The Consulting Professional

Welcome to ACRE
The Accredited Consultant in Real Estate®

We welcome you to The Consulting Professional, our Accredited Consultant in Real Estate® website!

We invite you to wander around and explore what's here! If you're already an ACRE, you can log in using your email address and password from the previous ACRE site and immediately have access to the ACRE-Only sections of the site.

If you are not (yet) an ACRE, there's still a lot of information here to enjoy, and we encourage you to subscribe to our mailing list below. If you're ready to become an ACRE and want to enroll in the all-new ACRE Designation Course, just click here to get started!     

Thanks for your interest! 

 


 

Please keep me updated on what's happening at ACRE. 

 
 

 

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and the ACRE 2.0 team

 


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Become an ACRE

Do you think you have enough information to know if becoming an ACRE is something you’d like to do? If so, let’s get started! Below are instructions to do just that.

If not, how can we help you make the right decision for you? Have you checked out the “What is Real Estate Consulting” page? The FAQ’s? Have you taken the free mini-course “Is Real Estate Consulting Right for You?” Or, of course, just ask us your questions and we’ll do our best to clear things up for you.

Once you’re ready to go, here’s what you’ll do.

Click HERE to be taken to the SWS Bookstore to purchase the program. Once your enrollment is complete, you can begin working toward your ACRE designation right away.  

Once you complete the program and receive your designation, you’ll receive instructions on how to register for access to the private ACREs-Only areas of The Consulting Professional website and how to be added to the ACRE Locator Map. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 
  • What exactly IS Real Estate Consulting and how is it different from what I’m doing now?

Real estate consulting is a mindset; a way of doing business that involves consulting WITH clients rather than selling TO them. A real estate consultant focuses on evaluating the client’s unique and individual needs and then offering intelligent solutions to addressing those needs. A real estate consultant offers quality, transparent choices, both in the types of services clients can receive and how those services can be paid for.

Real estate consulting is simply a different approach to a real estate career, distinct from the traditional “sales” model most licensees are familiar with. Perhaps the best way to explain it is to use an example from outside the real estate industry to illustrate the difference.

Let’s use the life insurance industry. Most insurance agents are in actuality salespeople. They are paid on commission and that commission varies by the product their customers purchase and how much they purchase of it. Term life insurance pays the agent very little; variable annuities pay much more. When you meet with a life insurance agent to discuss your own needs for insurance, that agent has a choice to make: he can take a consultant’s approach and objectively help you determine the best product and amount of coverage for your needs without considering his own needs for a higher paycheck, or he can take a salesperson’s approach and encourage you to purchase as much of the highest-commission-paying insurance as possible.

Do you see the difference? In one scenario, the insurance agent is simply pushing product to ensure himself the highest payday and in the other, the agent is objectively consulting with his client to ensure that the client selects the best product for her situation.

The parallels to the real estate industry are obvious. Because we are traditionally paid only when someone buys or sells a home, and the more expensive the home, the more money we make (or conversely, the quicker a home sells, the faster and easier we make our money) we are often put in an uncomfortable position of advising someone to take a course of action that may or may not benefit us; in fact, in some cases, our advice might ensure that we don’t get paid at all!

Real estate consulting, when practiced properly, solves this dilemma and is simply a better way to run a real estate business.

  • Do I need my broker’s permission to offer consulting?

Yes. In virtually all jurisdictions, any money paid by your clients must be paid to your broker (not to you); therefore, it is absolutely necessary that your broker be on board. Unfortunately, it’s quite possible that your broker has never heard of real estate consulting and may not be interested in learning about it at this time. We talk more about this in the ACRE® Designation course, but for now just know that yes, you must have your broker’s blessing to practice real estate consulting.

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  • How do I promote my consulting services?

You would probably promote your real estate consulting services the same way you promote your current business model – to your sphere of influence, in your blog, on your website, to your geographic farm, at open houses; whatever is working for you now will also work for you as a consultant. The great news is that real estate consulting opens up far more potential clients for you and gives you more services to offer them! Not to mention you’ll have something unique and special to say aside from the ho-hum marketing your competition is putting out there!

  • Is ACRE recognized by NAR or CREA?

No. And we’re okay with that. We don’t believe that it’s the designation itself that provides value; it’s what you do with what you learned to get the designation that will make a difference in your career. Frankly, we like the way we do things around here and at this time, are not interested in getting approval for our program from an outside entity who may or may not support the principles and ideologies we hold dear.

  • Will I make more (or less) money as a consultant?

Maybe! It’s completely up to you, of course, but if you’re asking how offering your clients choices in how they pay you will affect your overall compensation, the consensus seems to be among our practicing ACRE®s that offering choice improves their bottom line; it doesn’t detract from it. In other words, yes, you can make just as much money (or more) even if your clients don’t always pay you by commission.

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  • My business is floundering – how can having my ACRE designation help?

I wish we could say that once you obtain your ACRE designation, you’re good to go and you’ll see a magical turnaround in your business. But the truth is, no designation is a magic bullet and anyone who promises you it is – well, they’re lying. Simply reprinting your business cards to include the ACRE logo (as attractive as it is!) and showing up on the ACRE Locator Map will decidedly NOT save a failing real estate business.

That said, we hope that you are considering real estate consulting because you’re excited about the possibilities and believe that having the tools and training to Go Forth and Consult will give you that boost of energy you’ve been needing to make things happen in your business. That you see opportunities all around you and can’t wait to after them. That you’ll find yourself re-energized and excited about your business again.

The truth is, as a real estate consultant, you have the flexibility and ability to offer far more services to far more potential clients, and frankly, have a better “product” to sell (YOU!). You’ll also have a community of other real estate consultants to connect with as you’re building your practice; ones who really GET what you’re hoping to achieve and will support you 100%.

  • Explain your relationship with Jennifer Allan Hagedorn's Sell with Soul

The original ACRE® Course and Designation was created by Mollie Wasserman, the author of The End of 6%. In late 2011, Mollie handed the ACRE® baton over to Jennifer Allan Hagedorn, the author of the Sell with Soul series of books and the founder of the Exceptional Agent Project. Therefore the ACRE® Designation program is now under Jennifer’s leadership as a separate, but fully integrated division of Sell with Soul. Mollie is still around, just not involved in the day-to-day!

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  • Do real estate consultants frown on traditional commissions?

Yes… and no. How’s that for definitive?

Seriously, real estate consultants tend to have a love/hate relationship with real estate commissions. On one hand, we understand that being paid by commission is one option our clients expect and in many cases, it very well may be the best option for a home-buyer or –seller! When a client pays us by a contingent commission (that is, we are only paid if there is a closing and the amount of the commission is based on the price of the home), they have placed all the risk of the transaction on our shoulders and we have agreed to accept that risk… at a price. This is why real estate commissions are as high as they are – not just to pay for our service and expertise, but also to compensate us for the risk we assume in a traditional transaction. If a buyer or seller cannot or doesn’t want to take any of that risk (that is, pay us in part or in full on a non-contingent basis), then a contingent commission is probably the best choice for both the client and the consultant.

However, where real estate consultants often struggle philosophically with the commission approach is justifying the notion that our commission should be based on the price of the property bought or sold. We just don’t have a good answer to the question: “Why do I pay twice as much to sell my $400,000 home as I would to sell a $200,000 one?” And we don’t like not having good answers to reasonable questions ;-].

  • What sorts of advertising will you do to attract consumers to the concept of consulting?

At this time, ACRE® will not be investing in any national promotion of real estate consulting in general, or ACRE® specifically. What we’ve found is that consumers look for their real estate agent locally and, because most consumers have no idea real estate consulting is even an option for them it’s unlikely they’ll go in search of a real estate consultant from a non-local online resource. While the ACRE® website will eventually offer explanatory material about consulting specifically for consumers, provide a map and locator for consumers to identify ACRE®s in their area and help members create local promotional material they can use in your own market, we won’t be making any significant investments into national advertising campaigns.

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Why would anyone pay for services everyone else offers for free? Or related: Why would anyone pay upfront for services others offer contingently?

Excellent questions! Why, indeed?

These two questions are perhaps two of the most important questions for any aspiring real estate consultant to find answers to. In fact, they’re so important that we AREN’T going to answer them here; we’ll encourage you to think about it and answer them for yourself in a manner that satisfies you. But be assured these questions DO have intelligent answers that should satisfy anyone considering including consulting in their own practice of real estate. (HINT: think win/win).

About Us

Jennifer Allan Hagedorn

brick cropped small-thumb-250x164-1817.jpg Jennifer was a top producing real estate broker in Denver, Colorado before writing her first book in 2007. Since then, she has written several more books about the business of selling real estate including her flagship book: Sell with Soul: Creating an Extraordinary Career in Real Estate without Losing Your Friends, Your Principles or Your Self-Respect, the sequel, If You're Not Having Fun Selling Real Estate, You're Not Doing it Right and Prospect with Soul for Real Estate Agents.

As the leader of the ACRE® community, Jennifer brings with her a vision of a real estate industry inhabited by professionals, not hucksters. Of an industry where we are respected members of society, rather than the punch lines to bad jokes. Where our clients don't balk at our fees because they recognize and appreciate the value we bring to the table. But she doesn't believe that this utopian real estate society happens by chance, or with expensive national advertising or defensive protestations as to the value of our service. She believes that we can EARN the respect of the public by BEING competent, caring, client-centered professionals who know how to get the job done.

Jennifer is excited to bring this vision to ACRE®. Perhaps we won't change the world today or tomorrow, but we can create a safe place for those of us who want to be a part of making this vision a very real reality!

Merv Forney

merv_cw.jpg Merv is the developer of the real estate industry's first Activity Based Pricing model, known as SmartPlan™, which allows real estate agents to price their services on actual work performed. SmartPlan™ provides complete consumer cost transparency that is inherently lacking in the traditional commission model. SmartPlan™ is available to any real estate agent or organization as an optional service pricing strategy and coupled with the ACRE® designation and consulting practice provides a unique value proposition setting you apart from your competition.

In 2004 Merv and his wife Pamela formed the Choice3 Realty Group doing business exclusively as real estate consultants. Merv used his 25+ years experience as an executive with IT services firm EDS to develop his real estate consulting models using Acivity Based Pricing. Early on, Merv found Mollie and discovered her successful approach was very similar and further solidified the Choice3 business model.

In March of 2005, Merv launched one of the very first national and regional real estate Blogs: the Northern Virginia Real Estate Guide. When active, the Blog was consistently ranked among the top 100 nationally and consistently recieved over 100,000 page views per month. His consulting business model, technology expertise and business approach served him well in an industry ready for significant change.

Prior to launching his real estate career, Merv founded the Business Interchange Group (BIG), a management and technology consulting firm. Merv's business and technology background from a successful 25 year career with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) allows him to also develop and/or deploy many web based technologies used for real estate and small business clients.

Merv is now focusing his time and energies assisting brokers and real estate agents with marketing, technology and the use of his proprietary SmartPlan™ through the Business Interchange Group.

Judi Bryan

JudiBryan-thumb.jpg Judi is a real estate Broker affiliated with RE/MAX Accord in Bloomingdale, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. She has served on her local Board of Realtors in various capacities, including the Education Committee, Technology Task Force, Equal Opportunity in Housing Committee, and Professional Standards Committee. First licensed in 1983, Judi's been an enthusiastic participant in the dramatic changes that have appeared on the real estate industry landscape.

Early to embrace emerging technologies, Judi has always believed that there must be better, faster, more efficient ways to perform the functions an agent must perform, benefitting both the agent and the clients they serve. To that end, she established herself early on as the go-to person among her piers for anything having to do with tools, resources, technologies.

As a respected contributor to numerous online real estate communities for many years, Judi was selected to be among a handful of highly regarded agents from around the country to beta test the revolutionary new ACRE® program designed to enable agents to broaden both the services they provide the consumer as well as their ability to get paid for them. Since experiencing the program first hand, Judi has been actively sharing her thoughts and talents in the ACRE® community.

Ron Stuart

ron-stuart-thumb-143x193-1163.pngReal Estate Brokerage is Ron’s second career having spent the first twenty-something years of his business life in the IT world.

After eight years with a major nationally franchised brokerage he became disillusioned with how the Real Estate Industry treats consumers. As Ron was researching a more consumer-friendly business model, HarbourSide Realty Ltd., a local boutique-sized firm, offered a partnership opportunity in an innovation-supportive environment where he has practiced for the last twelve years.

With his own research and an eye on his previous IT experience Ron devised a fee-for-service business model that has worked well with listing clients for several years. Along the way he discovered ACRE® and the Real Estate Consulting Institute, a nurturing environment in which he refined his existing model and developed a consulting oriented approach for Buyers. He has written various articles for the Graduate Exchange, provided personal coaching to fellow ACRES® and delivered several training webinars for the ACRE® Community while serving as a member of that body’s Advisory Council.

Ron is a Past-President of the Nova Scotia Association of REALTORS®, a past commissioner of the Nova Scotia Real Estate Commission and a Fellow of the Real Estate Institute (FRI). He continues a regulatory involvement with the Licensing Committee of NSREC. His current real estate practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia is almost exclusively consulting oriented.

Mollie Wasserman

molliew.jpgMollie is the author of The End of 6% - How to Get the Real Estate Expertise You Need Without Paying Commission (unless you want to), which outlines the consulting model for the consumer. She is also the author of Ripping the Roof off Real Estate and the coauthor of How to Make Your Realtor® Get You the Best Deal, Massachusetts Edition.

She founded the Accredited Consultant in Real Estate® (ACRE) Training and Certification Program in 2006 and continues on the Council working on special projects such as teaching workshops and the course in a live environment as well as presenting the consulting model to real estate groups.

Mollie has been at the forefront of real estate technology from the beginning of her real estate career. Her first website, MollieW.com went live in March of 1996. It has been featured in Banker & Tradesman, Forbes.com, Money.com, and the magazine for the National Association of Realtors®. In 1998, Intel profiled her as "the agent of the future" in its research paper on the transformation of the real estate industry.

Mollie holds a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing from Northeastern University. She has achieved considerable distinction in her 15-year real estate career, earning recognition as an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), an e-PRO 500 (Select 50) Certified Internet Professional, an iSucceed Mentor, and one of only 200 Cyberstars™ around the world: an elite group of Realtors® who have generated a significant portion of their business through the use of current technology.

Contact Us

Need more information about real estate consulting, the ACRE® program, our agents, the course or designation? You can send us your questions and/or comments to the ACRE® Council by sending us an email  at site.admin@theconsultingprofessional.com.

Is Consulting Right for Me?
Are you wondering if real estate consulting and ACRE® are right for you, right now? Let’s find out! If you have a few minutes, just click HERE to enroll in a little mini-course entitled (quite cleverly) “Is Real Estate   more …

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Mollie's Book

How to Get the Real Estate Expertise You Need Without Paying Commission*

by Mollie Wasserman
Buy now on Amazon.com

*Unless You Want To

ACRE 2.0 is HERE!

You have landed on the new website for the Accredited Consultant in Real Estate® community and designation program. New approach, new leadership and new coursework. Please feel free to browse around and share your thoughts, feedback and suggestions on what you see. You can join the ACRE mailing list here: www.TheConsultingProfessional.com. Thanks for visiting!