TOLEDO — A newly formed entity, Northwest Ohio REALTORS, resulted from a merger late last month of three area real estate groups: the Toledo Regional Association of REALTORS, Heartland Board of REALTORS of Findlay and Northwestern Ohio Board of REALTORS.

The merger was formed with approval of the National Association of REALTORS.

In addition to the merger of these three associations, members of Heartland Board of REALTORS’ Multiple Listing Service (MLS) will join with the Northwest Ohio Real Estate Information System owned by the Toledo Regional Association of REALTORS.

“We have always gotten our MLS from Toledo — we’ve never owned our own,” said Donna Baldwin, executive officer of the Northwestern Ohio Board of REALTORS. “It’s going to save our members money in the long run, because they won’t pay extra for the mobile listing part.”

Baldwin added that when Findlay joined up with Toledo, they sought to rename the group, but “Northwestern Ohio Board of Realtors” was already taken.

“That’s when we were brought to the table,” Baldwin said, adding that increasingly more of her group’s members were leaving to join Toledo due to billing confusion, as Toledo billed separately for MLS.

Northwest Ohio REALTORS encompasses 10 counties in northwest Ohio and serves over 1,850 realtor members. The combined MLS will serve 2,000 members.

The 10 counties are Lucas, Wood, Fulton, Hancock, Wyandot, Putnam, Henry, Paulding, Defiance and Williams.

Jason Westendorf, president of the Toledo Regional Association of REALTORS, said, “The newly combined entity provides the region with a much stronger and consistent voice on real estate matters including private property rights. And, it is one of those rare opportunities where everyone wins — members, consumers and staff.”

Baldwin said her group will transition to serve as a primarily social organization, offering realtors an opportunity to network, but relieved of the duty of meeting the Core Standards Criteria.

“We can still do things to benefit our community without having to worry about whether we’re meeting the political advocacy (standards), sending written newsletters nobody reads or keeping up a website that almost nobody goes to,” Baldwin said. “So it’s going to be good for us. In my opinion, it’s going to be good for our members.”

Megan Foos will serve as the CEO of Northwest Ohio REALTORS, having previously served as CEO for both the Toledo Regional Association of REALTORS and Heartland in Findlay prior to the merger. Effective Thursday, Lisa Smith will become board president of Northwest Ohio REALTORS.

“With a combined membership of over 1,800 throughout the region, members will gain benefits and services,” Foos said. “Increasing our territory from two to 10 counties gives our members a stronger voice to advocate for home owners and for the protection of private property rights.”

The offices of the Toledo Regional Association of REALTORS at 590 Longbow Drive in Maumee will become the Northwest Ohio REALTORS’ offices, along with an additional office in Findlay.

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