There're some new roosters in the barnyard and they've got the feathers ruffled. Some of the current strutters like GRI, ABR, CRS, and that upstart E-Pro are eyeing these newbies with suspicion. Look at that...all colorful and important looking...what's that around their necks? Certifications? SSPro, CDPE...never heard of them! CFS? Woops, already one of those out there...finance, not foreclosure.
I guess anybody can sell designations these days without officially qualifying them. What is the public going to think about us with our hard-earned (and officially tested and verified) designations, when everybody has something important-sounding at the end of their name now? WE know how we got them, and that they really do mean we have special training, but the public doesn't know that, and our coop has just gotten all muddy.
With short sales and distressed properties in general fast becoming normal instead of rarities, agents with hard-earned official designations are the first to admit that new training is a good thing, but what training in this field is worth the effort (and money)? At this time (please correct me if I'm wrong) but there are no OFFICIALLY recognized short sale/pre-foreclosure/post-foreclosure certifications or designations available! There are some that have an exam before they give it to you, but none of these are closed-book monitored or timed tests...so what are they? Just selling devices as far as we can tell. There is no way to tell if the purchaser has actually learned anything.
These new "designations" are quickly muddying the water for those of us that have designations that are accredited by at least our local MLS or Realtor Association. The more of these that are thrown around carelessly, the less ANY of them will mean. Not a pretty picture for this henhouse.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure many of these courses/programs/seminars are good information, but we simply cannot afford to buy them all to find out, and word of mouth simply takes too long.
So what should be done about these certificate bearing buzzards running amok? If the NAR is unwilling to take the lead on this, then we should do it on the local level. Encourage your regional MLS and/or Realtor Association to put together a program to review and accredit these courses. I imagine the real deals would be more than willing to submit their packages for review. It would be nice to know that a broker with a short sale designation really does know what they are doing, and not just taking a gamble.
There are some lenders and banks offering classes and seminars on short sales and hopefully do (or will) on REOs. These should be considered as do-not-miss, since they are essentially the controlling entity in distressed sales.
Londi Sutton, broker