After a nationwide search, the influential California Association of Realtors has named John Sebree as its next CEO to lead more than 200,000 Realtors, the trade group announced Monday.
Current CEO Joel Singer will retire on Jan. 5, 2022 after 43 years at C.A.R., including 32 years as CEO. Sebree, currently CEO of the Missouri Realtors, will start at the Los Angeles-based association on Feb. 1, “but will begin connecting and engaging prior to that,” a C.A.R. spokesperson told Inman via email.
The association is one of the largest state trade organizations nationwide and has a lot of clout in California state politics.
“John’s deep industry expertise and insight into the many issues facing the real estate industry and our members will help him enhance the association’s value proposition so that real estate professionals can remain at the center of the real estate transaction and succeed in today’s rapidly changing real estate market,” said 2022 C.A.R. President Otto Catrina in a statement.
“With extensive knowledge of organized real estate and the legislative process, he is well-positioned to positively impact members’ business success and ensure Realtors’ marketplace and public policy impact.”
Sebree told Inman he would enhance the association’s value proposition by being an even stronger business partner to members and constantly embracing new ways to help members provide expertise and value.
“I am hyper focused on making California Realtors more and more indispensable to consumers,” he said via email.
Sebree is an industry veteran with decades of experience. He began his career as a staffer for the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs. After two years there, the National Association of Realtors hired him to work in its Government Affairs division in Washington, D.C., where he was a senior legislative representative working with the congressional delegations of eight states.
After 13 years at NAR, he spent 11 years as senior vice president of public policy for Florida Realtors. He’s been CEO of Missouri Realtors since September 2014.
Sebree said he was anxious to get to California in the New Year and meet with the association’s team in Sacramento. Sebree’s experience in Florida with property insurance “has uniquely prepared him for the wildfire insurance crisis,” C.A.R. told Inman. Sebree also gained experience in Florida working on water issues and built coalitions to tackle issues such as housing affordability and supply, the trade group said.
“John brings experience, inspiration and a forward-thinking perspective that will position C.A.R. membership for success in an always evolving environment,” Singer said in a statement. “I have great confidence in John’s and our leadership team’s abilities to guide the organization forward and be staunch advocates for C.A.R.’s policy positions.
“It’s been a great pleasure and honor to work with outstanding colleagues and leadership in serving the association and the Realtor community.”
In a statement, Sebree said he was “excited and honored” to be named the trade group’s new leader.
“My goal is to ensure the Realtor organization is the pre-eminent source of essential business services and the strongest force advocating for our members’ interests,” he said.
Asked what his first priorities as CEO will be, Sebree said, “Even before I get to California on February 1, I am committed to meeting as many staff as possible. I really want to promote a positive, supportive culture at the association. I am also eager to connect with the 100+ local association executives and as many members as possible.”
He said his “special” priorities will be housing affordability and supply, fair housing, modernizing the real estate transaction, and sustainability. C.A.R. noted that Sebree has a history of embracing the concept of a robust Realtor Party, which is what NAR calls its political advocacy arm, “which means advancing public policy issues that make our communities stronger.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional comments from Sebree and C.A.R.