The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

CDPE – Certified Disaster of Proportions that are Epic

Special Certifications I Hold:

CSE (Certified Sparkle Examiner)
ELC (Expert-Level Cartwheeler)
MIATM (Master In All Things Mothering)

That’s right, my full title is: Elizabeth Newlin, REALTOR, CSE, ELC, MIATM. It’s kind of long, though, so you can just call me Certified Expert Master. That’s the important part.

To be a real estate agent in Arizona, I had to take 90 hours of education and pass both a school and state test. This got me my license, but little knowledge about how to actually successfully navigate the world of real estate. I walked away from the Scottsdale School of Real Estate about a grand poorer with an official-looking paper with a pretty seal and without a clue about how to actually find a house on the Multiple Listing System or even how to open a lockbox if I did find a house to show. Sure, I knew the definition of the word ‘easement’ and how to calculate tax prorations (which is actually title’s job, not mine), but no idea whatsoever how to write a contract and protect my client.

I have to take 24 hours of continuing education classes every two years to keep my license, and I’ve found these classes to be roughly as useful. Yes, I glean knowledge of a new legal issue every now and then, but by and large, my understanding and expertise in the business of real estate has come from actually working the job and collaborating with my peers. The real estate market is a constantly evolving animal. What is important to know today is obsolete tomorrow. This makes it tough to develop useful curriculum to teach on a large scale. I’ve found it’s much more useful to keep my eyes open and my ear to the ground.

There are a bunch of classes a Realtor can take that will earn them a ‘designation’, which is basically a certificate and an acronym after their name. GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute), ABR (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) and GREEN (the NAR official, “I’m a giant hippie long-haired tree hugging Realtor” designation) are just a few offered. The designations come down to varying amounts of hours of classes and fees. GRI is a pretty hefty commitment of classes, while GREEN is like a 3 hour class.

A newish designation that has become very popular lately is CDPE, or Certified Distressed Property Expert. This set of classes is supposed to teach a Realtor how to deal with short sales and foreclosures.

I’ve closed my fair share of short sales (as listing agent and buyer’s agent) and foreclosures and I tend to be wary of agents with a laundry list of acronyms after their names (in real estate, those who ‘talk big’ are usually over compensating for a lack of action, if you know what I mean) so I haven’t actually taken the class, but I have it on good authority that it’s a two day event costing anywhere from $400 to $1000.

I recently had a buyer I’ve been working with for quite awhile walk into an open house. She informed the agent who was holding the house open that she was already working with an agent, but that she’d like to see the house. This was acceptable to the agent, so they got a tour, and a basic rundown of the situation of the house from the agent. They called me later to write an offer on the property (which was a short sale) and told me all about how this was going to be a fast short sale because the agent is an expert in short sales and she says it will be smooth.

When I contacted the agent to work out the details of the offer, I was also immediately informed that she was a CDPE and that this would all go smoothly. She also asked me for a laundry list of things to get the offer submitted, including my client’s full earnest money to be deposited with title immediately (this is practically unheard of in a short sale, because the transaction is so up in the air until approval from the lender is received, earnest is almost always deposited after approval is obtained). As we continued to discuss things and I pried further, it quickly came out that this was the very first short sale she had EVER been a part of. She was an ‘expert’ with no experience whatsoever. The CDPE class had told her to have earnest money deposited immediately AND to have the buyer start inspections and appraisal as soon as possible as well, which is in direct contradiction with the Short Sale Addendum of the Arizona Approved Contract and utterly ludicrous (as you would know if you read my last post).

Here’s the sucky thing about all of this: Yes, I pretty much want to create a class and call it the “Designations Are As Important In RE As A Coach Purse To My 18 Year Old Cat” and label it the DAAIIREAACPTMEYOC designation in protest of all of this, BUT, I am quite aware that real estate is about 75% perception. A client to believe you know what you’re talking about is almost as important as actually knowing what you’re talking about. So I have a class on the schedule for March 12. It’s not an actual designation, and I’ve been warned by people who’ve taken it that I won’t learn a single thing, but then apparently if I’m ever sued over a short sale issue I can say, “What? I took a class! I’m totally an expert!”

11 Responses to CDPE – Certified Disaster of Proportions that are Epic

  1. In Wyoming, we call that “Big hat, no cattle.”

  2. HA! Adam, that is fricking hilarious. and so appropriate.

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  5. As a true short sale pro (I have closed 250+ in the past 2 years) I can’t tell you how much it makes me cringe when I hear someone say the those letters (CDPE)…

    Love the post…keep up the great work!

  6. I am a short sale pro because I am successfully working and closing short sales. Actually took Kevin and Freds class at the Keller Williams Realty Family Reunion. Love the energy from you both. I did take the CDPE class, not because I was not already closing short sales or because I wanted the initials but because I like to hear other angle on short sales. Just as I took Kevin and Freds class… to hear another angle. I do not believe in a series of initials following my name but I do believe in great education and fine tuning my skills. I might not learn a thing which tells me I am doing the right things… or I might take a nugget that has me tweak one of my processes.

    I think those of us who do short sales can speak about the differences from one short sale to another. For those of us that are successfully closing them we understand there is not a class that can teach us how to handle every little situation that arises… what separates the good from the great is the ability to work around the bombs placed in our way. It is the mindset to not take no for an answer.

    The value for me for CDPE comes from their forums and networking with agents throughout the country who are closing a lot of short sales. We exchange bank information and experiences. Now that is valuable! CDPE is great for the green green agent to get a clue as many of the brokers out there do not even have a clue. Since I have no tolerance for ignorance I am glad there is a company that can give agents a clue.

    What I noticed in the CDPE class is how many agents are truly clueless (just plain stupid) and probably have no business remaining in real estate. So if CDPE can educate these people a little… to give their small minded brains a clue then it is less explaining I have to do when an agent brings a buyer to one of my short sale listings.

    And lets face it perception in the marketplace is huge. Perception can make or break a company. But scary at the same time because a true expert is made with successful closed transactions under their belt. And with each short sale, we are just that much better!

  7. Thanks for the read and support, Kevin! wow, 250 short sales in 2 years, that is hardcore, good for you!

    Lorie, I hear you, education, in general, is never a bad thing. Most of my frustration about designations in general comes from the fact that they mislead the public about the qualification of the agent who holds them. I don’t think anyone who has never successfully navigated a particular type of transaction should be allow to market themselves as an ‘expert’ in those transactions. That said, my real estate partner in crime and I have been debating for months whether we should bite the bullet and get this designation ourselves, if not just to market ourselves in that manner, because we know we are actually experts.

  8. Thank you Lorie for your graceful words of wisdom. I have taken the course and glad I did. Before the class I was clueless on the issues that matter most to sellers and that is will they owe. Maybe I should not be called an expert just yet. But, I am glad to have that class available as well as the Short Sale Power Hour. It’s all great stuff that help the PROFESSIONALS to properly represent the client.

  9. Great post! I found the GRI extremely valuable. But what’s frustrating is that this is what should have been in the classes BEFORE I got my license! Other classes always have helpful tidbits but are almost never worth what you pay for them. And the annual fees to “keep” the certification are highway robbery! Does the info all leak out of my head if I don’t pay?!

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