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Get to Know Maggie

Why use a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert? Better yet… why me?

Tell me a little bit about your professional background. When did you start real estate?

I got hooked on real estate with the first home I ever bought in 1988. I still recall the utter fear when buying my first home and the great experience I had when working with my Realtor®.

Through my life, I had several different jobs and ran a small business and eventually, was privileged to be able to remain at home to raise my children. I waited 18 years before pursuing my dream – which was real estate. I chose this career path because, simply put, there’s nothing better to me than working with people. I love the whole process of buying and selling a home!

I waited 18 years before pursuing my dream.

What is a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert?

We are extensively trained to understand the family law legal process as well as divorce lending guidelines. This allows us to remain professional neutral third parties while supporting the divorcing couple. We are taught to maintain open lines of communication, to enforce our Code of Ethics which is higher than industry standards, and to take a consultative approach to explaining options related to real estate holdings. Every divorcing couple is ensured the best possible outcome when untangling the legal, financial, and emotional ties to their house.

What kind of training makes you different from the Realtor® I used when we bought our home?

More than 99% of Realtors® have no specialized training in divorce. A Realtor® who does not understand the dynamics and sensitivities going on in divorce can escalate conflict, essentially “pouring salt into emotional wounds” by not understanding the importance of communication and neutrality.

A CDRE™ receives 50 hours of divorce and real estate education and curriculum taught by a specialized faculty which consists of judges and attorneys, plus 12 weeks of online classes, and an additional year of learning labs and online training. This program is only available to Realtors® who have proven their expertise in real estate and only the top 5% of Realtors® who seek to become a student are accepted into the program.

I have a family friend who is a Realtor® – can she handle our divorce sale?

Divorce listings are some of the most complex listings a Realtor® will encounter in their career. A standard real estate listing is usually by choice and the homeowners have a common motivation, while a divorce listing involves two parties who may not see eye-to-eye, and whose motivations often differ – the conflict is high and decisions are being made that are often not first choice. In addition, a legal process is going on and the sale of the house is under the jurisdiction of the court, making divorce real estate a different ballgame than any other type of real estate transaction. The proceeds from the house are used to fund the future of the divorcing couple and in this circumstance, every penny often counts.

The cost of hiring an untrained Realtor® can run in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Why you?

Divorce listings are some of the most complicated listings we deal with in our field. I have been extensively trained as a court-appointed Realtor® in family law cases to list and sell the home. Just like other experts you may deal with, I am an expert hired for the real estate portion of your family law case. I am trained to remain neutral and unbiased, and can minimize the chaos and costs when helping a couple in the sale of their biggest asset.

Is it likely that using you as an expert will cost me more than using another (untrained) Realtor®?

A CDRE™ understands the legal process, including when to involve the attorneys and the court. Having this knowledge can save time and minimize attorney fees and court costs.

Why did you decide to do this?

I personally know the journey of divorce – the uncertainties and the need to feel safe. I understand losing “normal” and the need to be heard. I’m here to serve re-forming families in a fair and neutral manner, protecting their biggest asset from the emotional and financial costs of divorce. I’ve seen first-hand how difficult it is for the untrained Realtor® to effectively manage the sale of a distressed home and I knew there had to be a better way.

I pursued this designation with my whole heart and am proud to say that I am the first Realtor® in Canada to receive this prestigious designation

Where do you even go to learn about this type of real estate?

Sometimes in life you meet someone who knows exactly who you need to know to change your life. It was purely by coincidence that I was researching the education and skill set needed to help divorcing families, when someone who knew someone introduced me to Laurel Starks, founder of the Ilumni Institute (formerly Divorce Real Estate Institute) in Southern California. Laurel interviewed with me and realized that I had what was needed to enroll in their Master Course.

“[We] could not be more proud to have you take on the Canadian frontier! Your commitment to raising the bar in real estate and family law is impressive, and the future of Canadian families will be better because of you. The path to becoming a CDRE is no easy task… for anyone who isn’t familiar with our program, each student must meet our stringent production requirements, submit an application, essay, letters of recommendation, maintain a flawless discipline record, and undergo a lengthy interview process. Once approved for our program, a 40-hour course with intense curriculum is held in southern California, taught by our family law professional faculty, including a day in court, followed by a year of additional learning online, ranging from complex real estate transactions, to family law processes, testifying as an expert witness, mediation and handling high conflict emotional training. You have done it all, and we are honoured to have you in our Circle.” – Laurel Starks – Ilumni Institute Founder & President

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