Last week, the National Association of REALTORS® held its inaugural Central and Eastern European Summit in Belgrade, Serbia, in concert with the International Real Estate Conference Learn to Succeed.

The effort was led by 2019 NAR President John Smaby, two members of NAR’s global staff, Joe Schneider and Alejandro Escudero, and Global Alliances Regional Coordinator Zola Szerencses.

Leadership from 15 countries, including Belarus, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Georgia, Greece to name a few, came together to talk through industry framework models such as agency, licensing, professional development, multiple listing services, technology, advocacy and public policy.

Smaby gave opening remarks and then explained NAR advocacy framework and infrastructure. Partnering with him to cover state and local issues was Illinois REALTORS® Director for Housing and Global Business Sharon Gorrell.  She compared the rent control issue in Illinois to some proposals that have emerged in the region, including cities like London and Berlin.  She also discussed fair housing, property taxation and industry regulation and shared some of the tools and strategies that Illinois REALTORS® use to help members engage their elected officials while also educating their customers and clients.

Smaby and Gorrell shared some of the United States’ “best practices” so their European counterparts could assess what might be appropriate and applicable in their home countries.

Also representing Illinois at the summit were REALTOR® Nataliya Ligas-Dauksha, Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS® Global Council chair and REALTOR® Jana Herdova, NAR Global Ambassador to Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Poland.