The National Association of REALTORS®’ Action Plan On “Going Green”

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The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is in a unique position with regards to educating the general public and its members. As a professional trade association, it is the goal to continue to be on the cutting edge of technology and to foster opportunities that demonstrate a positive impact on the real estate profession. Regarding energy development, environmental management, and sustainability, the NAR has focused a lot of attention on going “green” and supports the incorporation of certain green initiatives into their operations. The benefits of this is two-fold; the consumer enjoys working with a real estate professional who is educated on green products, and the consumer can make an informed decision after seeking advice. As the “voice of real estate” it is important that the NAR is committed to being green for a lasting positive impact on the earth.

Potential Changes

The changes I would try and implement is to further the educational requirements to stay licensed as REALTOR® focusing on being ‘green.’ Not to say it is easy to keep your license, as there are many requirements and I respect the industry standards, however, I feel that licensing requirements are limited in scope compared to other industries with regards to specific real estate related topics.

For many CEOs, sustainable buildings have moved far beyond feel-good status. Plainly put, they’re just good business. They help control energy costs, protect and enhance brand reputation, demonstrate prudent management to investors and lenders, attract and satisfy tenants and employees, and hedge against future regulation. (Green Buildings, Canadian Business, Sept. 2011).

For example, LEED certified building such as NAR’s in Chicago, Illinois is at the heart of design.

Real estate professionals are typically highly paid individuals who work long hours to ensure that their clients’ interests are represented and protected. Often I hear people assume that it is easy to become a real estate agent or broker, as in Ontario, one only needs to take a six month course to obtain a real estate agent’s license. The industry is intentionally Darwinian, structured for only for the strong to survive, but the consumer dictates how real estate professionals are perceived. Should consumers feel there is a lack of rigor in real estate professional educational requirements, they may come to the conclusion that real estate professional’s jobs are easy. If NAR’s Green Resource Council were to revamp the Green designation, it may be better suited to promote sustainability throughout the world (Discussions, 2014). It is not to say a drastic change would be required to take place, I simply feel licensing educational requirements could be increased, so the public perception real estate professionals would be elevated.

I would also try and increase the global presence of the National Association of REALTORS®. Not to highlight my circumstance, but I recently received a Facebook message from a client on NAR’s research and development with Google. This client commented: “Manny, Ian, Chris, Mario, Marc, Gerrit, and anybody else who is either a real estate agent or studying to become one – Pretty interesting research collaboration done between Google and NAR around digital media usage among home shoppers.” (Facebook, 2013).

This comment is a perfect example of how consumers search for quality informational resources that focus on green. NAR could position itself as the worldwide leader for green educational requirements, which would add value to the REALTOR® brand by being a progressive leader in real estate.

Conclusion
The reach of NAR, as a professional association, is far beyond its REALTOR® membership. The opportunity to truly impact the profession and change public perception of real estate professionals throughout the world, lies with how NAR sets the stage for not only their members, but to that of the people real estate professionals serve: their clients.

References

Welcome. Energy Star homes. Retrieved from http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/products/energystar/12519

Welcome. LEED Canada for new construction and major renovation 2009. Retrieved from http://www.cagbc.org/

Welcome. HERS Index. Retrieved from http://www.hersindex.com/understanding

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