Distinguish yourself in the marketplace


Don KottickBy Don Kottick

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. 


  1. Don – Thank you for highlighting the importance of the FRI designation.
    With over two hundred and fifty commercial tenants including some of the largest and most respected corporations in Canada, it is very important that our brokers and real estate managers are well educated, current and subscribe to the
    highest ethical standards. This is precisely what the FRI designation provides.
    Tony Wagner
    Senior Commercial Real Estate Manager
    W.P.J. McCarthy and Company Ltd.

  2. I fully agree with you, Don, in that there is renewed focus on transparency, ethics and professionalism; and that the Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) FRI designation has become its hallmark.
    REIC credentialed Members adhere to an enforced code of ethics, which is added value when trusting someone with your real estate dealings, whether it be purchasing or sales.

  3. I am relatively new to the industry and was looking for a way to further raise my professional profile – the FRI designation seems to be the perfect way to do this. The FRI designation, representing it’s members adherence to the highest level of ethics and professionalism will, I believe, help me in my quest to win more listings and clients. A higher level of professional accreditation is something that every realtor should be considering – this can only be a positive move for our industry.

  4. Hello Don:

    You have penned an interesting piece, as usual.

    I find it hard to believe that there are only 690 Realtors out of approximately 107,000 Canada-wide in possession of the FRI designation. That works out to much less than 1% who can credentially/experientially be regarded by the public as being highly professional. Of course, there are many more Realtors out there without the FRI designation who in my estimation ‘do’ behave in a very professional manner…but…having said that, the FRI designation needs to be a mandatory designation that must be earned by every Realtor, within five years of each registrant gaining his/her licence, in my opinion.

    Keep riding the ethical horse on the journey toward true professionalism.

    Speaking of professional business behaviour, I was on my way home from Osoyoos, British Columbia last week, trailering my over-loaded speed boat (I had a friend’s engine block resting in the boat) when during a gas station fill-up stop in Sault Saint Marie, Ontario, I noticed that both sets of the trailer’s suspension springs had snapped. The trailer’s full weight was resting on the fenders which were in turn jammed down on the tires. The only reason that the tires had not burned out due to friction was that it was raining and the water had served as a lubricant. I remembered hearing a “click” noise about five miles back when hitting a pretty good bump in the road (the leaf springs breaking), but thought that something had shifted in the trunk where some loose tools were stored.

    The gas station attendant told me that there was a spring shop three stoplights back up the road from whence I had come. I slowly drove back to the shop (Inter City Spring Service & George’s Garage Ltd., 117 Black Road), and spoke with the manager (Kevin). Kevin, realizing my predicament (I was still about nine hours from home in Lakefield, Ontario) pulled a car that his staff was working on out from a bay and took my broken low-rider trailer in. A new set of heavier-duty springs, shackle bolts and axle clasps was installed within two hours. The bill was what I would have expected it to be, and I was glad to pay it. Ten more miles down the open road dragging the damaged trailer and I might have suffered a calamitous accident out in the middle of nowhere.

    Kevin and his crew showed me respect and completed the job as quickly (but methodically properly) as possible. They did not make their week’s wages off of me, as well they could have, because I was in a real bind. So, hats off to the good folks at Inter City Spring Service & George’s Garage Ltd.for a job well and honestly performed.

    Realtors in or about the Sault, keep these folks in mind when thinking of mechanical work that will doubtless be required on your vehicles in the future.

    Kevin: The trailer pulled flawlessly with much less sway and bouncing about than it had had previously displayed. Now I can put a bigger boat on it LOL.



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