To some real estate professionals, earning a designation is like earning a Bachelor’s degree in real estate. It’s an opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills and increase your earning potential. According to the 2012 Member Profile, REALTORS® who held the Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) designation earned $21,000 more a year than their peers. To keep with the changing pace of technology, our evolving market and meet the needs of today’s real estate professional, the curriculum of the GRI designation will undergo a complete overhaul in 2014, giving REALTORS® a more flexible way to earn a nationally recognized designation.

Members Sound Off, AAR Listens

The Arizona Association of REALTORS® (AAR) surveyed members and found that most wanted more flexibility when earning the GRI designation, especially when it comes to their time. Beginning on January 1, 2014, the GRI designation will offer REALTORS® expanded options to participate in classes online. The integration of REBAC classes, including Marketing Reboot and Generation Buy, to the GRI curriculum will allow for less time away from the office and clients. Many live classes will be condensed down to one day, providing REALTORS® with a succinct learning experience that can be implemented right away.

The flexibility of GRI will also be evident in the ability to earn multiple designations and/or certifications at once. Now, those who are earning a designation like the Accredited Buyer Representative® (ABR®), the Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) or the Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) designation or ePRO or rCRMS certifications can transfer these credits and apply them to a GRI designation. This also allows REALTORS® to be in control of what they want to learn. “You can build your own direction. You really have a lot more choices based on what you want to learn,” said Barb Freestone, senior vice president, Professional and Business Development, AAR.

Curriculum Focused on Building Skills and Managing Risk

The value of earning a designation is reflected in the knowledge you gain by earning it. The re-invented GRI will place more emphasis on building skills to manage even the toughest real estate transaction as well as ways to manage your risk. The curriculum will be split into two sections, Risk Management and Skill Building. The Skill Building courses focus on effective marketing strategies, business planning, transactional technology, financing options for your clients and customer service. The Risk Management courses focus on writing and understanding contracts, disclosure and due diligence, agency and ethical behavior. The new requirements are customizable and give REALTORS® the option to build a GRI that fits a specific niche.

Simple Transition for Current Candidates

For those members who are currently participating in the GRI program, the transition will be simple and straightforward come January 1. If you need a class that is no longer offered, a corresponding class will be made available. Current GRI candidates should be looking for more updates from AAR as we near the go-live date for the updated GRI.

Stay tuned for updates about GRI!

What AAR Members Are Saying About GRI

Kerry Melcher, REALTOR®, The Melcher Agency: “In the interest of full disclosure I do not have my GRI. But, I like the idea of it merging multiple designations within the GRI program. The big one for me is condensing the classes into one day.”

Paula Monthofer, GRI, e-PRO, West USA Flagstaff: “As a GRI instructor, I am really looking forward to teaching our new tech class! It is so well tailored and thorough, yet fits almost all tech skill sets. The best part? We really focused on practical tips and tools you can take and use to better your business that day.”

Micki Lang, assistant association executive, Scottsdale Association of REALTORS®: “The new GRI program provides the REALTOR® member with improved flexibility in acquiring not only the GRI designation, but the new program will also allow them to utilize other NAR designations and AAR certifications as credit towards the GRI program.  Our new GRI program is a well rounded educational platform for REALTORS® who aspire to be real estate professionals.”

Karen Kay, REALTOR®, DPR Realty: “As a member of the GRI Oversight Workgroup, I’ve seen first-hand the amount of time and care taken to give the GRI a fresh update. As our profession evolves, it’s great to see a designation evolve as well. I hope that more REALTORS® will consider the GRI.”

Stacey Onnen, ABR, RSPS, GRI, Keller Williams Check Realty: “AAR has really taken the time to take the GRI program beyond just earning C/E. It provides cutting-edge, real world, current solutions that agents can implement the next day.”

Holly Mabery, GRI, ABR, CRMS, Keller Williams Check Realty: “I know I’m excited for the changes and the updates GRI has undergone. [GRI] really gives the boots-on-the-ground agents real-world skills to improve their business.”

What are your thoughts?