There is a movement underway in the real estate industry with a renewed focus on transparency, ethics and professionalism. The Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) FRI designation has become its hallmark. This designation has been around since 1955 and is an acronym for Fellow of the Real Estate Institute. The bearers of the FRI have long been associated with delivering exceptional client service, while being held to superior levels of professionalism and ethics.
The designation is granted by the institute after candidates complete a series of courses and experiential requirements. REIC also delivers and administers other designations covering all sectors of the real estate industry, including commercial and residential property management, leasing, finance and reserve fund planning.
There are currently 690 FRI members nationwide, but more real estate managers and industry visionaries are joining the ranks. Most recently Dianne Usher, vice-president at Royal LePage/Johnston & Daniel Division and the current president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, enrolled in the FRI program. “The momentum for increased professionalism needs to be a top-down initiative,” says Usher. “The FRI is the perfect vehicle to drive this change as managers and owners achieve this prestigious title.”
Howard Drukarsh, vice-president at Right At Home Realty and a director at the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), says: “I am proceeding with the FRI program, as we really need a platform that lets the public know that there is a higher standard of professionalism available in the marketplace.”
Heidi Noel, area manager for Royal LePage in Mississauga, is close to completing her FRI designation program. “The courses I’ve taken towards the FRI designation have been valuable,” she says. “Important issues are explored in depth and illustrated with interesting case studies. I think all Realtors would benefit from investing in these courses. It’s easy to see why the FRI designation is a differentiator in our business.”
Consumers are starting to realize that a Realtor with the FRI designation holds their business activities to a higher standard and places an increased emphasis on ethical business decision making. Gareth Jones, the manager at Right At Home Realty, feels strongly about the marketing power of the FRI. “In my view, the FRI designation is, by far, the best tool to market yourself as a consummate professional in our very competitive marketplace. The FRI demonstrates a strong commitment to improving the consumer’s perception of Realtors, as well as providing excellent training,” he says.
While a broker designation represents an individual who has a wealth of experience and knowledge, the next highest level of differentiation now is the FRI designation, with its additional focus on ethics and professionalism. As a recent FRI designee, I believe this credential gives Realtors a way to differentiate themselves when competing for a listing or a client; it also opens up an international referral network. REIC’s footprint in other real estate sectors creates additional opportunities for business networking.
Ken Finch, president of the Toronto Chapter of REIC, says: “FRI members have always known that when they send a referral to a fellow member, their clients are going to get exceptional service and support. Membership also provides them with access to one of the most effective referral networks in the country.”
If you are looking for a higher level of professional accreditation and a way to differentiate yourself, you should explore the FRI program in your local area by visiting www.reic.ca.
Don Kottick, FRI, is the president and broker of record at Right At Home Realty, with six office locations and more than 2,400 salespeople and brokers. He was recently elected as director at large with the Toronto Real Estate Board.