Despite a severely battered real estate market, all news from the sector is not bad news. One bright spot is that Green Real Estate Education (GREE) has certified 4,300+ real estate professionals in 23 months, making it the fastest growing "green certification" education program in the U.S. for the real estate industry. Of course, the news of GREE's continued success isn't entirely surprising, in that green continues to be hot, and many people are trying to boost their education levels and skill sets in order to better compete in a tightened economy.
Ninety people recently attended GREE's program in Honolulu for Coldwell Banker Pacific Properties. Sixty for Coldwell Banker in Maryland, 40+ in each of three classes for the Chicago Assn of Realtors, 30+ in two classes for the Seattle King County Assn., 180 for the St. Paul Realtors Assn.
"I know the real estate business mindset, as a broker in two states, having personally completed 400 real estate transactions, and our low price point (under $100) is why we are exceeding all numbers," says Kerry Mitchell, GREE's president (and an occasional contributor to TDG). According to Kerry, GREE's real estate classroom delivery course has been approved in many states for CE credits (continuing education), and was the first green course to gain ARELLO (Association of Real Estate License Law Officials) approval.
"Our certification series program covers all disciplines in the real estate arena, not just real estate agents," says Mitchell. "It takes many different people to bring a real estate transaction to a successful conclusion. We train the "chain" in green initiatives, including 3,000+Realtors, close to 600 home inspectors, and through McKissock 600+ others." The program has launched a mortgage professionals course, and two of the courses are online, with more reportedly coming. Classroom delivery on request, and everything is under $100.
"Convenience is important for these professions today. Their own boards and associations are so challenged losing members and cannot always afford to open their meeting rooms for educational programs," says Mitchell. Some mortgage and real estate agents across the country have gotten second jobs as their income has fallen off in these tough economic times.
But Mitchell argues, "If agents and mortgage professionals do not think this is important to the future of how they do business, they are misinformed. Their brokers should insist they get this training." Mitchell says that in this slow time, professionals can get another chance to reach a client base by showing them how going green can help them save money. She points out that there are tax incentives for people to renovate green, though even most professionals do not even know about these incentives or how to incorporate them into a loan.
The executive director of Green Real Estate Education, Robert Mitchell, says, "Even with over 12 years of experience in the mortgage industry, originating loans in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, DC and Florida, I did not know these issues related to my profession." He has been an instructor for the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors and the Maryland Association of Mortgage Brokers and has taught mortgage concepts in real estate offices.
Professions that hold the first level of GREE "Green Leadership" include home inspectors, real estate agents, appraisers and mortgage professionals. The company launched this first level certification in early March 2009. They started teaching their real estate agent course in Florida in mid 2007, got approved by ARELLO, and is in 15 states for continuing education credits.
John P. Owens, chairman of Global Strategy for Green Real Estate Education, says, "We have interest in forming alliances with green companies who want to expose their products and systems to those in the mortgage and real estate professionals. They in turn can understand what is available for the clients they serve. With the economic meltdown in the United States, the real estate industry is demanding new tools and new ways to reach their clients."
GREE receives requests from mortgage professionals for guidance on energy financing products, forms and tax incentives. Their "Mortgage Green Leadership" certification was started to meet the demand as this industry gets more involved in financing the new green revolution.
By Kerry Mitchell:
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