NAREach year, I try to find some of the things you won’t want to miss at the annual National Association of REALTORS Conference and Expo. This week, some 20,000 real estate pros are expected to take over Boston, one of America’s great historic cities packed with extraordinary tourist attractions.

One thing you’d like to miss but may not be able to are the Union workers striking outside several Westin Hotels in the city. It started in Boston and has hit seven other major metro areas. My wife and I just traveled through Waikiki for a day last week and were stunned by the amount of noise these folks picketing in front of several hotels made. They are in national negotiations as of Monday night, but it might be a good idea to bring earplugs if you have to stay at one of the impacted hotels (see this).

On The Bright Side

NAR Boston is showcasing actor, producer and philanthropist Mark Wahlberg, who will speak at its Saturday General Session and then one of the hottest bands currently on tour, Fall Out Boy, will rock NAR Boston live Sunday night. Our youngest son, a 20-year-old at Boise State, recently saw them live and told me I couldn’t miss this concert.

Plus, this year, over 420 companies make up the NAR Expo at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. There’s a Green Pavilion featuring a dozen firms with an Earth-friendly focus, where you can get up to speed on NAR’s Green Designation requirements. There’s also a Global Real Estate Pavilion with firms from as far away as Dubai and a networking center to “Meet & Greet” folks from almost 70 countries attending this year’s event.

And if you miss Mark, his brother Donnie Wahlberg, another Bostonian and best known for his starring role in Blue Bloods as Danny Reagan, will be visiting NAR Booth 1131 on Saturday, Nov. 3 between 1 pm and 3 pm.

Key “Not to Miss” sessions

NAR is packed with meetings: General Sessions, Educational Courses, Workshops, Panels, and Governance meetings. There are always a handful of sessions that I put on my “Don’t Miss” list.

These include:

Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum, Friday, Nov. 2 from 9-10:30 am featuring NAR Economist Lawrence Yun and Lisa Sturtevant of Lisa Sturtevant & Associates. (You’ll have to duck out to make the MLS Leadership Session that starts at 10 am – I hate that great events overlap, but it happens.)

Power Brokers Forum from RISMedia: “Compete—and Win—in a Changing Real Estate World,” Friday, Nov. 2 from 1:30-2:30 pm. One of my favorite annual panels, Gino Blefari, CEO, HSF Affiliates and RISMedia’s CEO/Founder/President John Featherston will moderate an all-star broker panel, including Lacey Conway, President, Latter & Blum, Inc.; Jim D’Amico, COO/President, CENTURY 21 North East; Whitney LaCosta, Broker/Owner, Coach Realtors; and Mike Schlott, President, Kinlin Grover, Page Taft and Randall Realtors.

Above & Beyond: MLS Leadership & Best Practices, Friday, Nov. 2 from 10:00-11:30 am. The MLS world is changing rapidly: new consolidation, innovative partnerships, and novel data-sharing agreements are being forged. Hear from those who are making it happen, including Merle Whitehead, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services; Georgia Purpura, Urban Nest; Jim Yockel, Greater Rochester Association of REALTORS; Stephanie Hill, Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service; and Denee Evans, CMLS.

And be sure to be on the lookout at this session and at other major MLS and broker sessions for the hot new RESO White Paper “How RESO is Sparking Broker Success.”

Four more “Can’t-Miss” adds for this year:

NAREE New England Journalism Forum: Trends and Challenges in a Changing Media Environment, Friday, Nov. 2, from 3:00-4:00 pm, has an all-star panel of journalists that features one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet as moderator: Jeff Ostrowski, The Palm Beach Post Real Estate Reporter and NAREE board member. Joining Jeff will be Washington Post Real Estate Editor Dion Haynes (and 2018 NAREE president), The Wall Street Journal Mansion Deputy Editor Beth DeCarbo (NAREE 2018 vice president), The Boston Globe Sunday Real Estate Section Editor, Eileen Woods, The Boston Globe Commercial Real Estate Reporter, Tim Logan, and Bloomberg News Reporter, Prashant Gopal. The Real Reporter Editor/Publisher Michael Walsh, 2018 NAREE associate board member will start the session with welcoming remarks.

2018 Explore Global Growth Opportunities, Sunday, Nov. 4, from 3:30-5:00 pm this panel features Brad Inman, Inman News; Sherry Chris, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate; John Peyton, Realogy Franchise Group; Alvaro Cardenas, also with Realogy; Pam Liebman, The Corcoran Group; Simon Chen, ERA Real Estate; and Francois Gagnon, ERA Europe.

Federal Legislative & Political Forum, Saturday, Nov. 3, 1:30–3:00 pm. Don’t let this boring title fool you! This session features New York Times best-selling author and humorist, P.J. O’Rourke. It promises “a wide-ranging presentation on the wild world of finance and politics as featured in his latest book None of My Business.”

REALTORS® Regulatory Issues Forum: REALTORS®’ Regulatory Priorities – The Administration’s Perspective, Friday, Nov. 2, 12:30–2:00 pm. This session begins with remarks by the FEMA Director Brock Long. (Note: To make the Power Brokers Forum, you will have to duck out early on this one, as you won’t want to miss the RISMedia session that has always been an SRO event and begins at 1:30 pm. Fortunately, they are both in the East wing of the Boston Convention Center.)

Hot Exhibits

In addition to checking out the Green and Global Pavilions, you must check out the hottest new tech firms of 2018, all members of this year’s REach Technology Accelerator class. You can find the REach Class at Booth 1356.

They include firms literally from A to Z – from Active Pipe to zavvie.

You can also check them all out in this session REach® Technology Accelerator: Meet the Hottest New Technology Companies of 2018 Friday, Nov. 2 from 11:00-12:30 pm in the Boston Convention Center, Ballroom Level. The founders of each of these firms, including Active Pipe, Box Brownie, ConnectNow, Glide, Hurdlr, Quigler, RealKey, and zavvie will give an overview of their technology applications.

If you need some technical help during the NAR annual, don’t forget you can always get assistance from the champions of Realtor tech support, Tech Helpline at Booth 1103, the number-one tech service from Florida Realtors.

The Grand Opening for the Exhibit Hall will be on Friday from 3:00-6:00 pm. Bank of America is hosting a Tailgate Party at their Booth 130 on Sunday from 11:00-4:00 pm (stop by BofA Booth 615 in advance for a free ticket). Other Exhibit events are listed here.

I’ll also be busy with events hosted by the National Association of Real Estate Editors ( I’ve been a member for decades as I’ve served on the Board and as an officer. No organization that meets at NAR that I enjoy more. All of us, I think, probably have a group and/or events like that at every NAR annual we look forward to and mine is all the folks I hang out with at NAREE.

Finally, like Chicago, Boston NAR is spread out among several different hotels. How do you get there? Here’s a list of the hotels with Bus Routes.

Uber or Lyft are both available in Boston. Uber or Lyft are about $20 from Logan International Airport (BOS) to the Boston Marriott Copley, and a Taxi is about $25. See you in Boston!