. After the game’s over, you go out and you have a beer together. Let’s not take life that seriously. What we have to take seriously is why we are here in the Realtor® organization, which is to help with homeownership and property ownership and investment. We’re active in the association to help people, and we do it so that we can continue earning an income to support our families. I think we all need to go home and take our families very seriously, but maybe we don’t need to take our opinions at the Realtor® level as seriously as maybe I used to take them. I’m much more self-deprecating today than I was 10 or 20 years ago.
Why should agents get involved in their local, state and national associations?
For me, the answer is so easy and so elementary. Getting involved helps improve one’s knowledge and one’s education of what we are doing. It’s like continuing education all the time. I believe that if we stop learning, we’re not alive and when we get involved in our association, we learn so much about what’s going on in the industry and we use that knowledge to benefit our clients – the buying, selling, leasing and renting public.
At the same time, we may feel that we have something to contribute as well. The smallest idea, the shyest person in the Realtor® organization has often come up with the best idea for improving our industry, serving our consumers and representing our clients. Please get involved in your local, state and national associations to improve your own knowledge and your own ability to give service to your clients, but also keep in mind that you will have the opportunity to give your own well-thought-out opinions to other members. Sharing ideas helps us all grow and that’s an exciting thing, to walk into a meeting at a Realtor® association and to walk out of the meeting feeling that you learned something and that you shared something or someone else shared something with you that’s going to benefit the industry.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of moving up through the offices in PAR?
You want to first get involved at PAR and serve on committees that interest you or committees that need your expertise. Maybe every year, branch out a little when you get to know a committee that maybe you don’t know as much about. A lot of us at PAR rose through the chairs as experts in whatever the topic is. Maybe you’re really good at explaining or raising PAC funds, so you would want to get involved with RPAC. If you’re a political junkie and you really pay attention to the details in the legislation and you want to advocate for good legislation that protects private property rights at the local, state or even the national level, you would want to attend Legislative Committee meetings, even if you aren’t on the committee. I spend a lot of time participating in the Standard Forms Committee and in RPAC. I look back, and those are the two things that when I finally ran for president, I hope people said, “Yes, Dominic has qualifications to be president because he spent so much time helping with standard forms and RPAC.” I think you have to build a reputation for yourself as someone who contributes and someone who leads. No one is going to want you to become president if you haven’t already done some leadership in your life, in your business career or at the committee level at PAR. Use your abilities to demonstrate your strengths within the industry and within PAR and its committee and task force structures.
What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the real estate market since you started?
There have been a couple of big changes over my 38 years in the industry. For someone my age, it feels like just yesterday to look back to the 1990s and you see that a tremendous amount of change took place then because of buyer agency. In 1998, PAR succeeded in passing Act 112. PAR helped create that legislation, which we called the new agency law and it’s 21 years old now, so I think I have to stop calling it the new agency law. That change over from seller agency only, to buyer agency and seller agency was tremendous. While this was happening and towards the end of the ‘90s, the internet was blossoming and coming into its own. The advent of the internet is really the biggest change. Technology – all the technologies and social media today – I don’t think people of my generation really grasp the dynamic changes that are happening in the world and in the industry because of social media. I think technology and social media are changing the world in so many ways and there are so many optimistic things we can look to as happening as a result of social media. Some things may not be so good, but let’s stress the good things. I’m one of those people who still believes that social media is going to bring democracy to the entire globe.
Do you think the environment or technology will have a bigger impact on real estate in the next 100 years?
If we look at the next 100 years for the real estate industry and we look at the issue of the environment, I think we can quickly look at the idea that the waters are rising and that certain population areas are going to be sinking, so to speak. I have a daughter-in-law who’s from Bangkok, Thailand and I heard a report that Bangkok is sinking and in 35 years, you’re not going to able to live there. They said we’re going to have to move Bangkok, and I thought, “How do you move 10 million people?” On the one hand, you want to say that environment is going to be what is going to be the biggest change versus technology, but I think the answer is technology. The reason is as quickly as the environment is changing, it’s changing slowly enough for us to adjust. And in many ways, technology is going to solve many of our environmental challenges. But when it comes to technology, overnight your world can change. There are going to be so many changes that we can’t even imagine them today. Technology and technological changes will have a greater impact on our industry. Surely, these are two of the biggest issues that are going to be affecting our industry.