Bogus Real Estate Designations

I’m about to commit real estate sacrilege. Oh, yeah, I do that regularly. Well, this might be perceived as worse than usual since I am going to bash the sacred CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) designation, which is positioned by the real estate industry as a very prestigious designation.

You see, we keep our eyes open for worthwhile real estate training. The only problem is that we rarely find anything that looks interesting and even if we do it ends up being pretty lame 9 times out of 10. Usually it’s fairly superficial or just a rehash of what we learned in our initial licensing course. Nevertheless, I had great expectations for the CRS program because it is so highly regarded but then we received an email promoting the program that really turned me off.

Really, the only problem I had with the program was the program. Here is a verbatim summary of classes and the topics covered in the current program offered by one of the local real estate associations:

Business Planning & Marketing (2 core units)

  • Business plan development
  • Prospecting techniques
  • Budgeting and cost analysis
  • Personal promotion techniques

Wealth Building (2 core units)

  • Indentifying [sic] money – making opportunities [investing in real estate]
  • Comparing potential investment opportunities
  • Retirement planning and investing
  • Calculating initial investment to rate of return

Marketing with Microsoft (1 elective unit)

  • Maximize the effectiveness of e-mail by utilizing
    more features.
  • Maintain your customer database in Outlook along
    with their e-mail correspondence
  • Establish recurring contacts for birthdays and
  • Create a prospecting system a year in advance
  • Provide financial information worksheets for buyers
    and sellers to make better decisions
  • Maintain a single calendar and address list on both
    their computer and PDA
  • Reduce your marketing costs with the HTML mail
    features of Word and Excel
  • Transfer your database to Outlook without retyping
    the names
  • Identify more time in your week to work with buyers
    and sellers
  • Develop multimedia presentations for buyers and
    sellers, and a pre-listing package

Here are examples of some of the other courses offered at other times:

  • Building an Exceptional Customer Service Referral Business (2 core units)
  • Technologies to Advance Your Business (2 core units)
  • Maximize Your Potential…Personally and Professionally (1 core unit)
  • Personal Skills for Professional Excellence (1 elective unit)

Do you see the problem here? Most of this stuff has very little to do with the real estate transaction and everything to do with building a real estate business. Granted, there are other courses offered that have plenty to do with the transaction such as:

  • Mastering the Art of Selling New Homes
  • Listing Strategies
  • Financing and Tax Advantages for Agents and Their Clients

and I’m willing to try these courses when they are offered. However, it’s possible to meet the education requirements for the designation without ever taking a course that has anything to do with real estate transactions. And judging from my experience with other real estate courses I’ve taken it looks like the transaction focused courses might simply be further rehashes of the licensing material. As with most of what the real estate industry does, I think this designation is just another way to justify high commissions.

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