News from the Chicago Chapter

Perspectives on Earning Dual IREM Designations: Tim Kramer, CPM®, ARM®, Property Operations Specialist, Draper and Kramer, Incorporated

Posted by [email protected] on 09/09/2018 2:13 pm  

What were the key factors that prompted you to pursue and earn a second IREM professional designation?

The ARM® designation is traditionally earned first and requires a solid demonstration of residential management fundamentals.  It is a great first step and a very worthy designation to obtain.  The CPM® designation is really the gold standard of professional designations in the property management industry.  To earn the CPM is not easy.  It is that difficulty, alone, that makes it worth pursuing.  To earn the CPM one must demonstrate a very high level of property management experience that includes a full understanding of why real estate is an investment and how to meet the goals and objectives of the owners of investment real estate -- whether the asset be residential, commercial, or industrial.  Besides the practical knowledge, there also is demonstrating a commitment to very high ethical standards that comes along with earning the ARM or the CPM.  In fact, earning the CPM also allows that individual to teach the Ethics for the Real Estate Manager course that is required of anyone seeking the ARM, ACoM, or the CPM.

What were some of the challenges you faced in balancing work and earning the second designation?

There is a significant time commitment required when working towards the CPM designation.  I believe there are some nine classes that are required in order to sit for the CPM exam.  They are all intense and require the full attention of the candidate in order to pass successfully.  Because of that, I chose to attend these classes in person.  They are also available in an on-line format.  Either method requires the ability to make the time and be free of distractions.  So, while taking the classes, I basically put all extra-cirricular activities on hold.  My days were spent at work or in class and my evenings were spent studying.  It was very much like going to graduate school.

Did your employer provide inspiration and support?  If so, please explain.

I am so fortunate to have an employer that supports IREM 100%.  It would have been a much tougher road to hoe had it not been for the universal support received from all of my co-workers.  They see the value in what is learned while earning these designations.  I never had to negotiate for time-away from the office if I needed it to take a class.  All throughout the process, I received encouragement when I did well and a gentle nudge when I needed inspiration; in general, I was supported throughout the process. 

Commercial properties across most asset classes are being redeveloped today to meet new tenant uses and demands. Will earning the second IREM designation make you better prepared to manage these “hybrid” properties?

Certainly!  Earning the CPM designation involves some cross-training in other property types.  Mixed-use properties are very prevalent in our marketplace.  A manager has to understand the differences between the property types and how to ensure that the owner’s goals are being met by each.

Earning a second designation demonstrates a great commitment to yourself, the profession, tenants and your company. Please share other benefits or insight.

I hear people all the time making excuses for not proceeding with their CPM designation.  “All I need is the ARM, so I’ll never need the CPM,” some say. Well, guess what?  You never know what your future holds.  There are countless circumstances that could arise resulting in something other than residential properties for you.  Your residential property could be sold and the only other available position is at a shopping center or as a Regional Manager.  Earning the CPM not only makes you a better manager, it makes you a more versatile manager.