Monday, May 11, 2009

NAR Midyear Meetings - Day 1

Bart Stevens reports: Just returned from a nice dinner at Murphy's Irish Pub with the early arrivees now in DC for the NAR Midyear Meetings. Sherry Gregory, Patti Lawton, Gail Rizzo, Georgia Chomas, JoAnn Higgins and Steve Winkler helped to make a rainy night here in DC a bit more warm (drenched by the time we got back to the hotel!)

After a 2 hour delay for the dreaded "mechanical problem" in Portland, I arrived in DC late last night. My early arrival coincided with my desire to earn NAR's new GREEN designation, with the core course being offered today and tomorrow. A full 8 hours each day, but if today was any sign, it will definitely be worth it! It rolled out in November 2008. Past MAR President Patti Lawton took the core course in Orlando and has since taken the required elective course making her the first (I believe) from Maine to earn the designation.

Today I joined about 75 others here in DC taking the first step towards the designation. It's a relatively easy designation to earn with a 2-day core course requirement followed by a 1-day elective in 3 different tracks - residential, commercial or property management. There is a test though so I may have a different opinion tomorrow!! The core course cost is $295 (those taking it here in DC we were offered the core course at $150, a great savings). The elective courses cost $125 and can be taken on line or in person. This is the first designation offered by NAR where the acronym is the same as the name of the actual designation.

Quick thoughts -

Are you familiar with Green Pricing and Net Metering? Did you know you can collect 625 gallons of rain water for every 1 inch of rain falling on a 1000 square foot roof? Ever heard of Xeriscaping (landscaping plants native to a specific area - dry climates)? How about the 2008 Yale Performance Index which ranks the US 39th out of 149 countries in sustainability? What makes a home or building "Green"? LEEDS certification? The list goes on and on and all of this just Day One. The instructor guarantees we will save the cost of this course in the first year just by implementing a few very common sense items.

We ended the day with Indoor Air Quality concerns - did you know those off the rack cabinets we place in our kitchens are one of the leading causes of VOC-volatile organic compounds? Ever comment on that new car smell, or that new home smell? That smell is volatile organic compounds - the very things which make so many people ill - with the numbers growing every day. Tomorrow promises to be another eye opener as we get more into the Green design, concepts, etc.

While laboring away in my class tomorrow many of the others from Maine will be up early attending the special Real Estate Summit put together by NAR. Compelled by the insistent fact that housing has always led this nation out of economic troubles, NAR's Summit features first-rate keynote speakers (including Alan Greenspan and FDIC's Sheila Bair) and two dynamic panels of experts in the areas of finance and real estate, who will be challenged to determine solutions to the present crisis, ensuring we don't face this crisis in the future. A very busy schedule for all but absolutely worth the time and effort in getting here. Til next time.

Bart Stevens is the 2009 President of the Maine Chapter of CRS; and Treasurer of MREIS

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