Last year several top Broker/Owners discovered the incredible value of the Certified Distressed Property Expert designation. Subsequently, leaders throughout the network - from the International level to regions to offices - have recognized the importance of this particular program.In the few months since RE/MAX International began encouraging and endorsing the CDPE designation, more than 4,000 Affiliates have attained it. The April 7-8 session presented by RE/MAX University on RSN drew over 1,300 registrants, making it the top single session in the 14-year history of the satellite network.The course airs again June 9-10, with a registration deadline of May 26. And the Distressed Property Institute, in conjunction with RE/MAX regional offices, will present live classes in over a dozen cities in the next 90 days. The goal is to soon have at least 10,000 RE/MAX Affiliates complete this career-changing training. The CDPE designees will be able to generate income for themselves while creating value for sellers who are upside down on their mortgages, buyers who are taking advantage of favorable conditions, and lenders who are trying to minimize losses on loans gone bad.It's vital that you, as a Broker/Owner or Manager, have the training as well. When your people come to you with a question about distressed properties, or seek ideas on how they can maximize their new skills and knowledge, you simply must be able to help them. If you can't, how can they look to you as a leader? Completing the CDPE class, even if you don't intend to work directly with short sales, will prepare you to provide the assistance your people need.
An expanding skill set
It's important to note that the CDPE program in no way encourages agents to abandon their existing skill sets; it merely expands their reach into the most prominent sector of the current market. Indeed, some of the CDPE material is even applicable for the traditional list-market-sell structure. But that sales model isn't producing its usual level of activity, having been supplanted for the time being by properties in pre-foreclosure and foreclosure. Short sales are a logical step in the process between a traditional listing and a foreclosure, and too many agents are overlooking that fact.If timing issues could be mitigated, wouldn't short-sale listings be quite appealing to house-hunters? Consider who's out there. First-time buyers are in a strong position right now. Interest rates are at historic lows, prices have declined to 2000-01 levels in some markets, financing is available when the proper affordability conditions are in place, and the up-to-$8,000 tax credit provides a significant financial incentive to act before Dec. 1. First-timers could account for as many as half of the home sales in the U.S. this year. Investors, trying to take advantage of the same factors aside from the tax credit, will also play a large role.With so many homes in some form of distress, agents who close their eyes to short sales and bank-owned properties can't adequately serve these buyers. Ignore these options and you're left with "non-distressed" traditional listings, many of which are overpriced for today's market.Agents versed in distressed properties can serve buyers or sellers on both sides of the spectrum. If the traditional listing is the best fit, fine. But if the short-sale listing three doors down is a better bargain, the agent can just as skillfully pursue that option.This skill isn't important only in Florida, California and the other states hit hardest by foreclosures. In virtually any market, once you start looking for distressed properties, you'll see them all over. And once you've changed your mindset toward them, you'll recognize the opportunity they represent.
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