Are you a member of any professional real estate organizations? You really should be!
Whether you’re a brand new licensee or a veteran with years of experience, real estate organizations can take your business to the next level in the new year. And you’ll have plenty of organizations to choose from! There are real estate organizations for real estate agents who specialize in buyers, those who specialize in sellers, and those who specialize in working with seniors. There are organizations that monitor ethical guidelines and promote changes to elevate the standards of the industry. There are even organizations built to help minority professionals thrive in the real estate business.
In this post, we’ll look at the benefits of joining real estate organizations and let you know which organizations you should consider joining in 2019.
Why Membership in Real Estate Organizations is Important
Each organization comes with its own perks, but in general, all real estate organizations provide five key benefits to their members.
1. You get an instant boost in perceived credibility.
Perceived credibility is critical in the competitive world of real estate. It’s not enough to be a stellar agent. You need your prospective clients to know you’re a stellar agent. Membership in real estate organizations instantly increases your credibility as a professional in the eyes of your market. This is especially important for new agents who don’t have a lengthy sales record with dozens of client testimonials.
2. Referral business often comes through real estate organizations.
When out-of-area agents need to refer business to your local market, how do you think they decide who gets the referral? If they don’t already have a personal connection with an agent in your market, there’s a good chance they’re going to go directly to fellow organization members. Membership in real estate organizations increases your chances of getting referrals.
3. You’ll have access to a support network.
Every real estate transaction is different, so you’ll encounter many new experiences as a real estate agent. And when you do, it’s helpful to be able to talk to people who have been through a similar situation. Large organizations are especially helpful in this area because they will be full of agents operating in different markets. Since these agents aren’t competing with you directly (like your local agents are!), these out-of-area agents will be more open and willing to offer assistance.
4. You may have some opportunities for free promotion.
Real estate organizations are usually active in communities to some degree. And local events or causes can provide the opportunity for free promotion from local news sources covering the organization’s campaign.
5. You could contribute to industry improvements.
Many real estate organizations are also actively working to improve communities or the real estate industry as a whole. Don’t miss the chance to help make these improvements the new standard!
Real Estate Organizations You Need to Join in 2019
So which real estate organizations should you join in 2019? Here are our top picks.
The National Association of Realtors®
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is the first real estate organization you should join (if you’re not already a member!).
Members of NAR are the only real estate agents who can call themselves Realtors. And being a Realtor carries a lot more weight with buyers and sellers because Realtors are held to a higher ethical standard than the average real estate agent.
Membership in NAR goes hand-in-hand with memberships in your Local Association of Realtors and your State Association of Realtors. You join your Local Association, and you’ll automatically become a member of all three levels: Local, State, and National.
Under the umbrella of NAR, you’ll find several specialty real estate organizations. You should strongly consider joining one or more of these specialty organizations, depending on your career focus.
Let’s look at a few of the most popular options.
The Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council
The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the perfect organization for Realtors focused on working with buyers.
REBAC provides buyer’s agents with specialized knowledge, useful resources, and access to the largest database of buyer’s agents for networking and referral opportunities.
Membership in REBAC also puts you on the path to earning your Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) designation. In fact, the way to join REBAC is by enrolling in an ABR designation course. Once you complete the course, you’ll be an official member of REBAC, and you can continue the pursuit of your ABR designation by completing electives and sitting an exam.
Seller Representative Specialists
If you specialize in working with sellers, rather than buyers, then Seller Representative Specialists (SRS) is the specialty organization for you.
In the same way that REBAC is linked to the ABR designation, membership in the Seller Representative Specialists is linked to the Seller Representative Specialist designation (SRS is the acronym for both the designation and the organization). Membership in SRS includes courses to help you increase your number of listings, provide better service to your sellers, and ultimately close more deals with happy clients.
The Residential Real Estate Council (formerly known as The Council of Residential Specialists)
In the grand scheme of real estate, “residential” is already somewhat specialized. For agents focused on residential real estate, as opposed to commercial or industrial, there is the Residential Real Estate Council (RREC) (formerly known as The Council of Residential Specialists).
RREC membership also provides a path to a designation. The RREC designation is Certified Residential Specialist (CRS).
If you want to earn a professional designation, but don’t want to choose between being an Accredited Buyer Representative and a Seller Representative Specialist, consider joining RREC and getting your CRS. The CRS designation still carries the prestige of a professional designation but doesn’t pigeonhole you into focusing on just buyers or just sellers.
The Senior Real Estate Specialists Council
If you want to focus on assisting seniors (people over 55 years old) with their real estate transactions, consider joining the Senior Real Estate Specialists Council (SRESC).
SRESC is open to agents of any age who want to focus on the needs of older buyers and sellers.
Naturally, membership in SRESC is also tied to a designation. You can earn your Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation to distinguish yourself as an agent specializing in senior-focused real estate transactions.
Women’s Council of Realtors
The Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR) is dedicated to advancing women as professionals and as leaders in business.
WCR provides local networking opportunities for women in the industry to help each other grow their businesses.
American Real Estate Society
Moving away from the NAR-affiliated organizations, the American Real Estate Society (ARES) is a long-standing real estate organization focused on real estate education.
As ARES puts it, “The Society is dedicated to producing and disseminating knowledge related to real estate decision making and the functioning of real estate markets.” Members are automatically subscribed to multiple industry journals, including:
- The Journal of Real Estate Research
- The Journal of Real Estate Practice and Education
- The Journal of Real Estate Sustainability
If you consider yourself a real estate intellectual, ARES will probably be an ideal fit for you.
The National Fair Housing Alliance
The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) is committed to stopping housing discrimination and making sure residents from all American neighborhoods can experience the U.S. as “the Land of Opportunity”.
NFHA addresses serious issues like blockbusting and discriminatory lending policies through education, legislation, and enforcement.
To play your part in moving the real estate industry toward fair housing for all, consider joining NFHA.
The Real Estate Standards Organization
The Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) is all about ensuring standards of integrity in real estate data.
In 2015, for example, NAR implemented a policy requiring MLSs to comply with RESO’s “Data Dictionary” which standardized MLS fields so the entire industry could be on the same page with regard to the relevance of data fields and the formatting of the data in those fields.
If you are interested in big data and want a seat at the table for actionable discussions about the future of real estate industry data, strongly consider membership in RESO for the new year.
The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing
Looking to conquer your local luxury home market? Perhaps you should join the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.
The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing teaches real estate agents how to properly market luxury residences and win high-end listings. They also offer members the opportunity to earn the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS) designation. This designation can help you stand out when offering your services to buyers and sellers in the luxury property market.
Want even more options?
If you want to explore more real estate organization options, NAR has a complete Directory of Real Estate Organizations for you to browse. The directory includes the real estate organizations with direct ties to NAR, as well as many relevant organizations completely separate from NAR.
This directory is well-worth a look as you decide which real estate organizations to join in 2019.