BY CHRIS HILL The Maryland REALTORS®’ 2024 President. To say that we as Maryland REALTORS® are working in the midst of challenging times would be an understatement. Inflation seems to be easing, but the Federal Reserve hasn’t ruled out further rate hikes. The continuing and extreme lack of inventory has raised the prices of homes in Maryland, hitting first-time buyers and people of moderate and lower incomes hardest. Our national organization, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), has—let’s just say it—significant struggles internally that have left us angered and saddened. Numerous lawsuits are winding their way through the legal system, threatening industry norms and practices. In uncertain times such as these, it is extremely important for associations like ours to work tirelessly in support of our members and to keep you informed. Fortunately, I, like many of you, have experienced firsthand the value that Maryland REALTORS® provides daily. More than keeping in touch, Maryland REALTORS® is keeping us engaged. Our Advocacy team is operating at the top of its game: last year’s Lobby Day drew maximum attention from legislators and the media alike (Save the Date: Lobby Day 2024 will be February 14—yes, Valentine’s Day…love, flowers, and housing). Our Legal team continues to dispense invaluable advice individually through the Hotline and through webinars and in-person instruction. Our Professional Development team continues to provide opportunities, such as Leadership Academy (I’m a proud graduate, Class of 2018) and GRI to propel our careers forward. Our Strategic Communications Team has innovated not only our communications to members (this year we’ve seen a new website and dynamic social media you need to follow) but our outreach to consumers via MarylandHomeownership.com . Maryland REALTORS® has also benefitted from a long line of presidents who are deeply engaged with our members and in their work as REALTORS®. I am extremely grateful for the work of our Immediate Former President Yolanda Muckle. She was an inspiring leader, and she left big shoes to fill. So, yes, I’ve taken the baton from Yolanda and am eager to run my lap. In the coming year, we will seek to deepen the connection between the state and our local boards. Our local boards are the frontlines for our members, and our front line to association executives, Grassroots and Policy Advocate Christa McGee, was an association executive herself before joining the state team. With Christa we have a synergy that strengthens the link that joins us all. Just as last year, we will host two regional roundtables, and to build engagement we will broadcast these roundtables live. We’ll do this so that members, wherever they may be, can be part of these events. In our outreach to consumers, we will begin a focus on the importance of financial education in our school systems. Our kids graduate from schools with fluencies in science, English, history, athletics, arts, and yes, math—but what about finances? What about learning how savings work, how to build a nest egg, how to save for the things that will be important later in life, such as a downpayment on a first-time home? This is an area that the REALTOR® community hasn’t waded into previously, but we’re taking a big leap forward this year in getting behind the need for financial education at all levels of school. We must do our part to encourage the next wave of homeowners. I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to be your president. We—the entire state association—is here to support the local agent and their work in real estate. We’ve got a lot to do. Let’s get to work.