Comments (11)

Feb 9, 2015

They hold very little weight. I've been in the industry for 5+ years and have never even heard of CRI. If you're on the finance side of the business then I'd say that CFA would probably be the most meaningful, but also the hardest to attain. I don't think not having any designations would be a huge detriment for your career.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Jun 9, 2016

CFA not useful in real estate and I have not been impressed by CFAs in real estate -- they don't learn about real estate really. CAIA would be somewhat better as it has probably 25% real estate in the coursework. I have my Associate CRI -- hard exam (I was sweating at the end even with years of experience) but was great as refresher for topics I had not looked at for years after going to real estate school. Far more practical than CFA. The program needs a lot of work (prep materials non-existent -- you actually have to learn the stuff rather than prepping for "the exam") but Mortgage Bankers Association has taken the lead on the testing so I hope it gets better. Currently doing Level 2 studying. CCIM is kind of a joke from a rigor standpoint...good for broker networking I hear only. Look at their classes and products you can buy from them...basic basic stuff.

Jun 21, 2016
KramerTheAssMan:

They hold very little weight. I've been in the industry for 5+ years and have never even heard of CRI. If you're on the finance side of the business then I'd say that CFA would probably be the most meaningful, but also the hardest to attain. I don't think not having any designations would be a huge detriment for your career.

I've never heard of CRI either, but CCIM is certainly noticeable. Problem is, by the time you qualify, you are already an established professional.

Feb 9, 2015

I don't think that real estate is really a certifications game. I've rarely (not never, but rarely) found hard-and-fast designations to be a requirement for a job. Often you'll see a job that PREFERS someone with an MBA or master's degree (full disclosure: I'm in a real estate master's program currently), or sometimes you'll see a preference for the CCIM for certain roles. But it's relatively rare to see roles that require certain designations. I would say having a real estate license is important for a handful of good roles, but usually companies will say that you simply have to get the license within x number of months.

In general, property management is really the only designation-centered field in real estate. I suppose that at, say, Wells Fargo Private Wealth management, which has a real estate investment management team, the CFA charter might be nice to have, but that's a very, very narrow field. I've seen a handful of signatures on incoming emails with CFA designations, but those are few and far between. Also, most real estate groups employ a CPA or CPAs for their financial management, but that's really an entirely separate career.

In general (and this is a generalized statement with many exceptions), advancement in this field (excluding entrepreneurship) is highly dependent on prior work experience and actual skills. I'm in my current role because I worked at another firm that services my current firm, in a role that was highly relevant to the business in which I currently work. I was in my prior role because I was in a role prior which was highly relevant to the job that gave me certain needed skills. And the building blocks go back beyond that.

Feb 9, 2015

Thank you for the responses. The question came about because my firm generally pushes for additional designations. I was leaning towards CCIM over CFA, if I do anything, but it is all still up in the air.

Feb 9, 2015

Keep in mind that it takes significant time for both of those certifications. Especially CCIM if you're on the 5 year portfolio track. If they're designation centric(dumb, but...) you may find something like LEED worth your while depending on your role and what you plan on doing later on, especially if you're interested in something like development in the future. Plus if they're looking for you to get something sooner than later it takes a helluva lot less than 5 years so you have something other than CCIM candidate or CFA Level I next to your name(don't think that's right for CFA, but you get the idea).

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Jun 9, 2016

CRI is "Chartered Realty Investor," not "Certified."

Jun 20, 2016

The CRI curriculum includes both asset-level and fund-level analysis whereas the CCIM is only at the asset-level. Go the CRI webpage and they do a good comparison of topics covered among related designations (CCIM, CFA, etc.) The CFA covers only a fraction of Real Estate topics.

Jun 21, 2016

CRI sounds like something that could be interesting to study, but I've never seen this designation anywhere. IMO CFA will teach you more how to think, but as many have already said it application to real estate is limited. I disagree that it's worthless, I've passed level I only and had in brought up in many interviews how many candidates they've seen that can't get past Level I. That said I also haven't found it useful enough to put in the dedication to pass Level II. I'd say it's less than 10% of analyst/associate jobs that require/prefer a CFA, probably even less at the VP/Director level, but you're also competing with far fewer candidates for firms that do truly care about it.

Last time I took the level II exam there were no more than a handful of real estate questions. To show you how little real estate it involves the institute teaches NOI=Income-OpEx-Reserves. I've never seen any operator take reserves above the line except in hospitality.

Even the MAI is a bit of a joke these days, you basically just take a course where they give you the info for your demo.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Jul 3, 2016

Sorry if I was unclear as I never would say anything educational pursuit is useless. Any effort to expand one's thinking is always a great thing. CFA will certainly expose you to things and you can choose to expand the concepts (if you focus on "learning how to think" rather than just "passing exams") to real estate in places. It is always about how you decide to apply what you learn. But I would suggest CRI far more than CFA will teach that for real estate, especially since you won't have multiple prep programs teaching you to pass the CRI tests rather than actually learning the material and learning how to think. You really have to know practical (and also "academic") real estate finance to pass the CRI. Too many CFAs appear to me to have been prepped to pass each exam and I am not sure how much they really had time to actually "absorb" concepts permanently. The curriculum just seems to be so broad...as if broad, theoretical "finance" concepts can be applied directly to any finance job: real estate, mutual funds, bonds, anything. I would argue that is the problem with finance - treating it like it is all just numbers and what you are financing is less important. That's why I like CRI...Level 1 is all about the property level (the real estate, the law, etc.) and Level 2 is all about the portfolio / Asset Management and capital markets connected to the real estate. My main hope is that CRI eventually also takes on private equity real estate (like CAIA), which it doesn't have now and needs to expand its appeal. It needs a larger dose of accounting/tax and needs partnership / waterfall sections.

  • Anonymous Monkey
  •  Jul 3, 2016
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