Say NO to Real Estate Certifications. What is the point really other than taking our money??

Real Estate Agent with Home Real Estate

I am currently working on completing my GRI and I am a couple of transactions away from getting my CRS. I currently have my CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) certification. Hopefully none of this is interpreted as bragging as that is definitely not my goal, nor is it my point.

Here is my question, what do we stand to gain having all of these certifications? Have any of you in the community received a referral because of them? Have you had a client say, I those you because you were a GRI or a CRS or whatever certification impressed them? I am not saying that the knowledge we gain isn't beneficial in any way, but a lot of the GRI classes seem to be fluff in my opinion. I do not mean to offend anyone who is proud of their certifications and firm believers in them. All I am saying is that I think that many of these things are created as a means to get more money from us. We already pay a large sum of money every year for the BIG R (don't get me started on that one) and what does that get us. I have never had a client ask me if I was a "Realtor", frankly most people are not informed on the matter and really don't know a difference.

With licensing fees raising 2 to 3 times the amount we were paying before; and all of the reoccuring fees we have to pay for various certifications, MLS fees, E and O insurance, dues for whichever Real Estate company you belong to. How in the world are we going to be able to do business? On a side note going back to the subject of why our licensing fees increased, do you want to know the answer the state gave to us for that happening? They said it was because there were significantly fewer agents now and that is why they increased the dues to cover costs. Hey, here is an idea for the state government. When you have less money because of an ailing economy, guess what? CUT PEOPLE AND CUT YOUR COSTS. In the private sector companies have to cut somewhere when they don't have the money. The state government just makes more of us fit the bill for their waste and stupidity? Enough ranting from me so I will end this article shortly.

I am curious to know what your thoughts are on this subject? Do you think the certification are worth it? Can you say that all the money and energy you put into it was worth it? Did you get a good return on your investment? How many times has a client said that they chose you because you had a particular certification?

I really think this subject needs to be hashed out and I really looking forward to your comments on the matter.



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  1. Mike Yeo 03/01/2010 02:05 PM
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William True
True Sarasota Real Estate - Sarasota, FL
Sarasota Real Estate

I think their point is more of a continuing education idea rather than the power of the designation.

Mar 01, 2010 01:12 AM #1
Steven Wright
Home Real Estate - Aurora, CO
CRS - Home Real Estate - 720-989-5283

William, I can see that you are a "Think the best" sort of guy and I appreciate that.  I also see that you have a number of certifications. Very nice work.

Mar 01, 2010 01:16 AM #2
Laura Gray
RE/MAX Realty Group - Gaithersburg, MD

Steven - I personally conducted my first "Short Sale" in 1996. Back then there was no designation for this type of transaction. I handled the negotiations personally , the attorney became involved after receiving the contract. So I have 12 years experience with short sales and yet I DO NOThave a "CDPE" designation. Of the agents that signed up for the coursework required to earn this designation , how many do you think have EVER negotiated a short sale to the settlement table ?

During the "Bubble" many if my clients purchased homes over $500,000 - That is called a "Luxury Home Specialist" I am with-out the required coursework forthis one as well.

So I guess my point is I agree with you , stick to the basics CRS, GRI, ABR but first and formost be REALTOR 

Mar 01, 2010 01:17 AM #3
Steven Wright
Home Real Estate - Aurora, CO
CRS - Home Real Estate - 720-989-5283

Laura, well thought out statement and I would agree you are definitely seasoned when it comes to Short Sales, especially having to handly them in the old fashioned way.

Mar 01, 2010 01:18 AM #4
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Hi Steven -- I think the educational aspects is what matters. I completed the GRI course last year; got some good reminders and points from all the sessions, and some GREAT, stimulating ideas from several. I took the CDPE classes in January, so I'd know where to start to help clients should the Option-ARMs cause a new wave of distressed sales (lots of those were used in our high-cost area.) I earned the SRES designation a few years back so I'd have the resources at the ready.

For me, it's all about the continuing education enabling me to better help clients.

Mar 01, 2010 01:46 AM #5
Robert Ott
Century21 Beal Inc. - College Station, TX


I agree with you! Not to take anything away from those who have the designators of course.

Gaining more knowledge in your profession is a good thing. Time and money expended to obtain initials after your name, that most Realtors do not know what they stand for; in my opinion, isn't part of a good business plan. I'm certain the Realtors that make money teaching the courses will disagree with me (as will those that have obtained the designators). 

The good news is: I have paid my dues and fees to NAR, TAR, BCSRAOR, ad nauseam.

Mar 01, 2010 02:10 AM #6
Steven Wright
Home Real Estate - Aurora, CO
CRS - Home Real Estate - 720-989-5283

Robert, I am with you. where does it end? They just keep thinking of news ways to siphen our money from us.

Mar 01, 2010 02:14 AM #7
Jann Foy

Thanks for an experience take on the certifications.  As a very new agent (2 months) I am already swimming in expenses just starting my career.  Becoming certified seems very appealing to me as a newbie, since it appears that certifications and designations would place me in a separate area from other agents.  But it's also more money out of my pocket so I wasn't sure whether it would be helpful.  Your blog as well as the subsequent comments really helped give me a better idea about what is right for me and my career at this point.  Thanks!

Mar 01, 2010 03:17 AM #8
Leslie Prest
Leslie Prest, Prest Realty, Sales and Rentals in Payson, AZ - Payson, AZ
Owner, Assoc. Broker, Prest Realty, Payson,

EDUCATION is worthwhile. In my opinion, certifications are not. And often the classes for certifications are NOT all worthwhile. Education can come from other people, from internet research, or other sources. I've always said, the only certification that the average consumer understands is "Broker".

Mar 01, 2010 04:48 AM #9
Karen Staha
Gaston & Sheehan Realty - Round Rock, TX
CRS, GRI, ABR, REALTOR, Austin & Surrounding Areas Texas

Hi Robert,  I like to think that my designations speak for my dedication and experience as a Realtor.  One can never get enough education - especially in our ever changing industry.

Mar 01, 2010 01:14 PM #10
Mike Yeo
3:16 team REALTY - Frisco, TX

Steven - That is a great point. I hope no one is offended. It is hard to gauge if the certification brings any ROI. I beileve it bring ROI in terms of knowledge of the industry. It is for education to help one be better in their transactions.

Mar 01, 2010 01:44 PM #11
Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker
Aloha Kai Real Estate - Clearwater, FL
Licensed in Florida, Washington, and Hawai'i

Hi Steven. I have earned my GRI and am very picky which designations will help me. One of my goals is to attain more education and that is what I achieved with the GRI. IMHO one cannot get enough education especially in the real estate profession so I am pleased with my GRI. I am studying for the CCIM for commercial real estate as well. I say do what is best for you and for your business. I do not go by what is popular or unpopular.  ~ Lana

Mar 12, 2010 03:02 PM #12
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Steven Wright

CRS - Home Real Estate - 720-989-5283
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