Tony Levison’s business instinct to become a real estate broker during the housing recession in 2012 was a smart move. Just a few years later, his real estate career in Central Oregon is thriving and Levison, a broker with Windermere Real Estate, is set to take over as the president of the Central Oregon Association of REALTORS in 2019.

“I always wanted to get into real estate when I was young and I thought it was the perfect time to start because there were a lot less brokers at that time,” said Levison.

“There were more foreclosures and short sales, and very little traditional sales at that time.”

Levison will help lead the organization, which consists of both the local level of the REALTOR association and the Multiple Listing Service of Central Oregon. Serving as the COAR president entails leading the 24-member board of directors, which is advised by 10 committees that represent more than 2,500 members of the organization. As the voice in real estate for Central Oregon, it is no small task.

The organization works to promote homeownership through the protection of private property rights, increasing housing inventory and providing accurate information to the community about the real estate market. The real estate industry is in a time of rapid change and technology disruption. COAR works to ensure that its members are prepared for these changes in order to best serve their clients. Further, COAR enforces the Code of Ethics established by the National Association of REALTORS to protect buyers and sellers.

COAR’s members are also deeply involved in the local community. Over the past year, the organization was able to contribute over $130,000 to nonprofits in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties. Additionally, members worked to raise nearly $200,000 for nonprofits.

Levinson is one of those members who volunteer regularly for local nonprofits. He is currently involved with the Mount Bachelor Rotary, served on the board of the Latino Community Association, and is a past chair for the Young Professional Network for Central Oregon Association of Realtors. He is also a board member of the Center for Economic Research Forecasting Oregon.

“I’ve always been part of some kind of nonprofit since high school,” said Levison. “I feel like there are a lot of people who need help and that if I don’t do it, who will?”

He also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity as a family mentor. In that role, he worked alongside a Spanish– speaking family to help them set up a budget and prepare for the purchase of a home.

“I helped them with their finances and to build a strong budget,” he said, which took about eight months.

Levison is fluent in Spanish, both speaking and writing, which is a valuable asset when volunteering and working with Spanish–speaking homebuyers.

Levison grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and attended Georgia State University. He had friends living in Central Oregon and fell in love with the High Desert during his visits, so he decided to move to Bend in 2006.

As a broker, Levison says that helping people find just the right home and putting deals together are the highlights of his job.

“Tony’s enthusiasm for helping consumers achieve the dream of homeownership is at the heart of COAR’s mission. Further, he is very active in the local community serving on local nonprofit boards and other leadership positions. His experience in the community and as a broker will be invaluable to his service as our 2019 president,” said Casie Conlon, CEO of COAR and MLSCO.

Levison, the COAR executive committee, and newly elected board members were officially installed during COAR’s annual holiday banquet Friday.