Following the completion of the 2015 Strategic Plan, The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) made modifications to its Membership Invitation Process. This was done to reflect the qualities and attributes necessary to be potential members and to better capture the broad spectrum of participants in the real estate industry and align the application process to reflect this emphasis. These changes are presented and discussed briefly below.
Definitions and Role of the Invitation Committee
Candidates for membership in The Counselors of Real Estate must provide “Real Estate Counseling” services in an ethical manner. They must also demonstrate sufficient prominence, influence, expertise, and experience as determined by the CRE Invitation Committee based on a review of the RFQ, client/employer references, Sponsor/Counselor recommendations, interviewer analysis, and other information.
Real Estate Counseling: The act of providing advice or guidance which significantly affects real estate decisions, without personal bias and/or conflict of interest.
Counselor of Real Estate (CRE): Those designated a “Counselor of Real Estate” are prominent real estate practitioners recognized for their expertise, experience, and ethics in providing advice that influences real estate decisions.
The CRE Invitation Committee is charged with assessing a candidate’s eligibility for membership by evaluating their attributes as detailed in the “Qualifications” section of the Counselor website. Successful candidates will display varying combinations of attributes and strengths, with some being highly prominent, others focused on complex problem solving in one or more specialty areas, and others assuming extremely active roles in the real estate industry. Some candidates offer a combination of these characteristics.
In addition to assessing a candidate’s professional qualifications, Invitation Committee members weigh carefully the opinions of the interviewer and recommendations of current members of the CRE organization. All deliberations of the Invitation Committee, as well as its membership, are confidential to maintain maximum independence.
As to the age of new Counselors, the only requirements are ten years of real estate experience, three years of Counseling, and sufficient evidence of the key attributes that define real estate counseling (prominence, expertise, experience, ethics and influence). There is no requirement that new Counselors hold senior-most positions in their organizations (a change that reflects increased specialization, the growth of large service companies, and the rapid increase of new types of real estate participants whose prominence might not relate to their relative seniority in an organization).
Counseling Specialty Diversity
There has always been a certain confusion about various professions and whether individuals engaged in these specialties perform sufficient real estate “counseling” to be considered for membership.
With newly revised definitions of “Real Estate Counseling” and “Counselor of Real Estate,” the examples listed below illustrate various disciplines or practice areas in which potential applicants for membership in The Counselors may be found. The list is extensive yet not all inclusive. Counselors come from a wide variety of specialties and often demonstrate expertise in more than one industry sector.
Ultimately, the Invitation Committee must assess whether a specific applicant from these or other specialties reflects the fundamental attributes of a Counselor as expressed in our definitions, descriptive terms, Membership Qualifications, and Eligibility Requirements. Future Counselors of Real Estate could be:
- Leaders who have a key role in running real estate companies or groups/divisions within companies, (regardless of which real estate sector they represent), even if they do not produce traditional reports or maintain traditional files.
- Portfolio managers, acquisition specialists, loan committee advisors, developers, and other investment professionals.
- Real estate capital market professionals in banks, insurance companies, investment banks, brokerage firms, etc.
- Appraisers/consultants recognized as specialty or thought leaders and/or engaged in writing, speaking, and industry collaborations/task forces, regardless of whether or not they primarily perform traditional appraisal assignments. The test is significant contribution to real estate decision making, quality of work, thought leadership, and reputation, not simply the concluded value opinion or the style/format of reports.
- Lawyers in real estate related fields including transactions, leasing, property tax, securities, litigation, debt financing, etc. who contribute to the clients’ and/or employers’ real estate decision-making process.
- Property tax and accounting consultants who provide significant contributions to their clients’ decision-making process on whether or not to pursue an appeal on a property matter or in the structuring and accounting for complex transactions and real estate assets.
- Research directors, strategy consultants, academics, and other leading thinkers and real estate problem solvers.
- Individuals in real estate related research, data/information, technology/product, and software companies who play a major role in real estate decision making.
- Leading thinkers and problem solvers in emerging areas of real estate including data analytics, research, technology development and applications, workplace strategies and execution, operations software development and applications.
- Corporate or public sector real estate professionals.
- Property brokers that employ a rigorous consultative approach to solving their client’s problems, as is often the case with tenant rep brokers and corporate workplace specialists.
- Service providers of all kinds including architects, planners, engineers, and contractors, provided the nature of their work significantly contributes to the clients’ real estate decision-making process.
- Litigation support providers, trial strategists and expert witnesses.
- Property-related sustainability/energy consultants and sustainability finance experts, etc.
- Non-profit leaders addressing complex real estate-related societal issues including housing affordability, homelessness, resilience, land-use, climate change, etc.
In the final analysis, Counselors are real estate professionals who demonstrate prominence, expertise, experience, ethics, and influence in the provision of real estate advisory services to their clients, the public, and/or employers and satisfy The Counselor organization’s definitions of “Real Estate Counseling” and “Counselor of Real Estate”. The exact nature of the work performed is not constrained by practice in any specific discipline, but is measured by the quality and rigor of the work performed.