Entry by John Goddin

What is ACRE ?

  12 Comments

I have been a member since late December and have followed the ongoing discussion regarding ACRE's present and future with great interest. I applaud all of you who are trying to reform the real estate industry and are willing to put forth time and resources toward that end as it certainly is an industry in need of changes. One thing that I am interested in knowing and can't find on the web site is how ACRE is structured. Is it a

  • for profit corporation

  • not for profit corporation

  • partnership among the council members

  • a sole proprietorship

  • something else ?

The reason I ask is not because I have a problem with any of these set ups, but because I think if you want people to buy into a concept of transparency in their real estate practice that should be reflected in the way this organization is set up. I recognize that it takes considerable time and resources to run both an organization and a web site and I have zero problem with the people who do that being fairly compensated, but I do think the members should be able to understand how things are set up.

The related question I would then ask is where do you see ACRE headed structurally (and I recognize that is subject to change) ? It seems to me that if ACRE hopes to have a real seat at the table when it comes to how real estate is bought and sold, it will eventually need to be a member driven non profit organization with a President, board, etc. of elected members who are in charge and day to day operations handled by a professional support staff – sort of like NAR purports to be, but with members who belong because they believe in the organization rather than they have to belong in order to access MLS, and a leadership that actually cares what the membership really wants rather than relying on the fact that most members don't pay much attention to what their leaders are doing unless it costs them money. In my opinion, any sort of designation will not really mean much until you get to that point. The current structure seems to try to be sort of a benevolent dictatorship and that may be the way it needs to be to get things going, but seems unsustainable to me in the long term, given what I perceive to be the goals here.

12 Comments

John, 

I agree with you in many of your comments. Not only is it necessary for us all to know ACRE's legal structure, but also its' vision and mission based on that structure. Though I'll disagree with you on the necessity of setting it up similar to NAR in any fashion. 

One of my biggest concerns are the somewhat conflicting comments about changing the industry, but then opposite comments about not wanting to change the industry. A hard sell will come when trying to convince current and future members, if the cost associated with joining having any value.

I have said that the manual for the ACRE training has a value unto itself and would have paid any where from $10 to $200 almost on the spot. I spent $250 on a manual as I was exploring offering my program as an MLM and all I got was information I already had sitting on my book shelf in the form of business books. I couldn't return it and chalked it up to lesson learn.

But what I got in the ACRE manual was more of an insight of where the market really wants to move. The manual to me contain what looked like a framework of what the forum would offer more of--getting away from the old stoggy processes and offering a solid foundation of how it was to be done.  A definitive system that would not only convince the professionals, that consulting, no matter how present would benefit both the industry and the consumers they served. That others would formally have the opportunity to present equally compelling ideas and concepts that other members could consider using in their firms.

Though the Teleseminar cleared some of those thing up, more questions still remain, giving me pause about the future for ACRE. And I know Roman wasn't built in a day! I will allow time to be the bigger factor here and take a wait-and-see approach. Thank you for your suggestions ; )

 

John, I'm on the Board of Directors of a non-profit Commercial Real Estate Association. We are in the process of applying for 501(c)(6) status as an association. Not a real complicated procedure, but the IRS is very specific on what they want in the application and meeting the regulation. We shouldn't have a problem, but it is something we have to deal with.

John et al,

Having been with ACRE and Mollie since the beginning, the official organization she set up was a Limited Liability Company (LLC). Mollie's was  ACRE Council LLC and is annotated at the bottom of every web page, and at the bottom of all our individual course status emails.

Mollie is the sole owner and the Council consists of 3 volunteer individuals plus Mollie to provide guidance on the mission and direction of the company.

The organization was "for profit" and I have no expectation that it will be "non-profit" any time soon. ACRE is an education enterprise, with an altruistic mission of educating the public and industry that there is a different way to do business, one that you can trust has the client's best interest above our own and uses consulting philosophy and methodolgy to provide professional real estate services. In addition to the education mission, it has always had the objective of providing a facility for like minded graduate ACRE's to collaborate, the Exchange, where we are as we speak.

It is now up to Jennifer to setup what was ACRE LLC (now disbanded) into her business and "for profit" legal organization.

I hope this helps.

Merv

Benevolent dictatorship... I like the sound of that.

Seriously, thanks for bringing this up John, and for your comments, William, Merv and Michael.

When Mollie and I first discussed my taking over ACRE, I made it clear to her that I am not the person who is going to make ACRE a force to be reckoned with. I will not be attending national conferences or conventions, I won't be lobbying NAR and I won't be out networking with other consulting organizations to form an alliance to take over the RE industry.

Frankly, I don't really care what the Powers that Be in our industry have to say about our future because I believe a lot of what they've BEEN saying has gotten us into this mess we're in. As I mentioned in an earlier thread, I'm not all that interested in getting NAR's blessing for what we're doing because I think we can do something really special here without their interference help.

As far as how ACRE is set up from a business perspective, I guess you'd say it's currently a sole proprietorship. All money that will be coming into ACRE will go into my bank account and I will pay all the bills (which are adding up quickly and signficantly, I might add). I have no intention or desire to form partnerships or sell shares or create any sort of complicated organizational structure.

There was some early discussion initiated by a few members who indicated an interest in "sharing the wealth" of the new ACRE. I wasn't quite sure how to respond to that because 1) there is currently no wealth to be shared, although there are thousands of dollars of start-up costs and 2) ACRE was created to be a training program to help real estate practitioners learn about and practice real estate consulting. To my knowledge, ACRE was never intended to be any sort of money-making venue for members, outside of what they learn that they can use in their real estate businesses.

John - you mention the "designation not meaning much" until or unless we get a point where we are a nationally-recognized association with a president, elected board and such. That may indeed be true, and I'm fine with that. As I mentioned in our meeting this morning, I'm not doing this just to create yet another designation; I'm doing it to help real estate practitioners who want to practice real estate professionally, intelligently, creatively and respectfully. What I want our members to gain by their association with ACRE is knowledge, skills, confidence and pride in what they do, not just another meaningless group of letters to put on their business cards.

I understand that this approach may not sit well with everyone and that some may want to look elsewhere for a more formal, structured, perhaps even a more politically-aware group. But that's not where we're headed under my leadership.

Hope this helps!

 

William, to clarify any confusion about changing the industry... what I have said (and Mollie and I speak a slightly different language on this topic) is that I have no intention to try to change the industry. If the industry changes due to something I've/we've done here, then bravo for us, but my goal is simply to provide a sanctuary for those in our industry who take this career seriously, who see it as a profession and want to connect with other practitioners who feel the same way.

If we attract more like-minded souls into our world, and start to grow exponentially, that's dandy. But I won't be going out into the world trying to change anyone's mind about what a real estate career ought to be... if they like what they see us doing here and at SWS, they can come find us.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Thanks for the comments and info. I do find it helpful to know the motivations and goals of the organization, just as I think consumers of real estate services should understand the motivations and goals of the people that provide those services. The goal at this points seems to be to create a profitable, privately held educational resource for agents who are interested in practicing using consulting principles rather than sales techniques. That is something I can support. It is probably not a business model that I would want to take on since it seems like an uphill battle to get to the profitable part, but I hope that it is successful. As someone who sold real estate the traditional way for a long time and has offered programs similar to what you are teaching for a number of years, I can see both the need and potential benefits of what you are doing. I am not big on the value of designations and know from experience that one impediment to this way of doing business is that most real estate consumers (and a whole lot of agents as well) do not really have a clue as to how the industry really works, so providing educational resources can have a lot more value than a few letters to stick by your name.

It sounds as if we're on the same page, John! That's a good thing!

 

I will follow your progress and evolution with interest. Whether I end up buying what you end up selling will depend on what I perceive as its value versus its cost. Value can be looked at a lot of ways. To me, the value of the materials currently available here is somewhat minimal, but I come from a different background than most that I think you are trying to reach. There can also be value in helping to keep the effort going.

Happy to have you watching our progress to see if what evolves is something you would find useful... if you have suggestions as to what we can offer in the future to provide more value, I'd love to hear them.

A public site that helps convert both entry only and full service consumers into choice consumers through helping them understand how the industry really works and how they can benefit by working with someone who practices true agency and offers choices. In my experience, few consumers actively seek out real estate consultants. The ones who do are great clients – intelligent, educated and financially realistic. They are also a pretty small group. To get this site in front of enough eye balls to be effective you will need to have great SEO or buy clicks. I don't think too many people search for real estate consultants. They search for real estate agent, discount, rebate, flat fee, etc., usually paired up with a location.

A members site that not only teaches consulting principles but also how to be the best real estate agent possible, which includes sales techniques. Sellers may want you to give them the best advice possible geared toward their self interest rather than your own, but they also want you to do a great job selling their home for top dollar, as well they should.

Hi John,

I didn't respond right away to this 'cause I wanted to think on it a while ;-]

In your post, I think you may have nailed an inherent problem with trying to create a public site (that is, a site for the public) that funnels business to ACREs. As you say, consumers aren't out there looking for "real estate consultants" - they're looking for local agents who offer the services typically provided by a consulting real estate practitioner. If they happen to stumble onto our public site (which is a future initiative, not what we're focusing on now), they might be intrigued enough to check out our map which would be great... but until we have far more saturation of ACREs who are actually practicing consulting, the chance that we have someone in their market is relatively slim.

I currently have an SWS Referral Network with over 600 members and I still have problems matching referral requests with Network members, although we're getting there!

I guess my point to your first question/comment is that until we have a much broader network of actively practicing consultants, a site-for-the-public will be a backburner project and we'll have to leave it up to each individual ACRE to create a buzz around them and their consulting practice in their community. And THAT is something we can help with probably!

The members site... ahhhh... now that's a whole different story. What you're asking for is EXACTLY what the new ACRE/Exceptional Agent Project combo is being created to do.

 

To further the point a consumer does not think about real estate except (average) 5 days every 7 and a half years.  Thats a long time to keep a message current in thhe minds of a consumer that has no idea your even talking to them.  Sellers and buyers do not know they are even a client for 7 and a half years, then all of a sudden they are actve BUT they know personally up to 5 realtors.  The point is the window never opens up enough to shove the message through.

This page contains a single entry by John Goddin published on January 19, 2012 3:17 PM.

Our First Live Meeting! was the previous entry in this blog.

The Recording from Our First ACRE Live Meeting is the next entry in this blog.

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