Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS®
Established in 1858, the Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS® (GBBR) was the nation’s first real estate association, and later participated as a founding member for both the National Association of REALTORS® and Maryland REALTORS® association. For more than 160 years, GBBR has promoted the highest ethical standards and practices in the real estate industry, and we continue to serve as an advocate for the business and professional interests of our members.
As one of the largest local trade associations in the Baltimore metropolitan area, GBBR serves 5,000 members including REALTOR® agents, brokers, and affiliates that conduct business related to the real estate industry. We provide real estate licensing training, continuing education courses, workshops to serve the homebuying public, as well as arbitration and mediation services. Our political action committees work in the legislative and regulatory arenas to preserve property owners’ rights, and assure that laws and policies do not encumber our members’ ability to assist in the transfer of real property. GBBR is proud to maintain committees addressing Equal Opportunities and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, and to promote fair housing awareness and practices.
In 1998, GBBR focused its philanthropic efforts to create the GBBR Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that engages in charitable, civic, educational and humanitarian activities and programs designed to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods within the Baltimore area. The Foundation provides financial support, in-kind donations of services, expertise and time to organizations and projects that are diverse in nature and help provide community stability throughout Baltimore City and County.
GBBR marks another important anniversary milestone,“Celebrating 160 years of Service to the Baltimore Real Estate Community”. Special acknowledgements are coordinated throughout the year in tandem with annual events, cumulating in the REALTOR® Fair, featuring unprecedented member registration pricing and the launch of GBBR’s new logo and website. Additionally, the GBBR Charitable Foundation commemorates its 20th anniversary, with a Capital Campaign drive and Non-Gala fundraising event. The GBBR Charitable Foundation funded two additional $20,000 scholarships through College Bound for local Baltimore City and Baltimore County students attending four-year institutions.
The GBBR Charitable Foundation funded two additional $20,000 scholarships through College Bound for local Baltimore City and Baltimore County students attending four-year institutions.
GBBR hosted the State of the Baltimore Real Estate Market event presenting an overview of the local commercial and residential real estate market, and the changing legislative and economic landscapes. The event featured the Baltimore County Executive, Baltimore City Mayor, and the Maryland Secretary of Commerce as guest speakers. The GBBR Charitable Foundation began its partnership with the College Bound Foundation. The GBBRCF worked with College Bound to choose two very deserving students from local Baltimore City and Baltimore County high schools to receive $5,000 per year for four years. The GBBCF funded both scholarships. Each student was awarded a total of $20,000 for their college educations.
The association was recognized in placement as #4 on the Baltimore Business Journal’s largest associations list, ranked by Baltimore-area membership, in June 2015.
GBBR served as co-host with the Maryland REALTORS® to welcome the National Association of REALTORS®’ Association Executive Institute conference to Baltimore.
GBBR celebrated its first official Member Appreciation Week, and hosted a series of “Town Hall” meetings in different geographical locations across the city and county, to re-engage its membership during a campaign named “New Face, New Place… On the Move with GBBR.” Additionally, GBBR moved its headquarters to its current location at 1954 Greenspring Drive, Suite 100, Timonium, Maryland and hosted an office warming open house event that was attended by over 200 guests.
The leadership team at GBBR began the search for a new location for the association’s headquarters, to better serve changing membership needs.
GBBR’s Equal Opportunities & Fair Housing Committee, through grants from the National Association of REALTORS® Housing Opportunities Program and Diversity Program, hosted free home buying workshops designed especially for the Russian-speaking and Spanish-speaking public. To supplement cultural diversity outreach, GBBR published a resourceful guide that outlined the process of purchasing a home, available in six different languages including English, Chinese, French, Korean, Russian and Spanish. REALTOR® members were encouraged to share the guide with non-English speaking buyers to assist them in understanding the parts of a real estate transaction that are unique to our country. GBBR hosted the 25th Anniversary REALTOR® Fair at the Martin’s West event facility, catering to more than 700 attendees for a one-day extravaganza of trade show excitement!
GBBR’s Membership Committee hosted a Family Fun Day at the ever-popular Oregon Ridge Park, a picnic event designed for summer fun with friends and family. In conjunction with the Baltimore City Commission on Historic and Architectural Preservation, GBBR worked to provide MRIS® with historical data and tax records needed to modify the roughly 86,000 tax records within their database for Baltimore. This feat allowed the multiple list system to display historic district information, a great benefit to real estate professionals as well as future homeowners.
GBBR’s Political Action Committee hosted the REALTOR® Idol Contest, an innovative RPAC fundraiser featuring dinner and karaoke at The River Watch Restaurant & Marina Deck in Middle River, Maryland. The GBBR Charitable Foundation hosted its first “Bags for Baltimore” Designer Handbag Bingo Event (a sell-out!) at the Tall Cedars hall in Parkville, Maryland, raising $12,000 to support projects and programs throughout the year.
The year-long theme of the sesquicentennial celebration was “Leading the Way.” The association sponsored a series of events in honor of the achievement, culminating with a major Gala at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Baltimore on April 5, 2008. More than 500 guests attended the event, which also raised more than $145,000 for the Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS® Charitable Foundation endowment fund.
The funds enabled the GBBR RPAC to support a massive communications effort aimed at local elected officials, helping to successfully protect real estate services from additional sales tax legislation. The REALTORS®’ collective voice was heard at a rally at the state capitol in Annapolis, Maryland, and both current and potential Maryland homeowners received the benefit.
The move allowed GBBR to double its office space, classrooms and conference rooms, and provide an expanded office area for the GBBR Federal Credit Union. GBBR was named the third largest trade association in the Baltimore metropolitan area by the Baltimore Business Journal in December 2006.
The GBBR Charitable Foundation made a major pledge of dollars and in-kind support for the construction of Our Playground at Stadium Place, a community designed one-acre playground built between April and July 2005 on a portion of the former Memorial Stadium site in Baltimore City. The playground was the first of its kind developed in Baltimore City.
GBBR in conjunction with the GBBR Charitable Foundation expanded its efforts to support the Adopt-A-Classroom program, a nationally-renown non-profit organization which channels donation funds directly into purchasing supplies and educational materials needed in public schools. Since its inaugural year working with the program, the Foundation has adopted over 100 classrooms within the Baltimore area, enriching the local classroom experience and increasing both teachers’ and students’ chances for success.
GBBR teamed with the Baltimore City government and private foundations to create the innovative SCOPE Project (Selling City Owned Properties Efficiently), a streamlined and industry-friendly approach to marketing city-owned, vacant properties to investors and homeowners alike.
GBBR earned national recognition by receiving the HOPE Award for its media/public awareness campaign “Know Housing Fraud When You See It.” The project targeted educating first-time homebuyers on ways to avoid being victimized in fraudulent real estate transactions.
The Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS® Charitable Foundation, Inc. was formed to support and engage in charitable, civic, educational and humanitarian activities and programs designed to improve the quality of life in neighborhoods within the Baltimore metropolitan area.
GBBR moved its headquarters to a new location in Baltimore County at 1306 Bellona Avenue, Lutherville, Maryland. GBBR launched its first website, www.RealtorsBaltimore.com.
GBBR opens a satellite office in Ellicott City, Maryland, to better serve members working in the western region of the metropolitan area.
This time period included many notable highlights. GBBR’s membership reached 5,000 persons, making the Board one of the largest local real estate boards in the nation. The GBBR School of Real Estate was created, which still currently offers pre-licensing education courses for those that wish to become a real estate agent in the state of Maryland. The GBBR Political Action Committee was established to unite efforts to advocate for members in the local and state-level legislative arenas. GBBR began holding both residential and commercial trade show conventions at the Baltimore Convention Center. Additionally, GBBR took a lead position in having settlement costs reduced in property transactions, and supported lead paint-related legislation enacted by the Maryland General Assembly.
GBBR allows all REALTOR® members to maintain membership –salespersons and brokers alike– that met membership requirements, as well as allowing them to hold Board voting rights.
GBBR was the first local organization to sign the “Equal Opportunity in Housing” statement with HUD.
The Board changed its name from the Real Estate Board of Baltimore to the Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS® (GBBR). This rebranding provided better identification with the National Association of REALTORS®’ trademarks and enforcement of their Code of Ethics.
The Board moved its headquarters to 1501 W. Mount Royal Avenue in Baltimore City. The Central Maryland Multiple List Service (MARIT) occupied part of the building.
The Maryland REALTORS® moved to a new office in Annapolis, Maryland. Before then, the Baltimore Board’s location had housed Maryland REALTORS®’s activities and records.
During the Johnson administration, the Board initiated the procedure to extend non-discriminatory prohibitions to all federally funded institutions.
The Board supported landlord rights by advocating for an ordinance requiring tenants to give adequate notice to landlords before moving, as well as clean up the property and return all keys to the owner of the property. With the Board’s encouragement, both the Baltimore American newspaper and the Baltimore Sun newspaper began publishing separate real estate sections in their Sunday editions.
The Real Estate Board of Baltimore moved its headquarters from 7 Saint Paul Street to 7 E. Lexington Street in Baltimore City.
The Board named rent control policies as a “necessary evil” during the World War II, but continued to battle against the unjust laws until the Federal law was finally repealed.
Twenty-five real estate brokers from Baltimore City and several counties met to create an organization to lobby for enactment of real estate license laws. This organization was called the Maryland REALTORS®.
The Board supported and advocated for construction projects such as the Howard Street extension, the Franklin Street Viaduct, the creation of the Bay Bridge, the building of Memorial Stadium and the building of the Civic Center.
The Board formed a multiple listing bureau.
The Board began a movement to bring all lines of business related to real estate under one organization.
The Board opposed rent control and established a Fair Rent Committee. To honor local World War I hero George B. Redwood, the Board proposed and successfully endorsed the change of German Street to the name of Redwood Street in Baltimore City.
A multiple listing service of properties for sale was organized, and sponsored by the Real Estate Board of Baltimore.
The organization changed its name to Real Estate Board of Baltimore.
The Baltimore Board re-organized again, under the leadership of B. Howard Richards, and leased office space at 15 E. Fayette Street, in Baltimore City.
The National Association of Real Estate Exchange (now NAR) adopted a strict Code of Ethics. It was noted that the Baltimore Board played a key role in establishing the original concepts, which were evident in the Baltimore Board’s by-laws.
A pamphlet published by the Real Estate Exchange of Baltimore noted the growth of the Baltimore Board; there were now 44 members total, including two remaining from the original 11 founding members.
The Baltimore Board was recognized as a founding member of the National Association of Real Estate Exchange — now known as the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) — the largest trade association in the country.
A re-organization of the Baltimore Board took place.
Founded as the Baltimore Board of Real Estate Brokers and Property Agents, the organization was first formed to ensure the ethical practices of city brokers, and enhance the value of real estate. There were 11 members total; William Warfield served as President and Samuel Snowden served as the Secretary-Treasurer.