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EcoBroker® vs NAR’s green Designation

Which one should you get?

I wrote an article here a couple of weeks ago about what motives a green buyer and one of the survey questions from the the Shelton Group report I referenced was about the Green Realtor Designations.  More specifically how likely would the respondent be to use a Realtor who had invested in additional training and education to assist them with a home purchase.  13% of the respondents specifically said they would indeed want a Realtor with specific green credentials.

I know that’s not a huge number but based on the relatively small amount of Realtors with the training per the number of buyers looking for them,  the ratio is becoming heavily stacked in the green Realtor’s favor.    I can affirm that over half the buyers I have picked up in the last year specifically chose me because they have stumbled in to my green blogs or saw my credentials on my company’s website up from 0% two years ago.

I was recently speaking to Curtis V. Hall, an instructor for NAR’s Green Course about October’s upcoming course in Nashville.  I helped him with local resources, MLS information, lenders etc. last year and will be doing some presenting for him at this year’s classes as well.   We ended up briefly comparing notes on the EcoBroker course verses the NAR’s Green course and it occurred to me it would be helpful to provide some first hand insight in to the course curriculum and how I have utilized both designations in hopes it might help you determine which is a better fit.

Academic EcoBroker

I took the EcoBroker course on line about 3 years ago before NAR even had a green course.  You can request the course materials be mailed though frankly in hindsight, you don’t need the books because on line curriculum is always available to you even after you complete the course work.   It took me a solid month at about 1.5 – 2 hours a day to get through that course because I did every bit of the online field trips and studied diligently.  This course is extremely detailed  and you will become familiar with terms like fenestration, brown fields, building envelopes, BTU’s, SEER Ratings, and R Value.   It’s broken up in to three parts, green building components including builder certifications,  an air quality section including pollutants, and a marketing section.    I gave myself a few headaches and grumbled a few times to no one in particular about it being sort of dry but the education I received from them has been invaluable in giving me the confidence to converse intelligently with green builders and was a huge resource for figuring out what green features to get incorporated in to our MLS.

I like the name “EcoBroker” and I was impressed when I went to reup for this year, I had to do some continuing ed which was indeed quite relevant and challenging.    I found the marketing section of the course to be completely useless for my geographic area but could see states like Oregan, California, Arizona, Washington, or Colorado might find it more applicable.  I would recommend this course for anyone who already has some basic understanding of green ideals within our industry or anyone who will be working selling a green certified project and really wants to be able to go in to detail with potential buyers.  In addition, it should give you the skill set to start providing market data and that sort of thing to builders if you have access to statistics through your MLS.

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I don’t really hear from them very much accept the occaisional newsletter.  The course is $395 an $129 to reup every year.  I reccomend on line version o the course over the in class session because while I have never attended the in class ones, I hear there is no way to squeeze the amount of curriculum the course can offer in to the 3 days  so you don’t get as much from it.  My state did recognize the continuing ed so I got 18 hours of credit for it.

Conceptual GREEN

NAR’s course was rolled out in 2009 and I took it in the fall last year.   My impressions at first was that it was very compulsory compared to EcoBroker because there was not as much time devoted to the actual studying of building components or the builder certifications.  However, the course does take a great deal of time explaining why environmental issues are becoming increasingly relevant in our industry and how we can start to incorporate this in to our business plans.   Curtis Hall, the instructor who has been teaching the fall course here,  actually prepares for the cities he’s teaching the class in and spends time lining up local experts on energy efficient mortgages, green builders supply shops, energy auditors, etc…  Even if the meat of the course is not as in depth, it’s a great intro to the concept and the local stuff is invaluable in helping you create a solid database of information about what is green in your community.  As I learn more about green buyers, I understand that a green lifestyle extends far beyond household features and having a healthy grasp about  public transportation, green infrastructure, local tax incentives, local farmers markets, etc..  in your area is equally as important as being able to spout off the benefits of radiant barriers or reflective roof coating.

Through the NAR’s green course you are then a member of the Green Resources Council and it is only $99 to renew each year.   In the under a year that I have held the designation, the most amazing part of the GRC is that they are very interactive with their members and provide monthly webinars that are about the most useful for green minded Realtors I have seen.  The most recent was how to help your clients navigate and take advantage of green tax credits.  The Shelton report I referenced above was given to us in the August webinar.  To that end, I almost feel like the NAR’s designation for the cost has become the better resource for me in terms of continuing practical application for my business and marketing.

I have to say that both are going to be useful and depending on how you intend to use them, hopefully this will give you some idea on which one might be more suitable.  My next goal is to get my LEED Green Associate certification and being that no Realtors in our area have it yet, I am curious how any of you who may have it are incorporating it in to your business model.

Authors Note: In the original post of this article I misstated that NAR’s green designation cost $50 a year to renew but it’s actually $99 and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t create any confusion in my effort to be informative.   I still stand by my assessment that the designation and resources offered to it’s members by the GRC are profoundly useful and well worth the cost.

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Written By

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.



  1. Jeff Belonger

    September 9, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Anna… interesting article. Sure, those numbers are low, but people are finding you and picking you because you write about it… that you educate others. This will pick up some more, especially because so many need to save and cut corners more than ever before. Not only does this help the environment, but it can be cheaper in many cases in the long run.

    In regards to being with an organization that supplies updates, webinars, that they are active with their members.. that is a great thing. I am not a realtor, but I see NAR getting more involved just from a monetary perspective… that it can add money back into their dying pockets. Just my opinion.. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. Nick Nymark

    September 10, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    I am considering getting one here in Fargo North Dakota. I don’t know of anyone around here who has that designation.

    • Anna Altic

      September 11, 2010 at 9:33 am

      Good luck with that Nick, it’s in my plan for next year as well.

  3. Laura "Ole" Olesen

    September 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Thank you for the post! I took the Green designation and found it woefully lacking in detail. But what you say about the Green Resource Council gives me reason to have another look and reconsider renewing.

  4. Judy Goodman Team

    January 10, 2011 at 1:20 am

    Great article! I just renewed my green designation.

  5. Laura "Ole" Olesen

    January 10, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    GREEN offered me back with open arms and I accepted, thanks to this article. Looking forward to it!

  6. Betty Saenz Austin TX Green REALTOR

    April 14, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    I took the EcoBroker before it was available locally. It was great! I wish both of these cost more up front and had no annual renewal fee. My SRES also requires an annual renewal. I also went to the 2008 EcoBroker GREEN Real Estate Conference in Denver, Colorado. Austin, Dallas, San Antonio and Houston have a lot of green going on. Of course I did my first full blown, replete with blower door Energy Audit in 1983 in Corpus Christi, Texas through the local electric company CP&L.

  7. John Beldock, Ph.D.

    May 5, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Anna, Thanks for the read. Actually, EcoBroker moved to put a stop to death by renewal cost in the designation industry, by reducing it’s annual membership fee to $50 some years back. After 15 years, many EcoBrokers continue to enjoy regular interactive benefits, including: Webinars, annual update classes, marketing materials, Web branding, and complimentary EcoBroker Business Development Coaching. EcoBroker’s focus on ethics, kindness, and complete and accurate property disclosure and due diligence, continue to endear and differentiate EcoBrokers for their clients and customers worldwide. In the wild and free agency world of real estate, most EcoBrokers who end-up taking advantage of EcoBroker’s interactive membership benefits are those for whom EcoBroker International has a current contact information. We’re proud of the great work EcoBrokers do for communities in 50 States and 20 countries, and love them regardless of how often they take advantage of EcoBroker’s membership services. Keep-up the good work in Nashville, and thank you for all you do.

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