REOPro - Real Estate Default Professionals

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Why Getting REO Training, Certification or Designation Doesn't Lead to Direct Business,

I read an old forum thread from a REOPro member from back on 1/8/2012 titled, "What is the best REO Certification to have?" and based on what I know about REO Training, I stopped to read. She goes on to ask more specifically, which "training" actually gets people business or a return on the investment.

As expected, many people stood up, and answered her question and for the most part, the respondents were either looking for an answer themselves or just simply said they got their first REO and didn't have a lick of training to boot.

This plays right in line with everything I have been saying about REO training for years now and that is, REO training doesn't equal ROI (Return on Investment) least directly, that is. Well, this maybe a bit confusing since, everyone out there offers training. Conferences have their training, banks have their training, outsourcers have their training and in fact, independent 3rd party real estate trainers have even come up with their own training. Everyone has training so, it has to have some value, right? Maybe not.

First thing to know about REO training is, everyone has a training program and they are a dime a dozen. Or at least $399.00 your first year and $199.00 every year after Seriously, it seems like you can go down the street to the local bakery, pick yourself up a dozen donuts, get your taxes done and oh...why not go ahead and pick up that REO designation you always wanted. With the hodgepodge of REO training out there, it seems everyone has one. It's more than an assumption, it's a fact, everyone has one so, how do you choose?

Now choosing a REO training program seems more the appropriate question here and I think, this is really at the heart of what Bonita wanted to know. This can be a bit tricky, so much REO training out there, the general agent who isn't in the know isn't going to know which ones to stay far away from. My point is, the question it's self tells me exactly what I need to know about your REO experience...not much? An experienced agent isn't going to ask about training because he will be so involved in the community, he is going to know which ones to steer clear from. If you have been paying attention to that last sentence, you will have noticed a key word, "involved". Involvement in this community of professionals is more than a couple forum threads and a blog or two. It's about knowing how this community works and who we have black balled. A lack of involvement is going to leave many people without any ROI and that is to be deserved. Trust me, some of us have paved the path before you where we have attended so and so's training just to write about it later to tell the world...DON'T GO! Staying involved in this network, know about how to query a search, becoming a regular reader......all of these things keep you in the know, keep you involved and as such, you can also steer clear from unscrupulous business solicitations., I guess I will jump off the soap box here and give you a bit more of a technical answer to the question, which certification gets you business.

Well, the short of the answer is, none of them do. You see, business in this business is obtained by developing relationships and getting to know people. In my time as a REO agent, I have worked for at least 4 different outsources and not a single time did I get my business by simply putting in an application and waiting to hear back. Yes, I put in an application, yes, I uploaded my E&O and all that stuff but, by doing that I wasn't granted a REO. In fact, I had to work harder and smarter. I got involved. I went to conferences, I shook a lot of hands, I had a few drinks, I told some dirty tasteless jokes (yes...I really did) I bought a few dinners.....I did the "conference" thing, I got involved. From there, people learned my story, the got an idea of who I was, how I worked, what type of dedication I had and that is exactly where education came into play.

Before I got my first REO, I had no REO experience so, the only thing I knew to do was to get an education. Like Bonita, I got on a local network and asked, "What is the best REO certification out there" and someone who would later become a colleague of mine wrote back, something to the effect that no "best" certification exist however, I have these 4 certifications myself. I thought to myself, 4 certifications....DAMN, that's a lot of money, money I didn't have at the time. So, sacrificing I did, coming up with the money, getting the certifications and boom, I had them. Oh, I felt so proud of myself, I was on top of the world, I just knew I was going to get some REO business now. Back at the conference, I was at a bar with some vendor managers for a major outsourcer who was surrounded by desperate agents like myself. The question, what training do we need to have came up and the answer was surprising to me. This gentleman stood up and said, "we don't care, just as long as you either have training or experience."

Training or experience....well, I had 4 certifications while most everyone else I was around had none or one. I pushed myself up to the front, told the man about the INVESTMENT, I had made in my education and impressed he was. I remember him saying to me, "are you sure you haven't worked for Fannie before".  I said no, I really don't have any experience and he said something like, I couldn't tell from talking to you. The point here is, yes....REO training is a dime a dozen and yes, REO isn't going to be booming forever but, it will always be here. No specific training is going to lead directly to a specific asset....well, it's highly unlikely however, it shows people one thing and that is, you are invested.

So, if I had to leave you with one thing to remember about training. It shows you are invested. If you remember nothing else, if you take training that sucks, if you pay too much, if you feel you got nothing in return, just remember, it shows the world, you are invested and that is worth something.....maybe much more than you will ever know.

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Comment by Windy Keefe on March 7, 2013 at 11:40am

Great write up!  I had to chime in because I am often asked about certifications too.  I agree with you that they do not equal listings but I do think the industry is starting to recognize the value of certifications a little more. These are the perks I see in getting REO certified.

1)  Just like you mentioned, it’s important to continue your education in this industry. This is a changing industry and you always want to stay on top of information and be the best in your business.

2)   If an asset manager has to choose between two experienced REO brokers and one has invested in certifications and the other has not, I’ve talked to many asset managers that say they would go for the one that has more education. This goes back to what you said that is shows you are invested in your REO business.

3)  Get the most out of a class. Taking a certification class is great way to network and start building relationships.  There’s a different dynamic when you meet people in person. Also, make sure that certification is listed on your bio, your website, your profile, and everything you are advertising on. You spent good money on it and you want to advertise it.

I would approach certifications as a learning tool. I would recommend doing some research before signing up for a course.   Using sites like this one and even calling a few brokers to see if they learned valuable information from the certification course can help make sure you are taking the right class.


Thanks for helping the industry Jesse!


Windy Keefe

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