Realtor merger could be hard sell |

Realtor merger could be hard sell

Dave Frank
Appeal Staff Writer

Leaders of two regional Realtor groups want to merge into one association, but some members aren’t sold on the idea.

Members of the Sierra Nevada Association of Realtors will vote April 9 on whether to join with the Reno-Sparks Association of Realtors as a new Northern Nevada organization.

The Sierra Nevada Association represents about 800 members from Carson City, Fallon and Douglas and Lyon counties. The Reno-Sparks Association has about 3,000 members. The associations would have an equal number of representatives on the governing board.

Supporters of the merger say the new group would streamline organization and give Realtors in Northern Nevada more political influence, but opponents disagree.

“I just like the way the things are now,” said Jim Shirk, a Realtor in Carson City. “I like the small-town, big-clout feel we have here.”

The “close-knit” association is small enough to allow a member to easily talk to a board member, he said, and members will lose this as well as their political voice if they join with the Reno-Sparks association.

He described it as a “little company joining IBM.”

Bill Driscoll, president of the Sierra Nevada Association, said some members are overreacting.

“There is a little crankiness out there about the reorganization,” he said, “but the silly thing (about that) is that it is a vote. It’s an option.”

Driscoll supports the merger because he said organization will work more efficiently that way, but said the vote is up to members.

There are market and political issues specific to certain areas, said Wayne Capurro, president of the Reno-Sparks association, but all members have an interest in property rights and fighting property transfer taxes.

The new association would have more money and leaders to draw from, too, he said.

But Sierra Nevada member Brian Alexander, like Shirk, said his group is doing fine alone.

“We have an association that’s not broken,” he said, “so I’m not sure why we’re trying to fix it.”

Association leaders started talking about the merger after the chief executive officer announced last year she would retire.

Former President Brad Bonkowski said leaders are not necessarily endorsing the idea, but proposing it as an option that could give members more services for less money.

“We’re trying to stay away from ‘us’ and ‘them,'” he said.

The new president of the new association would be from Reno-Sparks, but the president after that would be from Sierra Nevada. The proposed name of the group is the Realtors Association of Northern Nevada.

The National Association of Realtors, one of the largest trade groups in the country, represents commercial and residential real estate workers.

• Contact reporter Dave Frank at or 881-1212.