At a recent speaking engagement on my favorite topic (short sales), one of the agents in the audience asked about all of the different designations and certifications available for those who want to specialize in distressed properties.
One designation that I am aware of is the SFR Designation, which you can obtain through the National Association of Realtors®. I’m also familiar with the Certified Distressed Property Expert designation (CDPE).
Many Realtors® across the nation have recently received invitations to short sale certification programs of all sorts (which is probably why I got the question at the workshop). Some of those designations are offered by various companies throughout the United States and cost upwards of $300. I was asked whether these designations are valid, why they are important, and what they can do to impact the real estate agent.
Those are great questions. When I receive an invitation to participate in a class or consider a certification or a designation, I always want to know what I am going to get out of it. For example, if I want to learn about short sales and how to work the distressed property market, it is not necessarily important to me whether I will receive the designation. The most important thing for me is to learn about how to work in the distressed market in order to maximize my profit and to help my clients to resolve their real estate-related problems. So do I have to pay $300 to do that?
Sometimes I may, sometimes I may not.
However, there are some certification and designation programs that might have other benefits to me. For example, I know that in the REO market a few years back, there were many, many certification programs that were available to agents that stated that participation in the certification program would get the agent on special lists so that they could receive the benefit of REO transactions. If something like this was legitimate and I wanted REO listings, then maybe I would spend the money.
In general, it seems important to consider what you read on the Internet and to investigate all programs before shelling out a dime. So, with regard to all of the certifications and designations currently available, I would say that we get so many invitations to participate in designation programs that cost quite a bit of money, but the most important thing to do is to consider is how each will work with our business plan, and how well the program will help to improve our business in the future. It doesn’t matter whether the program comes from Harvard University or somewhere else. It’s important to consider who endorses the program, the certification, or the designation.
Does the invitation come from an Internet quack or a legitimate purveyor of information?
If you receive an invitation to buy a short sale certification in the near future (or any other certification program), I would certainly look into how it’s going to benefit your business and your clients before you drop three Franklins into the hat.