I'd like to buy a vowel. Expert Designations kinda scare me a little.

Real Estate Broker/Owner with DFW Living TREC# 0553912

I recommend that if you plan on practicing real estate past tomorrow that you do more than just consider getting as much distressed property/seller training as possible.  Given the market conditions we face now and in the future, I think it should be required that all licensees know how to assist distressed homeowners in sorting through their many OPTIONS.  I DO recommend the CDPE class as the first of many steps toward helping distressed homeowners with one of the most challenging situations they'll face in their adult lives.  (Although I do think the CDPE folks should update the printed material to 2010 since so many changes have r.  As of this writing, the printed materials offered are copyrighted 2008.  As the CDPE instructor said a few times in class, "that was 4 stimulus packages ago.")

Furthermore, I applaud the efforts of the CDPE founders and instructors for being part of the movement toward educating agents on matters of helping distressed homeowners, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) for promoting the effort and the professionals who are working hard day in and out to assist distressed homeowners.  I have no question, concern or opinion (other than stated above) about the CDP- part and consider the money and time spent toward the training to be worth it.

I wish I'd bought another vowel though.  CDPE stands for Certified Distressed Property Expert.

Expert seems more than a little strong to me.  My doctors, dentist,  and my lawyer all consider themselves to be practitioners of their field.  I've never once had a doctor tell me he was the expert...even though I believed it to be so.  They all practice because it is just that...a practice of medicine, practice of dentistry, of law and so on.  I haven't given a lot of thought to it in the past, but it stands to reason that the reason it's referred to as practice, is because it changes too often to be mastered.  What we do as practitioners isn't like woodworking or sewing with an established   that allows us to master a trade; ours is truly a practice that requires constant learning and to be experts.  If the laws and the rules and economic stimulus never change, then we stand a chance at expert mastery but certainly not until then. Am I an expert at continuing to learn all I can about my practice?  I guess so.

To the class and back to my point...

We were told that at the end of day 2, we would walk out ready to work short sales.  At the beginning of Day 1, the instructor asked for a show of hands as to the number of people who were working or have worked shorts. With less than half of the 39 sets of hands in the room raised, we were asked for a show of hands as to who was an expert.

Three hands remained.

To the Instructor, it was shocking to him that ONLY three hands remained in the air.

To this Texas Broker, it was shocking that as many as 3 hands remained in the air.  I've participated in a handful of short sales and I've attended several versions of online and in classroom training specific to short sales since 2006.  While I do consider myself to have expertise, I do not consider myself to be an expert.

The following day, 38 people, half of which have no prior short sale experience, walked out of that classroom with the Certified Distress Property Expert Designation.  There were several people in the classroom from other parts of Texas, but Wednesday afternoon, a couple dozen brand new EXPERTS hit the Dallas-Fort Worth real estate streets.

My question for you, the Active Rain community, is the following:

Do you think that it's possible to be an expert by attending a class or do you think that working to become an expert requires training and practice?  What about supervision of that practice?  Shouldn't there be a requirement that sponsoring brokers also earn and maintain designations held by their agents?  How many cans of worms did I just open?

Comments (118)

Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

To furhter illustrate your story.  I used to work with another gentleman in the high-tech world.  And we had to rely on a lot of documentation to further understand what we were working on.  Inevitably, the question came up: did you RTFM? (If you're military, you'll immediately understand, for the rest of you, three of the letters stand for Read the Manual).

Steve would almost always retort with: Believe in the Bible?  Shoot, I've even seen one!


And thus, folks, is born an expert.  For some, they'll get as much out of these classes as sitting naked in front of the books.  At least they can then honestly say they've been exposed to the material.  : )



May 19, 2010 12:58 PM
Michael Ford
San Diego, CA

what?  a two day course DOESN'T  make me an expert?  dammit!   i wonder if it's too late to get my money back. 

i am amused that anyone would use the term...at  the very least  the crew here will call bullshit on them...

thanks for a good laugh.


May 19, 2010 01:06 PM
Carla Cameron
www.ViewCurrentListings.com - Portland, OR
REALTOR 509.680.1338

I agree, I think there should be manditory continued classes for an any Designation.

May 19, 2010 01:36 PM
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Hi Amanda,

I think that "expert" word is a little strong and it is stressed at our company to use it with caution. "Have experience" is one thing, "expert" is another.  Distressed property transactions are so different from one to the next.  It is like my title of Mom.  After three kids, I have experience and a lot of it, but I am still not an expert!

Thanks for your post,


May 19, 2010 02:10 PM
Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
Your Agent for Life

Either Captain Wayne is my new hero or Russell Lewis is my secret lover.  Or, maybe I should just go to bed.

Hey Amanda!

May 19, 2010 04:23 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

And it's worthy of being a public post - nothing to hide here.

May 19, 2010 04:34 PM
Woody Fincham, SRA
F&M Associates Appraisal Services, INC - Charlottesville, VA

You are on point.  I think that NAR is a little bit silly offering designations without a higher level of experience required.  Being an appraiser, I look at designations much differently as a result of what my industry requires to have a designation.  Take into consideration the SRA and MAI designations from the Appraisal Institute.  These are the two most recognized and arguably the most respected in the business. The residential (SRA designation) requires literally years to get in most instances.  There are several advanced level courses required and an extensive log of real world experience required.   When you work with a designated appraiser you know they earned it.  When you compare these to the NAR RAA designation for appraisers it is comical how minimal the standards are.  

NAR would benefit from requiring extensive training for at least some of the designations.  The one you are writing about for distressed properties should be one.  These are special types of situations for folks, and the consumers need experience and expertise beyond a designation that did not require too much to obtain.  

May 20, 2010 12:23 AM
MetroStar® Realtors® Chesterfield Relocation™ - Chesterfield, MO

Amanda Hall you motivated me:   Great word on being a Practitioner of Real Estate

Having a four year degree in Real Estate & Finance from the University of Missouri, broker for over 25 years, son of a real estate broker, ABR, SFR and CDPE, and others; you hit the nail on the head, it takes a long time to be regarded as an expert. 

In being an Expert Witness in Real Estate, once you claim to be an "expert" there is no defense whatsoever that will save you from absolutely knowing everything down to the smallest detail.  Recent "graduates" take notice if you claim expertise -- then in the eyes of the law you are held to be an expert, whether you are or not. 

Best Advice: Get a good seasoned mentor along with the education and certifications.

If you have two of more NAR Qualified alphabets (showing some dedication towards constant learning) then those people only should then be able to be called a Practitioner.  Thanks for the post.  Below has been added to my webpage:

John C. Holst, Jr.   Practitioner of Real Estate

The title stands to sound reason -- that the reason it's referred to as practice, is because it changes too often to be mastered once and for all.  Like Medicine or Law; Real Estate is truly an on-going practice that requires constant learning and dedicated aspirations to obtain the wisdom to claim a certain expertise, but knowing there is always more to learn.

Chesterfield RelocationTM



Give me your thoughts;  Thanks again!

May 20, 2010 05:51 AM
Herman Herrera

I think designations are labels and nothing more.  Let me get this straight...I take a 2 day course and now I'm an "expert"?  It's ridiculous.  IMO...every state licensed agent/broker should be required to have an MBA in Real Estate.

May 20, 2010 05:56 AM
Monique Ting
INET Realty Honolulu, HI - Honolulu, HI
Your agent under the sun

For me your great post brought up the ever present concept that our profession is more of "salesmanship" than "counsel". Since we are often dealing with someone's largest $ possession, we should definitively refrain from calling ourselves EXPERTS in any aspect of the profession, especially after attending a 2-day designation class! We should leave the counseling to lawyers, accountants & other professionals...  

May 20, 2010 01:26 PM
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

I know that Dave Linegar (spelling?) at RE/MAX International is really hot on all of us getting this designation and a lot of the agents in my office have.  I hear it is quite intensive but to be an expert, you need experience.  Just as I wasn't ready to practice real estate right out of school on my own, after taking the class, at least for some transactions, the agent should be supervised.  There is too much at risk for the client for us to make mistakes.  I am hoping that in the coming year, the designation will count toward our MCE.  BYW, lovely to see my fave red head on my blog roll.

May 21, 2010 12:11 AM
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Amanda,  I will never be an expert at anything.  As I learn more about something and then gain more experience, I have a little bit better understanding of how best to do things.  I will always be looking to ask someone else that knows more then me for advice.

May 21, 2010 02:19 PM
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

Even those with hundreds of short sales under their belts, had to learn the first one by just doing it.  As each of us did with our first listing, or first buyer client.  However, there is so much more at risk for all parties involved, that I believe the additional training is a must.  It's actually required in my brokerage if you want to work short sales in any capacity.

But I agree - expert is a very strong word with a lot of implications.  I prefer to use the word 'educated' to replace 'expert.'

May 24, 2010 03:18 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

What about brokers?  If an agent is an expert, shouldn't a broker that is charged with supervising their agents know as much if not more than their agents about the deals they are working?  That's the pot that needs stirring.  How often are brokers aware of the new letters behind an agent's name????

How about Article 11?  Article 11 states that if you aren't qualified to work commercial or property management transactions, that you are not to attempt to do so unless you are working in tandem with a mentor.  (I paraphrased but I am close.)

May 24, 2010 03:39 PM
Linda Granger

I couldn't agree more, Amanda.  While I have closed a number of short sales and taken the CDPE training, I certainly do not consider myself an expert.  In fact, I have not yet had the nerve to do the 'press release' and add the logo to my biz cards and website due to the fact that I can't handle the 'E' in CDPE.  I have even gone as far as watching the entire course online over and over (and I only took the class 2 weeks ago!) to try to memorize everything so that I could feel worthy of the 'E'. Thanks for your opinion. I, too, feel the CDPE education was nothing short of outstanding, but I don't feel armed enough to wear the scarlet 'E'. I like CDPP (practitioner) much better!

May 27, 2010 01:21 PM
Greg Nino
RE/MAX Compass - Houston, TX
Houston, Texas

Well now that it's public some agents may wanna recant their opinion on the matter! ;)

May 27, 2010 03:34 PM
Amanda Evans
DFW Living - Fort Worth, TX
Real Estate Broker - Fort Worth Texas

Dangit, Greg. That's why I hate going from members only to public. Can you imagine if people just around changing the view all willy nilly?  Yikes!

Linda, there is another certification offered that doesn't claim expert but is one and the same curriculum as near as I can tell.  I will take advantage of the knowledge and work to become expert, but the E is stopping me from adding the letters behind my name as well.  Trying to remember the name of the other des and I think it's CDRS? (Certified Distressed Resolution Specialist???)

May 27, 2010 03:48 PM
Shirley Parks
Sands Realty 210-414-0966 - San Antonio, TX
Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate

Methinks CDRS sounds better than CDPE.  CDPP would be good, too.

Feb 28, 2012 09:43 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

CDfreakingPE would be better. I guess having 2 days of training and being an "expert" is better than no training and still being an "expert."

Feb 28, 2012 09:47 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Oh, there are some that have the designation and have never even had a RESALE listing, muchless a short sale listing!  It's simply maddening! 

Feb 28, 2012 10:51 AM