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Help Your Clients Invest in Real Estate: Earn the Real Estate Investment Advisor Designation

Apr 20, 2014

Posted by

Ken Holman

Kenneth T. Holman is president of Overland Group, RE/MAX Overland, and the National Association of Real Estate Investment Advisors. For more than 30 years, Mr. Holman has had extensive experience in t Read more

Even before I started my own real estate syndication company in 1978, I was a huge advocate of professional education. In fact, after I received my MBA at the University of Utah, I attended the University of Idaho Law School only to better understand legalese and further my education. Knowledge is a necessity when working with corporate clients and serious commercial investors.

My company, Overland Group, Inc., develops, constructs, finances and acquires real estate that is leased to Fortune 500 National Credit Tenants, including Family Dollar, Dollar General, Big Lots and O’Reilly Auto Parts.

When I founded Overland Group in 1978, I envisioned an organization that would support all aspects of real estate, including investment and education. One of my primary missions in life was and is to educate real estate investors and defend their ability to invest in real estate. In 2012, I founded the National Association of Real Estate Investment Advisors (NAREIA) for the purpose of sharing my experience by educating real estate professionals about investing in both commercial and residential real estate. I was finally able to use my experience to educate others about real estate. My dreams had come to fruition.

Our Courses

NAREIA offers three courses that cover the gamut of real estate investing, including commercial real estate investing, residential real estate investing and using self-directed retirement accounts for investing in real estate. Every time we teach the classes, we receive rave reviews from our students

“I loved these classes and have completed all three of them. I highly recommend them to anyone who is serious about advising others on investing in real estate,” said Adam Willis, a REALTOR with Equity Real Estate in Clearfield, Utah.

REIA 101: Residential Real Estate Investing is designed to help real estate professionals become the experts in the real estate industry. During REIA 101, students learn how to help clients find, analyze, negotiate and purchase income-producing properties. Students can also use these tools to build their own portfolios and personal wealth.

REIA 201: Commercial Real Estate Investing introduces students to the commercial real estate market and helps them to assemble an understanding of the investment opportunities in commercial real estate. Students evaluate and analyze commercial real estate investments. Agents are encouraged to use these tools to build their own portfolios and personal wealth.

Bob Poole, a Realtor with Equity Real Estate-Advantage in Sandy, Utah, specializing in residential and commercial real estate sales and investments, said of REIA 201, “One of the best presentations I’ve ever attended!” 

REIA 301: Investing in Real Estate Using Self-Directed Retirement Accounts is designed to help real estate professionals compete with other financial advisers for investment capital. During this course, students learn what real estate investments qualify for retirement accounts, about the best custodians to handle self-directed accounts and how to invest in real estate using self-directed IRAs and individual 401k accounts. Students can use these tools to build their own portfolios and personal wealth.

“The REIA 301 class should be a core-class requisite for all real estate licensing programs nationwide. The content is fundamental to understanding real estate investment or real estate syndication,” said Randy Norton, managing partner and head of Investments and Research for National Capital Partners, a Real Estate Operating Company targeting institutional-grade commercial and residential real estate assets. “The REIA courses succinctly synthesize otherwise complex investments.”

Students who complete all three courses earn the Real Estate Investment Advisor (REIA) Designation. The REIA Designation sets real estate professionals apart from others in the industry by giving them specialized training in real estate investing.

“NAREIA will increase the sophistication of Realtors and investors by teaching advanced real estate metrics and other methods to invest self-directed retirement funds,” said Norton. “Clarity in this transactional specialization is long overdue for real estate professionals.”                                                                                                            

In addition, NAREIA is working with the Salt Lake Board of Realtors in Utah to prepare an educational program for real estate professionals who are interested in learning more about commercial real estate. This program is being developed in 2014 and will include 18, three-hour courses covering all facets of commercial. The courses will be made available to agents throughout the United States.

New Commercial Designations

We are currently developing two additional designations that will be available in 2014 for real estate agents aspiring to qualify to sell commercial real estate: the Certified Commercial Specialist (CCS) and the Certified Commercial Broker (CCB). Completion of the CCS or CCB programs will include six, three-hour required courses and six, three-hour elective courses. The only difference between the two designations will be whether or not the student is a licensed real estate agent or a licensed real estate broker.

The CCS/CCB program teaches agents/brokers about commercial real estate brokerage while the REIA program teaches agents/brokers about real estate investing. Both designations are relevant when it comes to being a top real estate professional.

To date, NAREIA has been approved to teach its continuing education courses in 10 states: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. NAREIA courses will be available online starting in 2015.

All licensed real estate professionals are qualified to enroll in the REIA courses. Courses can be taken in any order. Those striving to attain the REIA Designation will automatically become REIA Candidates. To receive the REIA Designation, students must successfully complete all three courses, including REIA 101, REIA 201 and REIA 301 and pay annual membership dues of $195 per year.


In addition to the training that leads to the REIA Designation, the organization maintains a website that includes both public-facing information and a member-only section. A blog section on the site provides up-to-date commentary from members as well as ongoing advice and tips from industry experts. The site includes a downloadable, monthly newsletter that can be personalized and sent to clients and prospects.

Learn more about the REIA Designation at Membership in NAREIA is $195 per year. Courses vary in cost from $75 to $195. Candidates and Designees receive discounted pricing for the courses.