As groups fight DEI, multicultural trade organizations hold the line

As groups fight DEI, multicultural trade organizations hold the line

As many organizations pull back on their support for diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, Julia Lashay Israel writes that multicultural trade organizations are stepping in to promote professional development and homeownership for marginalized groups.

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At a time when many organizations are pulling back on their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, multicultural real estate trade associations play a more significant role than ever before. 

Four national multicultural real estate organizations work to address real estate policy issues and to better serve the needs of real estate professionals and our communities.

For real estate brokerages, real estate professionals and local Realtor associations, partnering with these organizations’ local chapters or boards can effectively engage a more diverse membership base and expand perspectives regarding the local real estate market. 

Here are some key reasons these associations are important.

Advocacy and policy influence 

While many real estate companies focus on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, most don’t engage in political advocacy. That’s where the multicultural trade organizations come in. These organizations advocate for the interests and concerns of their members at local, regional and national levels.

They strive to eliminate discriminatory practices, promote fair housing, and address diversity, equity, and inclusion issues within the real estate industry. For example, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) has fought for “Democracy in Housing” since 1947.

They work to enhance the professional and business conditions of its members by strengthening the consumer capacity of Black, minority and emerging target market segments. By collaborating with policymakers and industry stakeholders, these organizations can influence policies, regulations and practices to ensure equal opportunities for all.

Educational resources and research

These associations often provide access to educational resources, research studies, market insights, and industry trends specifically focused on multicultural real estate professionals and diverse communities.

Each organization provides a comprehensive report on the state of homeownership that includes statistics on demographics, homeownership rates, and solutions to various homeownership barriers.  

The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) promotes its mission to advance sustainable Hispanic homeownership by educating and empowering the real estate professionals who serve Hispanic homebuyers and sellers and offer several programs to increase sustainable Hispanic homeownership in America. 

By disseminating knowledge and information, these associations enhance the expertise and competence of their members, enabling them to serve their clients better and navigate the ever-changing real estate landscape.

Networking and professional development 

These associations facilitate networking opportunities and professional development resources specifically tailored to the needs and interests of their members. They organize events, conferences, seminars, and workshops that foster connections, knowledge sharing, mentorship, and skill enhancement, helping members advance their careers.

With over 18,000 members in 45 chapters across the U.S. and Canada,  Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) is the largest Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) trade organization in North America. They continuously connect their members with resources to develop business, personal skills and professional networks. 

Representation and empowerment 

Multicultural real estate trade associations provide a platform for underrepresented communities within the industry to have a voice and be represented. They empower individuals from diverse backgrounds to actively participate in the real estate profession and contribute to its growth.

The LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance was launched in June 2020 by leading real estate industry members. As the newest organization of the major real estate trade associations, they work to advocate, elevate and celebrate. These real estate professionals and allies are just one example of how association members work to create a voice and be heard in real estate.

Community engagement and outreach

Multicultural real estate trade associations actively engage with their communities, both within the industry and the broader public. They organize community outreach programs, affordable housing initiatives, and educational campaigns to promote homeownership, financial literacy, and real estate investment opportunities among diverse populations. By fostering community connections, they contribute to multicultural communities’ social and economic well-being.

Overall, multicultural real estate trade associations significantly create a more inclusive, equitable, and diverse real estate industry. They support the professional growth of underrepresented individuals, advocate for their rights, and facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of multicultural markets and communities.

As the head of inclusion and belonging for Keller Williams Realty International, Julia Lashay Israel advises, trains and coaches leaders, team members and agents to recognize and address diversity, equity and inclusion opportunities and challenges across the organization.

5 continuing education courses tailor-made for 2024

5 continuing education courses tailor-made for 2024

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As we step into 2024, real estate agents are finding it increasingly necessary to transparently demonstrate their value to consumers, emphasizing ethical conduct, expert guidance, and a commitment to safeguarding clients’ best interests.

One way to set yourself apart from other professionals in the real estate industry and demonstrate to the market that you have specialized education, knowledge and expertise in a particular niche market is by earning a designation or certification.

As an author of numerous continuing education courses and a contributing author to the Keller Williams inaugural diversity certification course, Agent of Distinction, I’ve done my fair share of research on which designations and certifications truly enhance a real estate agent’s business.

Given the vast number of real estate designations and certifications offered by associations, training organizations and real estate brokerages, it’s hard to know which may be best for you. Here, we’ve gathered five designations and certifications that you should consider in 2024.

1. Accredited Buyer Representative

Now is the time to get back to the basics and clearly demonstrate and articulate your value to buyers. The Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation remains highly relevant. Awarded by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), the ABR designation signifies a commitment to providing exceptional service to buyer clients.

Agents with an ABR designation have honed their skills in buyer representation, negotiation and understanding the unique needs of those looking to purchase real estate.

Presented by REBAC (Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council) and the Center for REALTOR Development. | Contact REBAC at rebac@nar.realtor or 800-648-6224.

2. At Home With Diversity (AHWD)

As a condition of National Association of Realtors (NAR) membership, new member applicants must now complete two hours of fair housing training, and existing members must complete two hours of fair housing training every three years, including one training option that is of no cost to members.

The three-year cycle coincides with NAR’s existing Code of Ethics training requirement and begins in 2025. The At Home With Diversity (AHWD) certification will not only satisfy that requirement, but it also conveys to clients that they’re working with a dynamic real estate professional with expertise that transcends cultural barriers.

Presented by the National Association of Realtors and the Center for Realtor Development. | For more information on this course and its business principles, please contact us at ahwd@nar.realtor or 800-874-6500.

3. Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)

Agent-to-agent referrals are a great source of income for both the referral agent and the referred agent. Agent referrals are also often the most qualified leads and convert far better than any other type of lead.

With more than 35,000 designees, benefits from the CRS nationwide referral network make the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation one to look at in 2023.

The Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers and brokers. Agents who have invested the time to earn the CRS designation represent the top 3 percent of all agents.  

The education programs provide CRS Designees with the superior knowledge, connections and tools to be more productive. To earn the Certified Residential Specialist Designation, a Realtor must demonstrate significant experience and certify that they have handled a large number of real estate transactions.

Presented by Residential Real Estate Council. | Contact RRC at or 800-462-8841.

4. Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) 

This suggestion actually isn’t a certification or designation at all — it’s an Endorsement that Realtors can promote when serving clients and other Realtors.

Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) from the National Association of Realtors will develop and enhance 11 competencies that indicate a Realtor’s commitment to ethics, advocacy, technology, data privacy and outstanding customer service. 

The Program offers each Realtor the opportunity to complete a C2EX Skills Assessment and will produce a self-paced, facilitated path through a personalized education program, specific action steps, and tailored tools and resources based on the results of the C2EX Skills Assessment.

Each Realtor’s C2EX Journey will be unique and will identify the best possible path for that particular individual toward excellence in the Realtor C2EX Competencies. Additionally, Realtors who earn the Commitment to Excellence endorsement will satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement.

Go to www.C2EX.realtor to get started with this award-winning program.

5. The Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

According to the NAR, baby boomers (age 57-75) make up the largest share of sellers at 42 percent. The Senior Real Estate Specialist is one of the top designations because it gives the agent advanced expertise in and exposure to the largest-growing market in real estate. 

The Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation is for Realtors who want to work with individuals or couples who are 50-plus in age, and it’s the best designation in our review for working with senior buyers and sellers. Agents who earn it understand the needs of mature Americans who want to sell, buy, relocate, refinance or invest.

Presented by SRES Council and the Center for Realtor Development. | Contact SRES Council at sres@nar.realtor or 800-500-4564.

So, are designations and certifications worth the time and money? Yes! If leveraged correctly, designations and certifications are worth the time and financial commitment. But to get the full value, you’ll want to make sure you market yourself as an endorsed expert in your particular real estate niche, otherwise, they won’t get you very far.

As the head of inclusion and belonging for Keller Williams Realty International, Julia Lashay Israel advises, trains and coaches leaders, team members and agents to recognize and address diversity, equity and inclusion opportunities and challenges across the organization.