The latest fad in the Realtor designation world is some kind of Green designation. From Eco-broker to NAR’s latest Green Sustainable Designation. I commend everyone that goes out and spends time and effort to obtain these designations but what does it all really mean?
I’ve seen a few Realtors getting the designation for no other reason than to get it and because it’s a HOT trend. I’ve also seen Realtors that really want to make a difference and the designations get them closer to that goal. Whatever your reason is – would you please take a moment and think how you can help and REALLY make a difference?
Here are the basics from these courses as per NAR’s Green designation:
- Green building concepts, principles and practices
- Marketing to the green consumer
- The financial advantages of properties that are eco-friendly and energy efficient
- The significance of LEED, Energy Star, and other rating systems
- Regulatory issues, zoning and building codes as they relate to sustainability
- Advising clients seeking qualified “green” professionals
- Sustainable communities and land planning
- Green living: housekeeping, energy efficiency and air quality
- Greening your business
- Member support with referrals, marketing tools and consumer awareness campaigns
And here’s my rant……
What exactly is a GREEN CONSUMER? Is it a tofu-eating weirdo you only meet at Wholefoods? Is it a barefoot eccentric that refuses to drive to work? or is it an organic-cotton wearing hippie from the 60’s? Come on people!!! This whole concept totally offends me because it discriminates an environmental-conscious group that is no different than you and me! (or it IS you and me!)
When you recommend a recycled glass counter-top because it is GREEN, do you realize that you may have to transport that counter across the nation which would eliminate its green qualities?
When you point out eco-friendly bamboo flooring, do you know where that is harvested and where it is manufactured and transported?
While at architecture school we were taught the importance of keeping it local. The best architects always used native and local materials and landscaping – making it true to the area and absolutely GREEN.
Yes we can all make a difference – recycle, watch consumption, plant a tree……blah blah blah – but would you please really look around and see what your intent is?
If you are a fake Green, everyone will know …..really….. you will reek a conspicuous stench of artificial turf.
November 3, 2008 at 1:30 pm
I am a true Green. My wife, however, had to marry in.
November 3, 2008 at 1:58 pm
OMG DAN!! that totally made my day – you are hilarious!
November 3, 2008 at 2:35 pm
I’m confused. You are offended by people who are concerned about the envirmonment and want to help others be green? I don’t understand what is so wrong with that.
November 3, 2008 at 2:36 pm
Well said Ines! I bet you didn’t know that Environmental Education was my major in college. Come over and we can make some nachos in my solar cooker! 🙂
November 3, 2008 at 2:36 pm
oops, I should spell check more often!
November 3, 2008 at 2:40 pm
NikNik – I had NO idea!! I was going to study Environmental Engineering before I switched majors to architecture – looking forward to some of those solar cooked nachos! 😉
November 3, 2008 at 2:57 pm
I’d encourage folks to look beyond the NAR designation and consider the EcoBroker one instead – EcoBroker have been around longer and I’ve had got it about three or four years ago.
It’s the only class I’ve taken that offers applicable knowledge to how I practice real estate – and I’m a better Realtor for having taken it.
November 3, 2008 at 3:09 pm
Jim, I know so many eco-brokers that really understand what GREEN is all about….and others that just did it for the designation. Thanks for your take on this though.
November 3, 2008 at 3:50 pm
Heather, you totally misinterpreted the post. Of course I am not against people “who are concerned about the environment and want to help others be green?” – I am concerned for those that don’t do it for the right reasons, have ulterior motives and are FAKE about being green.
November 3, 2008 at 4:34 pm
Excelling observation. There is a fine line between actually promoting green lifestyles/products and “green washing”
Greenwash: (a portmanteau of green and whitewash) is a term used to describe the perception of consumers that they are being misled by a company regarding the environmental practices of the company or the environmental benefits of a product or service. It is a deceptive use of green PR or green marketing. The term green sheen has similarly been used to describe organizations which attempt to appear that they are adopting practices beneficial to the environment. – Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenwash
November 3, 2008 at 4:58 pm
Sign your self proclaimed “green” agent doesn’t understand the designation:
Picks you up to go look at houses for sale in a Hummer H2.
November 3, 2008 at 5:23 pm
Carson – NICE!!! I like it and had never heard of it (does that make me less Green?) 😉
Todd – you obviously get my point! LOL
November 3, 2008 at 6:51 pm
Ines, in my opinion just another way for NAR to make money. I quit taking classes that I had to renew every year.
I can see how some buyers in Ann Arbor would go for it though if marketed properly.
November 3, 2008 at 7:07 pm
Missy – I had a dear client ask me how I felt about these designations and I told him I did not want to be included in an “undefined group of Realtors” who may or may not be real to the cause – it did not make me less green and did not make me less knowledgeable for refusing it.
November 3, 2008 at 9:14 pm
Agreed and applauded. As someone about to undertake the finishing of a unit, my mind swirls with the choices, and what true ‘green’ renovation and design mean. I’ll do my best, but am sure to fall prey to “greenwashing”. It’s a bit like ordering the salad at McDonald’s. We know it’s not healthier, but how easy it is to assuage our own guilt. Is it the case of every bit helping, or do we have to work that much harder, and smarter? I’ll let you know what I personally find out.
November 3, 2008 at 9:39 pm
Ken!!! my “dear client” from above -you know it was you that instigated this! LOL
What’s important about GREEN is taking it at your own pace – personally I don’t think it’s all or nothing….most people would not even make the effort.
It’s in your mind, you know what to do and you will make the decision of what to take all the way.
November 3, 2008 at 9:53 pm
I don’t think it’s fair to recommend Eco-Broker over NAR, without taking the course. I’ve got copies of both courses and I find Eco-Broker to be a pitch on who to target market, whereas NAR’s course is actually explaining the concepts and ideologies (and then teaching how to target-market). I’ve got an instructor who is an Eco-Broker and after reading the NAR curriculum she regrets “wasting the money on the Eco-Broker” She also has a higher education in “Green”.
Frankly I’m surprised at this post. I considered many of you open minded folks… But, what’s wrong with education? I have just recently taken up living a “green” lifestyle, but it’s not a religion as it is to many. This is much like the Mac versus PC mentality. Folks find so much superiority in who’s really green. I applaud anyone who takes the time and effort to learn more about the topic. There are clients who want a green home, not because of the construction or materials, but because of the energy savings after purchase.
I’ve taken the earth-craft training and it wasn’t more than a teaser course; but it ws better than nothing. If we want consumers and builders to be more earth-conscious, we need not tie them to a tree; we simply need to educate them.
I don’t care if the agent drives an H2, I want the agent prepared to help the client who desires to be more responsible and sees the value.
All these potential clients are watching the HGTV trends toward being more green. Now, they want to own a piece of it. The agent need not be green, to understand the concepts.
Kudos to anyone who seeks more information and education…
November 3, 2008 at 10:08 pm
Matthew, there is absolutely nothing wrong with education – but my take is that just taking a course for a designation to attract those GREEN HGTV WATCHING CUSTOMERS, is a bit of a conflict and personally so is driving a huge SUV and preaching green.
It is all about intent – if you take those courses just to educate yourself and have a better understanding, then great! But if you take one of those courses and then talk about yourself as an EXPERT in the field….then problem.
There’s one agent in my farm area that actually told a client that I didn’t have a GREEN designation so there was no way I could know what the basic principles were.
Ken above actually asked me a valid question last week – he asked if the consumer would think a particular agent had an EDGE because of the designations…..that’s something for the consumer to realize – there are plenty of REALTORS out there that live green and don’t need the extra education, but that’s only MHO.
(on a different but similar topic, how about those that consider themselves stagers after a quick course and have no interior design concept whatsoever?)
Rudy from Trulia
November 4, 2008 at 1:21 pm
I am Trulia green 🙂
Social Media Guru at Trulia
November 4, 2008 at 1:43 pm
Hey Rudy – I actually wore a Trulia Green shirt to sleep last night! 😉
Rudy from Trulia
November 4, 2008 at 1:52 pm
Very cool Ines!
Looking forward to seeing you at NAR.
November 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm
Same here Rudy, always love hanging out with you…..maybe we can interview someone
Rudy from Trulia
November 4, 2008 at 2:57 pm
Now that sounds like a deal! Can’t wait……
November 13, 2008 at 8:02 pm
What bothers me is that there is a difference in being green and understanding green building. These two always seem to be lumped together for some reason. Green is such a lucrative term, no one knows what it ‘means’ because it means something different to everyone. Heck, stats show that most people think it means recycling.
It’s not about what I think it means as an agent or person in general, it is about what the consumer buying the home thinks it is and what they want and are passionate about.
Who IS an expert at green building, the building practices and products change almost daily it seems. Everyone in the green building industry is learning as we go along anyhow. As Real Estate Agents we do not need to be the Green Building ‘Expert’. Why in the world would an agent get caught up in a lengthy discussion on the subject anyways? Huge liability. We are not hvac experts, nor architects, nor should we pretend to be.
Then it gets down to region. We could take every course imaginable but none of it matters unless the building techniques and products used will work in our building climate. I have yet to see a designation that focuses on teaching truly regional building practices…including CGP. They may discuss it a little, but don’t teach it.
Some agents will take it further, others won’t. That will be very evident to any consumer looking to buy or sell. Regardless, any education on the topic is better than none. Especially with the green building industry being consumer driven. I have taken EcoBroker, CGP and numerous other courses on the topic. Will I still take the NAR one? Absolutely. All courses provide insight to something new in one way or another.
Just my opinion. I do get what you are saying.
November 13, 2008 at 9:47 pm
Stephanie – I appreciate where you are coming from, but it’s all about intent. You can tell when people are genuine about learning green principles, you are obviously one of them. I don’t expect people to be absolute experts on the subject, but know why it is that they want to learn about it.
You mentioned something extremely important –
To me, as an architect, green is local – the rest can be a lot of fluff.
November 14, 2008 at 5:19 pm
I totally agree with that. The agents that have a true desire to learn and help people go green will likely be the ones that make an effort to really learn it.
I like to say- the items like recycled countertops are the ‘trendy’ green items. They may be cradle to cradle but even they won’t be green when they get ripped out and sent to the dump when something trendier comes around.
It is totally in the mindset.
November 16, 2008 at 9:44 pm
Trendy Finishes are a big problem Stephanie – and a bit ironic when it comes to the Actual GREEN TREND. I’m glad you agree it’s in the mindset