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RISMEDIA, June 15, 2010—“Green building.” What began as a buzzword a few years ago has transformed today’s real estate industry.

This month, we talk with Al Medina, director of NAR’s Green Designation, a groundbreaking educational program that provides vital training, support and information to professionals who are looking to advance their businesses and raise awareness of the environmental impact of commercial and residential real estate.

Why is NAR’s Green Designation important in today’s market?
Staying educated in a rapidly changing marketplace is vital to the success of any agent. NAR’s Green Designation prepares REALTORS® to seek out, understand and market homes with green features to potential buyers. By educating themselves in green building and sustainable business practices today, Realtors are preparing themselves for the future of real estate. And if green homes have not reached your area, they will soon.

Established areas that have green homes show a clear marketplace advantage compared to traditionally built homes in terms of time on the market and sales price. For instance, in 2009, in the Atlanta area, certified green homes on average sold 31 days faster than traditionally built homes. Today’s market requires a Realtor who is aware of these statistics in their community, and earning NAR’s Green Designation is a step in that direction.

How do brokers benefit from encouraging their sales associates to seek NAR’s Green Designation?
Having successful sales associates equates to a successful broker/manager. And success in today’s market means keeping up with green. Between local building codes that encourage green construction, federal government incentives and the increasing adoption of energy efficiency within the lifestyles of homeowners, the future of residential real estate is shifting toward green properties. The green home of today will be the standard home of tomorrow.

To adapt to this change, we created an education path tailored to an agent’s area of specialization. Brokers and agents interested in this designation complete a core course covering a broad range of green principles followed by an elective course based on their area of specialization, whether that is residential, commercial or property management.

What value does earning NAR’s Green Designation provide to agents who work primarily with buyers?
Today, green real estate is just as much about energy efficiency as sustainability. Our core and residential elective courses teach Realtors that buyers interested in green homes are motivated for different reasons and adopting green at various levels. Understanding these motivations enables Realtors to more effectively guide their buyer-clients. The course work explains the cost/benefit value of green homes, specific green home features, the various green home certifications and available buyer incentives and credits. Having knowledge in these areas and sharing them with buyer-clients adds value and allows agents to differentiate themselves from the competition.

How can working with buyers on green issues impact local communities?
NAR Green Designees are trained to be “the source of the source” and to create relationships with energy auditors, green lenders, builders and other real estate professionals who have a specialization in green. This allows agents to not only grow their business network, but to increase consumer awareness on green issues, ultimately improving the communities in which they live.

Marc Gould is the executive director of The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). A wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), REBAC is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 40,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients.

For more information, visit