Meet the Members of Miami’s Master Broker Forum
There are thousands of real estate agents in Miami, but only a small percentage actually meets the standards for membership in the Master Brokers Forum. Read about the organization’s officers learn what it takes to be among Miami’s top 250, and what the MBF can do for you.
The inflated number of licensed realtors in South Florida is a long-standing joke in many cynical circles, as is the ever multiplying number of homes currently for sale and under construction. However, when the amount of choices available is so large as to be comical, it signals both a consumer and industry prerogative to be selective.
One of South Florida’s premier industry groups, the Master Brokers Forum (MBF), makes it a point to embody this principle of selectivity.
The MBF, which was established in 1993, is an organization that unites top real estate professionals in Miami-Dade County (there is a separate Broward County chapter). The goal of the MBF is not only to serve as a networking organization where professionals can exchange ideas and information, but also to educate the industry and promote real estate within the community.
“The Master Brokers Forum is an excellent forum in which real estate professionals can exchange information about new projects in developing areas,” says Alicia Cervera, chairman of the MBF Advisory Board. “Our diverse membership helps us keep a true pulse on the South Florida real estate market. It provides a professional venue through which realtors can get information on emerging trends and other market-impacting issues, enabling them to better serve the public.”
Although there are over 13,000 members in Miami’s largest Realtor association, membership in the MBF is capped at 250, and the organization is proud of its rigorous standards. “The high membership standards are what makes the group what it is,” says Jason Rayman, who handles public relations for the MBF.
In order to be considered for membership, applicants must have at least 50 transactions or $5 million per year in residential sales volume during five continuous years. People seeking membership who meet the criteria are then eligible to submit an application.
“We’re always trying to bring on new members,” says Minnie Lauderdale, membership chairman. “The membership committee reviews prospective members twice a year, in May and October.”
Donna Bloom, a founding member and vice chairman of the MBF’s Advisory Board, notes that the board looks for more than a person who meets the minimum membership criteria. “Not everybody who meets the requirements is accepted,” she says. “We discuss each candidate, because we want a person who has integrity, besides meeting all the requirements.”
This integrity is key, not only to the reputation of the MBF, but also to the transactions that take place within the organization. “The application process is selective because you want to work in the industry with a certain type of person and be able to refer,” Bloom says. “The referral process is very important, to be able to have someone in an area you might not know, ask them what they have, and know that they will help you and tell you different things about what you’re looking for.”
Cervera says this spirit of cooperation and adherence to high ethical principles are key to the success of the Forum. “The Master Brokers Forum truly raises the bar for the level of professionalism for those involved,” she says. “Members set a good standard for each other and encourage leadership by example.” Once accepted into the MBF, members are required to pay membership dues and attend at least two forums annually.
“We have four Education Forums per year,” Lauderdale explains. “Our forums have been on topics like Miami after Castro, South Beach real estate, turning neighborhoods into municipalities and the economic and social impacts of casino gambling.”
The most recent MBF event was a panel discussion entitled “Tough Taxes, Tight Market,” which was moderated by WPLG Ch. 10 news anchor Laurie Jennings. “Rising taxes and inventory shortages have been challenging our industry for a long time,” says Cervera of the need for the discussion. “It was very reassuring to learn that common-sense solutions are being discussed and explored.”
The panelists at the discussion included Miami-Dade County Commissioner Katy Sorenson; John M. Sebree, VP of public policy for the Florida Association of Realtors; and Thomas J. Dixon, a South Florida real estate appraiser. Bloom notes that it is common to involve local leaders in MBF activities. “We bring the community into our seminars,” she says. “We involve politicians, we involve builders and we involve everybody in the community.”
Aside from benefits that the MBF tries to provide for the real estate community as a whole, individual members also profit substantially from networking opportunities, as well as from the status that comes with being part of the group.
“The Master Brokers Forum has been a wonderful networking opportunity for me to meet many people in the industry that work in different areas,” says Cervera. “I’m therefore able to keep up with outside areas I never would have been familiar with otherwise.”
“The Master Brokers Forum is very important for the industry because creates a certain aura,” Bloom adds. “People in the industry really want to belong to the Master Brokers Forum, because it gives them prestige. It’s very important that members can use the MBF logo in all their advertising, because people want to deal with a certain type of person, and that is what this organization represents.”
Lauderdale says she has certainly benefited from her credentials as an MBF member. “I have used the Master Brokers Forum in my listing presentations when competing for a listing. I’m happy to let the sellers know that I rank [in] the 250 top producing realtors in Miami-Dade, and I think the sellers are happy to know they are dealing with a professional.”
“My advice to people in the industry would be to go onto our Web site, and see if you meet the criteria,” Bloom says. “If you meet the criteria, fill out an application and the board will review the application. It’s been such a great part of my life. I’ve made nice friends [with] people I probably wouldn’t have known before, and it gives you a nice feeling of belonging to a certain group that you want to work with.”
Cervera also encourages potential members to look into joining the MBF. “It has really enriched my personal life because of the many rewarding personal relationships I have forged with people out of our professional interaction,” she says.
For more information about the MBF, visit www.masterbrokersforum.com.
COPYRIGHT 2006 AGENT PUBLISHING LLC
The MBF Members:
Helen Jeanne Nicastri
Founder, Honorary Chairman
Cervera Real Estate
Advisory Board Chairman
Esslinger Wooten Maxwell
Esslinger Wooten Maxwell
Forum Event Co-chairman
Esslinger Wooten Maxwell
Jo Ann Forster
RE/MAX Advance Realty
Public Relations Chairman
Advisory Board Coordinator
The Keyes Co./Realtors
Patricia Klock Parker
Esslinger Wooten Maxwell
Forum Event Co-Chairman
Avatar Real Estate Services
Annual Meeting and Holiday Party Chairman
Greater Miami Investments
Wallace Bauman Legon Fodiman & Shannon