Virginia Realtor group reaches the century mark

The Virginia Realtors trade organization was founded in 1920.

It all began at a 5,000-watt radio station in Fresno, Calif.

No, wait, that was the introduction to the life story of fictional anchorman Ted Baxter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

For the Virginia Realtors trade group, it actually all began a century ago in Richmond.

Founded at gathering on Oct. 22, 1920, the organization – first known as the Virginia Real Estate Association and later the Virginia Association of Realtors – was established to standardize the real-estate business, cultivate and enforce fair dealing, and encourage the business of owning, buying, selling, renting and managing real estate in the commonwealth.

At that initial meeting, Paul T. Collins of Norfolk was elected to be the first President.

Today, the organization represents 35,000 members spread over 28 local Realtor organizations across the commonwealth.

“Over the past 100 years, the Realtors of Virginia have become one of the greatest contributors to the state economy while also striving to help ensure that the American Dream of homeownership and housing opportunities are available to all Virginians,” said the organization’s 2020 president, Kemper Funkhouser of Harrisonburg.

“The fact that wars, depressions, recessions and now even a global pandemic have not stopped the progress of our association is a testament to the strong foundation we have established,” he said.

Over its history, three past presidents of Virginia Realtors have gone on to serve as president of the National Association of Realtors, including Dorcas Helfant-Browning, who in 1992 became the national association’s first female president.

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