Academic boost for real estate professionals

Demand for continuing education prompts launch of Real Property Investment Certificate
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
By Edward Byers

Canadian real estate professionals now have a classroom-based learning and networking option as they pursue career growth. The newly launched Real Property Investment Certificate (RPIC), offered by the Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac), is a six-course program responding to the industry’s demand for comprehensive continuing education.

“Canadian real estate companies need a cost-effective way to train their people and ensure those making real estate decisions have a baseline of knowledge to make the best decisions,” observes Michael Brooks, REALpac’s CEO. “The Real Property Investment Certificate will facilitate and fast-track professionals who are transitioning into new roles, enabling effective succession planning and ensuring baseline knowledge for all staff.”

Candidates for the certificate must complete four mandatory core courses and two electives, for a total of 96 hours of intensive exposure to commercial real estate fundamentals through a mix of lectures, case studies and guest speakers. Students working in a range of different disciplines within the industry – finance, management, brokerage services, etc. – will also have an opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other in  a structured setting with expert guidance.

Course instructors are drawn from industry professionals applying their own practical knowledge gleaned from exposure to tested standards and innovative practices at leading companies. They will explore theories behind decision making and the interrelated nature of disciplines such as valuation, finance and investment, law, capital markets, leasing, lending, sustainability, asset management and development.

For example, real estate capital markets have evolved over the past 15 years to include more sophisticated and diverse capital structures and investment opportunities in private and public markets, with institutional ownership taking on an increasing presence in the marketplace. The capital markets and investing course — one of the four mandatory credits — will focus on various ways of raising capital across the real estate sector, REIT vs. corporate structures, the IPO process, related valuation and performance measurement concepts in the public markets, and current issues facing the capital markets with a focus on governance.

Three other core courses: introduce tools and refine concepts and techniques that will improve investment, financing and risk management decisions; offer a practical understanding of valuation methodologies and techniques in the context of all major asset classes; and examine the many facets of real estate law underpinning purchase agreements, leases, construction contracts, loan documents and development agreements. Meanwhile, the choice of five elective courses drill deeper into business areas such as commercial lending, asset management, development, leasing and sustainability.

“It’s a fulsome, cost-effective, time-sensitive curriculum in a country that lacks a Master’s degree program specifically devoted to commercial real estate and has few MBAs with a real estate specialization.” Brooks says. “REALpac’s longstanding relationship with the industry allows a top-tier selection of leaders to develop curriculum that responds to the skills and knowledge needed to perform in each of the respective disciplines. The main goal is to cultivate well-rounded professionals by offering cross-competency integration.”

Enrollees have up to five years to complete six required credits. Each of the two-day courses will be offered at least once yearly, with some at more regular intervals depending on demand.

Courses are also aligned with professional development in other accrediting associations and may be used for continuing education credits through BOMI International, the Appraisal Institute of Canada, the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals, the Canadian Institute of Professional Planners and RICS, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Edward Byers is manager of professional development and events with REALpac.

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