Entry by Mollie Wasserman

Mother NAR's Approval

  1 Comment

Yesterday in one of the list-serves that I belong to, a member brought up a topic which comes up all the time when prospective ACRE's contact the counsel about whether ACRE was "approved by NAR". This is what he wrote:

"Please, believe me when I say that I do not want to open a can of worms with this topic, however, I feel I need some direction from those who have gone before. Who among us has already gotten their Ecobroker designation? I am confused by the fact that NAR seems to be headed off in their own direction with a separate designation when EcoB. Seems to have been the leader in this area. I want to share and participate in a process in which I feel strongly, however, I have neither the time or money to be duplicating efforts here. I don't believe I have seen this before...dueling designations. Guidance from above please..."

This was my response:

When I started ACRE® over two years ago, I thought about what I could do to get Mother NAR's Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. (If you note sarcasm in this remark...you are reading me right). I have changed my outlook on this 180 degrees. I no longer care or will chase after them. Here's why:

I looked at the history of designations that started off on their own and then were later "approved" by NAR. Specifically, ABR and e-PRO. In both cases, I thought that the original designations had far more meat and even more importantly, were far more true to their original purpose than the designations had once they became NAR approved. IMHO, in order to get NAR's ok, the courses had to be watered down so that they were easy to obtain for the greatest number of idiots among us (remember, it's all about the money - the more designees, the more course fees).

Additionally, they were adapted so that didn't offend anyone. It also took a long time - remember how controversial buyer agency was at the beginning? Agents that got their ABR before it was part of NAR were the early adopters - I was one and remember voicing at the time that if we were truly to become agents of buyers, we needed to address the compensation issue: how do you truly advise the buyer in getting them the best price when you are paid as a percentage of the home's sale price? Even if you can honestly say that you do (and most of us do), even if you have a set speech about the extra couple hundred dollars not being worth our reputation for getting the buyer the best deal, on it's face, it just doesn't square. The public isn't stupid - and these explanations don't answer the fact that providing objective fiduciary counsel to buyers when how much we get paid (or whether we get paid at all) is wholly dependent on an outcome that we are advising them on, presents a clear conflict of interest. You cannot ask the consumer to buy into something that just doesn't jive. It sounds like you are making excuses for a system that no longer makes sense with the new realities rather than changing it to one that does.

I think the ABR designation, if left to it's original developers, would have addressed the compenstion issue, but once NAR took it over, forgetaboutit. And I can tell you that as one of the first 50 agents that beta tested e-PRO as designed by Michael Russer, the course was far more challenging than when it was taken over by the Internet Crusade and approved by NAR. Remember, NAR is about bringing in money and if you make the program too difficult, less people sign up.

So, when we, at the ACRE® Council, get the commonly asked question of: "Is ACRE approved by NAR?" our answer is "Not at this time, but by taking it now, you have the oppportunity to grab tons of market share as a trained consultant, rather than waiting and then competing with everyone else who is jumping on the bandwagon."

One of our ACRE®s commented yesterday on our Coaching Exchange that "Markets don't change during good times, they change during hard times. When things are tough, minds are open to change. We are about to see huge, big changes for our industry." I couldn't agree more - it's what sustains me with building a group of professionally trained real estate consultants - not agents that simply call themselves "consultants" because it sounds better. Believe me when I tell you that after practicing consulting all these years and then starting ACRE®, there have been many times when I feel like throwing in the towel because our industry is so resistant to change, even when the writing is on the wall that change needs to happen. Then, I remember my favorite quote of Margaret Mead's (which I've quoted many times but bears repeating): "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

I would strongly recommend that we take courses when they are offered by the original developers. Many times if and when they are absorbed by NAR, you will still have the designation, but you can capture tons of market share in the meantime. In this world there are leaders and their are followers. I choose to be a leader - and education is never a waste.

I would be interested in your thoughts about the topic in general and my response. Agree? Disagree?


1 Comment

I agree with you Mollie 329% (no that isn't a typo).

As another one of the e-PRO beta testers when Russer first started it, the course was far harder than it is now. Additionally, it is not an NAR designation, it is a 'certification'.

What does that mean? That people got tired of paying for a course then having to pay every year to keep their designation. I think InternetCrusade did that right, whether by design or default, because once you are an e-PRO, you do not have to pay the "annual hostage fee" because it is not a designation.

When I first started helping Mollie with ACRE (and it seems like way more than 2 yrs ago) I got a big ephiphany when I started checking into getting Mother NAR's blessing and Mollie is right, it is all about the money, and if you make it simple, more agents will pay because they love those initials after their names ;-) That is another reason why we did not want to have ACRE's pay annual hostage fees to be able to say they are an ACRE because we didn't believe in that ourselves.

Me? I don't care about initials, I have some I don't even use, and yes, I also agree you can never get too much education, and no, I will not EVER pay a yearly hostage fee just because it's sanction by NAR, EVER.

If e-PRO ever does get sanctioned as a designation by NAR, and they want an annual hostage fee, I'll drop it in a heartbeat too.

I get real aggravated (can ya tell?) at the way NAR has really messed us all up as Realtors. We pay national dues, local dues, MLS dues, lockbox dues, designation dues, PAC, Advertising NAR deems necessary dues, I don't know about you, but I'm due'd to death! And what do we get for it? They sold us out to Realtor.com so we now we have to pay them a lot of money to compete for our own internet business. What a brilliant idea that was imho.

Maybe it's time for a change in our industry other than just consulting. I wonder what NAR would do if everyone said "ENOUGH ALREADY!" and refused to pay? The economy is so bad now that NAR has lost tons of members (read: less money by members, another idea on how to make it up - perhaps by raising designation dues?)

NAR does what is best for NAR, not the agents that pay their high salaries.

I wonder if they have a lear jet or annual high priced parties like Wells Fargo? ;-)

LOL, ok, off my soapbox about this subject!

This page contains a single entry by Mollie Wasserman published on February 6, 2009 9:33 AM.

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