Throughout 2009 we’ve emphasized the importance of having your agents understand that real estate markets aren’t going to “return to normal” overnight. We’re glad that so many Associates within the network have agreed, opened their minds, and expanded their businesses into areas such as foreclosures, Short Sales and REOs. Like it or not, they realize that distressed properties are here to stay for a while, at least in the United States. By taking active steps to meet current and near-future conditions, they’re avoiding the “wait it out” mentality that spells the end of many careers.
As the leaders of your offices, you’ve helped guide your Associates to action, and you should feel good about that. A year ago, the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) course didn’t exist. Now, more than 8,900 RE/MAX Associates have earned the designation and learned how to help families avoid foreclosure. RE/MAX has many more CDPEs than anyone, and a growing number of individuals and institutions are recognizing our leadership in collective Short Sale skills. That means more business for RE/MAX Associates.
While CDPE covers the Short Sale process exhaustively, other RE/MAX University offerings delve deeper into the disposition of foreclosed and REO properties. We talked about several of them in the Oct. 7 Profit Lines (you candownload it after logging in to Mainstreet), but a new relationship with the Five Star Institute will virtually supercharge our strength in this area.
Five Star benefits extend far beyond the classroom. In addition to the nuts-and-bolts instruction that agents need to be viable, Five Star provides insight into what lenders and servicers want and expect from their real estate contacts. Associates will learn how to connect with default servicers, communicate in a way that projects value and proficiency, and establish relationships that keep them at the top of referral lists and generate real business.
Five Star education is a sign of credibility within the default servicing industry. That’s important enough on an individual basis, but even more so because RE/MAX International has spent a great deal of time talking to major lenders, asset management companies and government entities. These efforts are meant to generate listings for our offices and agents. To some extent it is happening already, and we’re anticipating an even greater stream of business in 2010.
To take part, Associates will need two things: (1) the skills and knowledge necessary to service the leads in a capable, professional manner, and (2) an updated Web Roster profile that lists all of the attributes they bring to the table. We cannot emphasize this point enough: If your Associates have taken classes, earned designations or gained experience in any aspect of the distressed property market, they absolutely must indicate so on their roster profiles. Our asset management partners will use this database to decide which agents are best qualified to handle leads. Most will set specific criteria and look for certain achievements they value. Ultimately, Associates who don’t display their distressed property skills, training and experience on their Web Roster profiles will be left out when the listings are being distributed.
We highlighted the Five Star offerings in the Mainstreet Link e-mail on Wednesday, Dec. 9, so your Associates have already been informed about them. But we’re hoping you see the tremendous value in this training and promote it in a personal way as well. Your Associates will learn about REOs, BPOs, lender expectations, default servicing, government initiatives, property preservation and more. Distressed property skills are more important than ever – high unemployment, Alt-A resets and overall economic sluggishness will add to the bank-owned inventory in 2010 and 2011. Agents look to you for leadership and guidance, and your endorsement of these training avenues will go a long way in convincing them to act.
First courses in January
The Five Star Institute was founded as a result of growing Realtor interest in the Five Star Convention that annually attracts interested lenders, default servicers, brokers and agents to Dallas. Its training leads to the Five Star Professional Designation (FSP). Five Star instructors traveled to Denver in November and December to conduct live sessions in the RE/MAX University studios, and those tapings constitute the initial portion of the RE/MAX package. The details: “Providing Broker Price Opinions” will air on RSN Jan. 12 (registration deadline is Jan. 6), “Short Sales From A to Z” will air Jan. 14 (register by Jan. 8), and “REO from A to Z” will air Feb. 11 (register by Feb. 5). Agents registering for these first broadcasts will pay just $175 for each class – a limited-time $100-per-course savings made possible by a subsidy from RE/MAX University. Each of the three classes, which can also be taken online, counts as one of five credits needed for the FSP designation.
Associates can earn the other two credits at a one-day “REO/Short Sale Summit” – developed specially for RE/MAX – on the eve of the 2010 RE/MAX International Convention. This is, quite simply, one of the most significant live training events we’ve ever produced. The Summit, on Sunday, Feb. 28 in Orlando, is a daylong session covering many topics and featuring Q&A sessions with experts from all sides of the process. Perhaps more importantly, participants will have a chance to meet and network with many asset managers and loan servicers in attendance. These people are directly responsible for deciding which agents receive referrals, so the ability to shake hands, say hello and plant the seeds of a relationship make the Summit an even better investment for agents to make. We hope you’ll encourage them to do so.
The aim of all this is straightforward: to help RE/MAX agents gain a dominant share of the foreclosure business that lies ahead, and in doing so, establish RE/MAX as the network of choice for default servicing professionals. RE/MAX Associates already lead the industry in many areas; there are very good reasons to lead in this one as well.
We want to remind you that Broker/Owners and Managers – at no cost except travel expenses – can get a tremendous refresher in recruiting, retention, management strategies and RE/MAX techniques through the monthly RE/MAX Management Training course in Denver.
The class, which you probably took when you first joined the network, has been completely revamped and updated to accommodate current Affiliates as well as our newest franchisees. What’s more, two RE/MAX superstars, Kathy Baker of North Carolina (recruiting) and Kim Hawkins of Colorado (office management), are presenting their very effective strategies each month.
Turnout in December was terrific, with more than 50 in attendance. This class would be a great way to start 2010, and spots are available in the January and February sessions. Contact Ashley Harriman at firstname.lastname@example.org 303-796-3872 for details.
Here’s another educational offering of note: Our friend David Knox, who has coached countless RE/MAX Associates over the years, has launched a subscription-based training site filled with videos and resources. The site, at http://realestatetrainingbydavidknox.com, went live in November. It features nearly 100 video clips, with more added monthly, and is a good way for Broker/Owners to deliver David’s unique brand of coaching to their Associates.
Prices start at $97 per month for offices of up 10 agents, with a sliding scale matching cost to agent count. (At 250 agents, the cost less than $2 per agent.) The account administrator may add users, delete users and track views. The site lends itself to both individual and group viewings. David is one of the industry’s top coaches and this site is definitely worth checking out.