This year, 2019, is a landmark year for the Longmont Association of Realtors®. This well-known and respected organization was established 100 years ago. Only a year later, two of the Longmont members and a few other “realty agents” from around the state gathered in Denver and formed the Colorado Board of Realtors.
In 1919, Longmont was much smaller than it is now. The 1920 Census reported that the population was 5,848. The economy was dominated by agriculture, with numerous family farms and agricultural industries. Still, residents bought and sold property, making the (then-named) Longmont Board of Realtors, now the Longmont Association of Realtors (LAR), a key addition to the town for the same reason LAR is important 100 years later.
“I believe the basics remain the same … to provide services to our members and affiliations necessary to conduct their business in an ethical and professional manner,” says LAR Chief Executive Officer Amy Aschenbrenner. “The association acts as a united voice for our members and the public with regard to protecting the free enterprise system and the right to own, use and transfer real estate property.”
What is a Realtor®?
According to LAR, “All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National, State and local Associations of Realtors can call themselves Realtors. They proudly display the Realtor “®” logo on their business card or other marketing and sales literature. Realtors are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. Realtors subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.”
Aschenbrenner adds, “Becoming a Realtor requires not only adhering to the strict ethical code, but also extra training, some required and some optional. Our Association provides frequent opportunities for continuing education in topics such as due diligence, contracts and title paperwork.”
Some history involving LAR
“The first of the Longmont housing booms were in the 1960s and 1970s when tech really came in,” says Erik Mason, Longmont Museum history curator. “The population doubled between 1960 and 1970 and almost doubled again from 1970 to 1980.”
Some high points were the building of a federal air traffic control center in 1962 and the arrival of IBM in 1965. “That changed everything,” says Arnold E. Turner, owner of Turner Realty in Longmont, a family-owned agency started in 1962 by his late parents, Carl and Evadean Turner.
Mason says growth started to taper off in the late 1970s before another boom in the 1990s, which we are in now. He says that growth continues but at a slower rate.
Mason’s files show LAR’s activities, awards and scrutiny of land use laws. LAR’s Aschenbrenner notes that the association helps property owners protect their investments. “Every day is a constant battle to protect property rights,” she says. This includes water rights, oil rights and mineral rights. The Association has a dedicated Governmental Affairs Committee that monitors National, State and local legislation that is pertinent to property owner’s rights.
Over the last 100 years homeownership has continued to be the number one way to build personal wealth. Turner points out that buying a home makes economic sense. It is a “forced savings account. It starts generating money and equity. The old saying is, ‘Don’t wait to buy real estate. Buy real estate and wait.’”
The Longmont Association of Realtors started a campaign in 1979 to help “un-handicap” the handicapped. Together with community members, LAR set forward a proposal to revamp the curbs at intersections on Main street, Third, Fourth and Fifth Avenues, to ease the physical barriers for the citizens and visitors of Longmont.
In 1986 LAR, in conjunction with KUSA Channel 9, established the Longmont “warmline” program. The Association set up a call line that was available 24 hours a day so that children who were home alone could make contact with a trained adult who could assist them if a parent was not accessible.
The most recent accomplishment for LAR has been the Longmont Veterans Village project. Cher Smith, LAR’s immediate past Chair, and Amy Aschenbrenner, LAR CEO, together with many other community members, have worked diligently over the past year to plan and execute the soon to be built Longmont Veterans Village. LAR was honored to be the first business in Longmont to donate $5,000 of seed money for this great project.
Giving to the Longmont community and beyond
“Longmont Realtors are huge advocates of giving back to the community,” says Aschenbrenner. LAR has historically been a major supporter of the Inn Between and the O.U.R. Center. For years LAR held Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas stores for the children of the Inn Between. The children were able to pick out new items, donated by LAR members, to give as gifts to their loved ones. Each year during the Christmas holiday, LAR members graciously donate gift cards to the adults at the Inn Between to help offset the cost of bringing Christmas to their children and loved ones. The O.U.R. Centers Empty Bowls Fundraiser is an important yearly event that LAR members have supported since its inception. Each year members paint bowls that are donated to the Empty Bowls Fundraiser, and then they volunteer to help out for the entire day of the event.
If you would like to engage the services of a Realtor, or if you are interested in becoming a member contact the Longmont Association of Realtors at 303.772.5555.
By Judy Finman, At Home Colorado.
Photos courtesy of Longmont Association of Realtors.