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Opinion Editorials

Proposed New Real Estate Designations for 2009



I hate real estate designations. They mean absolutely NOTHING.

Of course, this is only partially true. (But I like speaking in absolutes, as it is bound to piss someone off, and pissing people off WAS one of my New Years Resolutions for 2008.)

Real estate designations only MEAN something if the agent actually uses the education that it TOOK to get the designation to better the real estate world around them and then goes onto explains the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to their clients. Neither of which most designation-heavy real estate agents do… leaving their real estate designations relatively meaningless.

All that said, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to get me some real estate designations. I was sure that somewhere behind the alphabet soup, there was some good education to be had… and I am sure there is. But in my quest for continued education, I realized that our industry is in need of NEW and BETTER designation opportunities for 2009.

5 Proposed New RE Designations:

  1. LOL – Licensed Official Laugh-er: This designation would give the bearer the right (and duty) to Laugh Out Loud while in the presence of idiots. Idiots would be defined as any party to a real estate transaction that acts in anyway OTHER than in a professional, head-screwed-on-right kind of way.
  2. ASS – Accredited Snobby Slimeball: This designation would not require any further education on the part of the bearer, and would be “awarded” to current members of the real estate community who display the personality traits of a stereotypical used car salesman while simultaneously treating other agents as worthless trash. Note: This designation is limited, so act now. Supplies are running out!
  3. POSR – Professional Obtainer of the Slightly Real: Again, this designation would not require any further education on the part of the bearer, and would be “awarded” to the “real estate agents” who list “short sales” without any working (or related whatsoever) knowledge about what a short sale is, nor how to negotiate one. This designation is also available for residential real estate agents who can “magically”work a large commercial deal without assistance nor experience.
  4. IRL – In Real Life: This designation is available for any real estate professional who can prove that they do more than just talk-the-talk, i.e. actually close deals. Continued education and on the job training is available in most areas.
  5. SM-Pro – Social Media Professional: This designation would show that the real estate agent is proficient with, and fluent in the languages of Twitter, Facebook, Skype, MySpace, ActiveRain, DailyMugshots, Blogging, Seesmic, EyeJot, YouTube, etc. Specialized upgrade to this designation includes: e-Twit. Note: Designation requires actual USE of social media sites, not just a long-abandoned profile.

If we add these designations to the list of available letters at the end of our names, I think that the world will be a better place.

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  1. Russell Shaw

    December 26, 2008 at 12:38 pm


  2. Dale Chumbley

    December 26, 2008 at 1:05 pm


    What a fun post! I love this. I hope I am already qualified for #1, 4 & 5. I’ll leave #2 & 3 for the others out there. Unfortunately there are far too many #2’s & 3’s in our industry.

    You’ll notice I’ve already taken the liberty of adding eTwit to my business cards… ;?)

  3. Clint Miller

    December 26, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Mariana — This was HILARIOUS!! Thank you for posting what we are all thinking…lol

  4. Matthew Hardy

    December 26, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    This is really cute – nice job Mariana.

    I fondly remember the doctor/professors I’ve worked with who, while having longs strings of very-hard-to-obtain designations appended to their name still wanted to be called “Bob”.

    Some designations in real estate can get a bit hyperbolic, don’t you think? Oh, and here’s another for ya (from a post I just read on *another* real estate blog: FOTB – Full Of Themselves Blogger.

  5. Elaine Reese

    December 26, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    Oh yes, these designations are MUCH more appropriate. Very funny. I really believe that #5 should be earned in tandem with #4.

  6. Chris Shouse

    December 26, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    I love them everyone:)
    Thanks Mariana

  7. Ann Cummings

    December 26, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Hey Mariana!

    These are really funny, and I love the 6th one that Matthew added in his comment! There certainly are plenty of the 2’s and 3′ floating around, and loads of the FOTB’s from Matthew.

    Something about the ‘real’ NAR desigations – I hate it that you work really hard to earn some of them, and then you have to pay yearly to keep what you’ve rightfully earned. I finally gave up paying because it ticked me off that I was paying over and over for what should have been mine, since I did the work for it to begin with.

  8. Ines

    December 27, 2008 at 1:51 am

    Mariana, I totally missed your humor….where had you been??? I will work on my IRL designation immediately….starting with you? hello? o that’s right, February 😀

  9. Barry Bevis

    December 27, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Love it–
    No one outside the industry cares about all those letters.

  10. Sherry Baker

    December 27, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Here’s one, at least while I’m reading this post: ROFLMAO

    schweet, Mariana!

  11. Mariana

    December 28, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you all for your comments on my New Designation post. Our industry definitely needs a little levity.


  12. Marvin Jensen

    December 28, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I guess this means you don’t have any designations or worked you a*s off to get one?

    You don’t have to explain to your clients what these designations mean because ultimately they benefit from the additional education their agent has over the other guy.

    More education for our Realtor community should be praised, not made the butt of a mindless blog post!

  13. Mariana

    December 28, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Marvin – Thank you for your comment and there should be MORE agents who actually take the continuing education that it takes to earn a designation and better the world around them.

    However, since I do not make any apologies nor defenses for the humor of my posts, I will just remind you what I wrote:

    “Real estate designations only MEAN something if the agent actually uses the education that it TOOK to get the designation to better the real estate world around them and then goes onto explains the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) to their clients. Neither of which most designation-heavy real estate agents do… leaving their real estate designations relatively meaningless.”

  14. Marvin Jensen

    December 28, 2008 at 10:29 pm


    I understood your article the first time around.

    The very act of an agent spending time and money furthering their real estate education, through a professional designation, benefits their client without the WIIFM. Yes, explaining this to the client would be recommended, but even if they don’t explain the benefit of a particular designation, doesn’t make it meaningless. Their client will ultimately benefit by a MORE educated agent!

  15. Mariana

    December 29, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Too many agents get their designations just to have them… or to fulfill mandatory continuing education requirements.

    Real estate is about the consumer, and I believe that if someone is going to take the time and effort to GET a designation, then they should “use that power for good” and explain what it means to the consumer – otherwise the “abrgricrsetc” just looks like agent-to-agent bragging rights.

  16. Mariana

    December 29, 2008 at 12:45 am

    Marvin – I see that you have taken the time to earn many real estate designations. If you are taking what you have learned and making our real estate world a better place, then great.

    Sadly, not everyone does. Some of the WORST agents I have ever worked with have the MOST designations.

    The point of my post is that a designation is no longer an indicator of a quality agent – even though it should be.

    Furthermore, I understand your point that you choose not to explain your designations to your clients. If you can run a successful real estate business w/o explaining the benefits of your designations to your clients, then awesome!

    I just know that most consumers have NO IDEA what all those designation initials mean and therefore cannot/will not be able to make educated pre-decisions about an agent, when deciding who to work with.

  17. Danilo Bogdanovic

    December 29, 2008 at 8:22 pm


    How about “OAW” – “Only After Work can I show you those properties because real estate is only a part time gig for me” (Client told me his previous agent actually said that to him)

    Thanks for the laughs!

  18. Paula Henry

    December 29, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Thanks Mariana – I did not know there was POSR designation and realize it must have been a “free” class in Indy and that’s why so many people have it.

    I am now enlightened!

  19. Marvin Jensen

    December 29, 2008 at 11:14 pm


    I do explain my designations to my clients and prospective clients. However, some agents don’t and I think that is alright.

    Some agents are bad agents no matter what designations they receive. You have to do business as well. However, I will say, I have never worked with a bad CRS designated agent!

    My point is that more education for agents is needed. I think it is too easy for people to practice real estate. Getting a designation is just one way to achieve better agents, it is not the only way! I don’t think it is necessarily important to explain to your clients what each designation means, as long as you practice what you learned for their benefit.

    Thanks for the discussion.

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Opinion Editorials

Strong leaders can use times of crises to improve their company’s future

(EDITORIAL) In the COVID-19 crisis, some leaders fumbled through it, while others quietly safeguarded their company’s future.



strong leaders

Anthony J. Algmin is the Founder and CEO of Algmin Data Leadership, a company helping business and technology leaders transform their future with data, and author of a new book on data leadership. We asked for his insights on how strong leaders can see their teams, their companies, and their people through this global pandemic (and other crises in the future). The following are his own words:

Managers sometimes forget that the people we lead have lives outside of the office. This is true always but is amplified when a crisis occurs. We need to remember that our job is to serve their teams, to help them be as aligned and productive as possible in the short and long terms.

Crises are exactly when we need to think about what they might be going through, and realize that the partnership we have with our employees is more than a transaction. If we’ve ever asked our people to make sacrifices, like working over a weekend without extra pay, we should be thinking first about how we can support them through the tough times. When we do right by people when they really need it, they will run through walls again for our organizations when things return to normal.

Let them know it’s okay to breathe and talk about it. In a situation like COVID-19 where everything was disrupted and people are adjusting to things like working from home, it is naturally going to be difficult and frustrating.

The best advice is to encourage people to turn off the TV and stop frequently checking the news websites. As fast as news is happening, it will not make a difference in what we can control ourselves. Right now most of us know what our day will look like, and nothing that comes out in the news is going to materially change it. If we avoid the noisy inputs, we’ll be much better able to focus and get our brains to stop spinning on things we can’t control.

And this may be the only time I would advocate for more meetings. If you don’t have at least a daily standup with your team, you should. And encourage everyone to have a video-enabled setup if at all possible. We may not be able to be in the same room, but the sense of engagement with video is much greater than audio-only calls.

We also risk spiraling if we think too much about how our companies are struggling, or if our teams cannot achieve what our organizations need to be successful. It’s like the difference in sports between practice and the big game. Normal times are when leaders game plan, strategize, and work on our fundamentals. Crises are the time to focus and leave it all on the field.

That said, do not fail to observe and note what works well and where you struggle. If you had problems with data quality or inefficient processes before the crisis, you are not fixing them now. Pull out the duct tape and find a way through it. But later, when the crisis subsides, learn from the experience and get better for next time.

Find a hobby. Anything you can do to clear your head and separate work from the other considerations in your life. We may feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and without a pressure release we will not be able to sustain this level of stress and remain as productive as our teams, businesses, and families need us.

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Opinion Editorials

7 sure-fire ways to carve out alone time when you’re working from home

(EDITORIAL) It can be easy to forget about self-care when you’re working from home, but it’s critical for your mental health, and your work quality.



Woman in hijab sitting on couch, working from home on a laptop

We are all familiar with the syndrome, getting caught up in work, chores, taking care of others, and neglecting to take care of ourselves in the meantime. This has always been the case, but now, with more people working from home and a seemingly endless lineup of chores, thanks to the pandemic. There is simply so much to do.

The line is thinly drawn between personal and professional time already, with emails, cell phones, and devices relentlessly reaching out around the clock, pulling at us like zombie arms reaching up from the grave. Working from home makes this tendency to always be “on” worse, as living and working take place in such close proximity. We have to turn it off, though.

Our brains and bodies need downtime, me-time, and self-care. Carving out this time is one of the kindest and most important things you can do for yourself. If we can begin to honor ourselves like this, the outcome with not only our mental and physical health but also our productivity at work will be beneficial. When we make the time to do things we love, our mind’s gears slow down that constant grinding. Burnout behooves nobody.

Our work will also benefit. Healthier, happier, more well-rested, and well-treated minds and bodies can work wonders! Our immune systems also need this, and we need our immune systems to be at their peak performance this intense season.

I wanted to write this article because I have such a struggle with this in my own life. I need to print it out and put it in my workspace. Last week, I posted something on my social media pages that so many people shared. It is clear we all need these reminders, so I am paying it forward here. The graphic was a quote from Devyn W.

“If you are reading this, release your shoulders away from your ears, unclench your jaw, and drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth.”

There now, isn’t that remarkable? It is a great first step. Let go of the tension in your body, and check out these ways to make yourself some healing me-time while working from home.

  1. Set aside strict no-work times. This could be any time of day, but set the times and adhere to them strictly. This may look like taking a full hour for lunch, not checking email after a certain hour, or committing to spending that time outdoors, reading, exercising, or enjoying the company of your loved ones. Make this a daily routine, because we need these boundaries. Every. Single. Day.
  2. Remember not to apologize to anyone for taking this me-time. Mentally and physically you need this, and everyone will be better off if you do. It is nothing to apologize for! Building these work-free hours into your daily schedule will feel more normal as time goes on. This giving of time and space to your joy, health, and even basic human needs is what should be the norm, not the other way around.
  3. Give yourself a device-free hour or two every day, especially before bedtime. The pinging, dinging, and blinging keep us on edge. Restful sleep is one of the wonderful ways our bodies and brains heal and putting devices away before bedtime is one of the quick tips for getting better sleep.
  4. Of course, make time for the things you absolutely love. If this is a hot bath, getting a massage, reading books, working out, cooking or eating an extravagant meal, or talking and laughing with a loved one, you have to find a way to get this serotonin boost!
  5. Use the sunshine shortcut. It isn’t a cure-all, but sunlight and Vitamin D are mood boosters. At least when it’s not 107 degrees, like in a Texas summer. But as a general rule, taking in at least a good 10-15 minutes of that sweet, sweet Vitamin D provided by the sun is good for us.
  6. Spend time with animals! Walk your dog, shake that feathery thing at your cat, or snuggle either one. Whatever animals make you smile, spend time with them. If you don’t have pets of your own, you could volunteer to walk them at a local shelter or even watch a cute animal video online. They are shown to reduce stress. Best case scenario is in person if you are able, but thankfully the internet is bursting with adorable animal videos, as a backup.
  7. Give in to a bit of planning or daydreaming about a big future trip. Spending time looking at all the places you will go in the future and even plotting out an itinerary are usually excellent mood-boosters.

I hope we can all improve our lives while working from home by making time for regenerating, healing, and having fun! Gotta run—the sun is out, and my dog is begging for a walk.

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Opinion Editorials

The one easy job interview question that often trips up applicants

(EDITORIAL) The easiest interview questions can be the hardest to answer, don’t let this one trip you up – come prepared!



Women sitting nervously representing waiting for a remote job interview.

A job interview is tough, and preparing for them can seem impossible. There are some questions you can expect: what is your experience in this position? How would you handle this situation? And so on.

But what about this question: what makes you happy? Though it may seem straightforward, getting to the right answer is not such an easy path.

Work engagement

According to research, less and less employees feel like they are truly engaged at work. Some blame the work environment but truth be told, it is not a company’s responsibility to make you happy.

Without a passion for what you are doing, you will never enjoy the job.

It is the best case for everyone. More engaged workers are more productive in addition to feeling like they serve a purpose.

Do your due diligence

So before finding yourself in an interview where you have to take an awkward pause before answering this question, the best thing is to do some research. It all starts with the job search.

When looking for a job it is easy to get caught up in high profile company names and perks.

For instance, although “Social Media Coordinator” may not be your thing, the position is open at the cool advertising agency downtown. Or perhaps the company offers flexible hours and free lunch Fridays. The problem is that these perks aren’t worth it in the long run. Working for a cool company can be exciting at first, but it is not sustainable without passion for the position.

It’s important to pay attention to is the position you are applying for.

Is this work that you are passionate about? Take a look at the job responsibilities and functions. Besides figuring out if those are things that you can do, ask yourself if they are things that you want to do. Is this an opportunity that will match your strengths and give you purpose?

Let your passion protrude

With all things considered, when asked “what makes you happy” at the next interview, you will be able to answer honestly. Your passion will be apparent without having to put on an act.

Even if they don’t ask that question, there is no downside to knowing what makes you happy.

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