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See How this Association Boosts Member Engagement in Local Politics

Michigan REALTORS®

Michigan group leverages local relationships for greater influence in housing and property ordinances across the state.

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The government affairs team at Michigan REALTORS® relied on their politically active membership to inform them about threats to private property rights in local governments across the state.

However, by the time they were alerted to potential issues, there wasn’t enough time to put together a response to influence the outcome of local proposals.


Michigan REALTORS® adopted a proactive approach to monitoring local government discussions and ordinances by incorporating local legislative tracking software from Curate into their processes.


Automated alerts from Curate give the association the advanced notice they need to empower their members with talking points and advocacy strategies to defeat harmful local ordinances.

Statewide Organization Relies on Local Advocacy to Protect Property Rights

Enabling members to engage in local government advocacy is critical to the success of Michigan REALTORS®’ mission to protect private property rights and advance the real estate industry, particularly when it comes to short-term rental ordinances.

Without any form of statewide regulation for short-term rentals, communities throughout Michigan have taken actions to ban or severely restrict the practice. While Michigan REALTORS® supports smart regulation of short-term rentals, the association tends to oppose any measure that seeks to use zoning ordinances to restrict or ban rentals because it infringes on private property rights.

To move the needle on any sort of issue locally, you need someone who is tied in, who knows the local administrative people in the city.

Doug Merriam, Party Advocacy Director
Michigan REALTORS®

While many of the organization’s members across the state were already inclined to engage with local issues related to private property rights, they’re most effective when equipped with talking points and legal advice from the association.

However, the association didn’t have a systematic and timely way of keeping track of emerging issues and proposed ordinances in local governments.

The statewide organization relied on its members to bring issues to its attention. The government affairs team then often had to spend time digging through local government websites after hearing about an issue to verify the information. All too often the ordinance had already been voted on by the time Michigan REALTORS® became aware of it.

Association Improves Distribution of Local Insights with Municipal Monitoring Tool

Knowing they had to better inform and serve their members, the association began using local government monitoring software from Curate to track short term rental restrictions across the state, as well as other emerging issues, such as building code changes, sign ordinances, and well & septic inspection fees.

Now, instead of relying on local members to bring issues to the government affairs team, the statewide leaders get timely alerts whenever an issue comes up in any municipality across the state. The government affairs team then shares noteworthy developments with local chapters of the association via weekly reports generated in Curate in a few minutes.

My members have told me that they’ve never felt more informed on what’s going on at the local level. We’ve never had more access to local government, and Curate is a huge part of that.

Alexander Housseman, Public Policy Director for Central and Northern Michigan
Michigan REALTORS®

Local Engagement Helps Association Defeat Harmful Ordinances

When the public policy team finds an urgent issue in their Curate report, their first step is to reach out to local REALTORS® boards and associations to find out if their members are willing to meet with local officials or make a statement at a public hearing. When they confirm that they have local buy-in, the association supplements them with talking points, strategy tips, and—in some cases—revised versions of ordinances to share with local elected officials.

For example, Merriam got an alert from Curate one week ahead of time about a short-term rental ordinance coming up for a vote in a community. Within two days, he was able to provide an analysis of the ordinance and a set of talking points to local members who already had relationships with the local officials. Thanks to the members’ advocacy efforts, the ordinance was amended to remove some of the provisions with the most harmful implications for private property rights.

If you don’t have local people who are willing to get involved, you have no influence.

Doug Merriam, Party Advocacy Director
Michigan REALTORS®

Merriam says the only way to achieve a similar level of coverage of local legislative issues would be to visit every municipality’s website within the state on a weekly basis—a completely infeasible task. With Curate, they’re incredibly efficient in finding out what’s on the agenda or meeting minutes in each community and they’re able to devote most of their time to responding to urgent issues.

By empowering their members with timely insights about local policy, the Michigan REALTORS® team has been able to revise or outright defeat ordinances threatening the real estate industry in Michigan.

About Michigan REALTORS®

The Michigan REALTORS® has been protecting private property rights and serving real estate professionals in Michigan since 1915. The organization has more than 34,000 members and is the leading resource for professional development, knowledge exchange, and wide-ranging business services for the real estate industry in Michigan.

About Curate

Curate, a FiscalNote company, empowers organizations with civic intelligence to monitor risk and find opportunities in local government discussions at scale. Government relations professionals use Curate’s database and custom reports to track policies, projects, and hot topics in more than 12,000 municipalities across the U.S.

Based in Madison, Wis., Curate is leveraging artificial intelligence to change the way organizations engage with local government.

Ready to see Curate for yourself?

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