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New Green Training Program for Real Estate

01/10/08

By Rachel Navaro

EcoBroker has provided green real estate training over the last four years to more than 1,700 licensed realtors in 42 states, Canada, and the Caribbean. Now this leader in green real estate education has some friendly competition. Earth Advantage, an established third-party certifier of green homes, recently unveiled its own program—Sustainability Training for Accredited Real Estate Professionals (STAR). Its stated purpose is to educate the real estate community to communicate knowledgeably and effectively about the green features and benefits of new and existing homes.

Both EcoBroker and STAR provide realtors with continuing education credits, certification upon the successful completion of an exam at the end of the courses, and ongoing support after they’ve received their certification. But rather than competing, the two programs may complement each other, so much so that John Stovall, EcoBroker’s vice president for business, said he would like to think of them as “associates … rather than competitors.”

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Realtor Don McCoy of Exit Realty Group–Southern Oregon, agrees. McCoy, who has successfully completed the two programs, explained that differences in the teaching approaches may be reason enough for realtors to experience both. EcoBroker classes can be taken online over the course of a year, and are “fundamentally important for acquiring the language of green,” explained McCoy, who said he took his time with the material and “soaked it up like a sponge.” STAR, on the other hand, is taught in 18 hours over a two-day period, a format that may make it feel more advanced. “Agents are just going to forget (the information) if they don’t already know the language,” said McCoy. His advice to fellow realtors who are new to the green building aspect of their industry is to do EcoBroker first so that “then, when you do the Earth Advantage afterwards, it will make sense.”

Members of the real estate industry are readying themselves for what they believe will be one of the next big drivers in their business. At the annual Northeast Real Estate Conference & Expo, for example, in September 2007, the theme was “green.” At an introductory seminar by Stovall on green real estate given to over 200 realtors, one said, “We’re so ready to learn this stuff. And it’s finally being offered to us in a language we can understand.” Earth Advantage executive director Sean Penrith noted that “the response [to STAR] has been phenomenal. We told ourselves that if we could fill six classes in the first year we’d be happy, but we’ve tripled that. We’ve had entire firms come to us wanting all their brokers to be certified.”

STAR classes are located throughout Oregon and southwest Washington, but Earth Advantage intends to make the program available nationally and is in the process of licensing STAR to green building organizations in seven other states beginning in 2008.

For more information:
Earth Advantage Inc.
503-968-7160
www.earthadvantage.org

EcoBroker
800-706-4321
www.ecobroker.com

This article was produced by BuildingGreen, Inc.- www.buildinggreen.com

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