History | ABR®


The Early Years

The Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council (REBAC) was founded in 1988 by REALTOR® Barry Miller, in part to promote exclusive buyer agency and to assist in the growth of a buyer agency franchise group he also owned. After a couple of years of joint operation, Miller sold REBAC to the North American Consulting Group, an organization owned by Tom Dooley and Charles Dahlheimer, both experienced veterans of the real estate industry.

Under the guidance of North American Consulting Group, REBAC altered its direction and strategy, and expanded its sphere of operation. At first a staunch proponent of exclusive buyer agency—a view that often put it at odds with the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which at the time still recognized sub-agency—REBAC redefined its mission to endorse buyer representation in all its legally-recognized forms.

Of course, knowing what those forms of buyer agency are and how to conduct business within their constraints takes a commitment to education, which has always been REBAC’s hallmark. Teaming with other industry experts, REBAC undertook writing the first Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) Designation Course and educating an entire industry about this new way to do business.

REBAC Moves to NAR

REBAC membership continued to grow, prompting NAR and other industry leaders to take notice. Public interest in buyer representation was also growing, resulting in changes to state real estate regulations, away from sub-agency—and especially undisclosed dual agency—towards direct representation of buyers.

Although discussions about recognizing the ABR® designation had taken place between NAR and North American Consulting Group early in the latter’s ownership of REBAC, nothing resulted from them, and the time had come to reconsider. After negotiations, the parties came to agreement early in November 1996, and REBAC’s NAR era had begun.

Under NAR Leadership

David Martin, a 12-year NAR veteran, was appointed NAR’s first Managing Director of REBAC. During his four-year tenure with REBAC, Martin saw membership grow to 33,000. He also undertook initiatives such as the development of the Accredited Buyer’s Representative Manager (ABRMSM) Designation Course and ABRMSM designation, the redesign of internal and external communications, and expansion of advertising and marketing activities.

After Martin announced his intentions to pursue other interests in 2000, NAR Senior Vice President Nancy Wilson-Smith asked Janet Branton to step in. Branton brought extensive experience to REBAC, built upon thirteen years as an Association Executive of three Florida REALTOR® associations.

At the time Branton assumed the helm, roughly one-third of the states had incorporated buyer representation into their real estate regulations. Six years later, virtually every state, as well as a growing number of foreign nations, had adopted buyer representation into their real estate regulations.

During the same time, REBAC surpassed the 50,000-member mark and expanded its staff to thirteen, developed a full curriculum of elective courses, and added a host of new member benefits, including further expansion of marketing and branding efforts to both consumers and real estate professionals.

Looking Toward the Future

When Wilson-Smith retired in 2005, Branton assumed her role as NAR Senior Vice President. But in doing so, Branton needed to find someone to take over the day-to-day operations as REBAC’s Executive Director.

Her search concluded in April 2006, when Marc Gould accepted the post. Formerly Vice President of Business Development and Sales for Dearborn Real Estate Education, a leading provider of real estate, appraisal, home inspection, pre-licensing and continuing education materials, his background dovetailed neatly with REBAC’s needs as it looked to expand its reach in a buyer-representation environment vastly different from what it was when REBAC first joined NAR, and continuing to evolve.

But even as the industry changes, REBAC’s mission remains the same: to provide training and support that helps buyer’s representatives be successful in their business—and to further educate consumers about the benefits of buyer representation and the ABR® designation, in order to improve their homebuying experience.

The REBAC Timeline

1988 – REBAC is founded by Barry Miller, a Denver-based REALTOR®

1990 – REBAC is sold to the North American Consulting Group

Early 1990s – REBAC expands to recognize all forms of buyer representation

1996 – NAR acquires REBAC. David Martin is named 
Managing Director; membership reaches 33,000 during his four-year tenure.

1999 – Successful Negotiations and New Home Sales debuts as the first REBAC elective course

2000 – Janet Branton assumes REBAC leadership; courses and benefits continue to expand and membership tops 50,000.  Roughly one-third of U.S. states have incorporated buyer representation into their real estate regulations.

2006 – Janet Branton moves into SVP role at NAR; Marc Gould becomes Executive Director of
 REBAC.  Virtually every state, as well as a growing number of foreign nations, have adopted buyer representation into their real estate regulations.

2018 – REBAC becomes part of the NAR's Member Development group. Marc Gould becomes SVP of Member Development, and Jennifer Rzeszewski assumes the role of Vice President of Member Development and Executive Director of REBAC. 

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Why I earned my ABR®

  • Always remember who you are working for—your client, not your commission. Do your job well and the rewards will come.

    Andrea (Andi) DeFelice, ABR®, Broker
    Savannah, GA
    Andrea DeFelice, ABR designee

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