How to become a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE) and have attorneys send you divorce listings

Preview for podcast episode: Divorce Real Estate Agent training with Laurel Starks

Learn how to get certified in divorce real estate and why CDREs get leads and listing from divorce attorneys.

In this Ask The Expert episode of Estate Professionals Mastermind, you’ll learn why Certified Divorce Real Estate Experts (CDRE designation) get more listings and are the most trusted real estate agents in the family law space – winning appointments from both judges and divorce attorneys alike.

Laurel Starks, Ilumni Institute Founder & CEO and court-appointed divorce real estate expert, joins Chad Corbett for a one-on-one Ask the Expert on how to earn divorce listings as a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert. Topics include: how Laurel became her market’s preferred divorce listing agent; how agents network with divorce attorneys for referrals; and what makes probate and divorce leads so similar and different at the same time.

Want to become a divorce real estate agent? Take advantage of this $500 savings from Ilumni Institute and earn your Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert designation.

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Interested in becoming a Certified Probate Expert? The Probate Mastery course is designed to get you on probate appointments as soon as this week, with ongoing coaching every Tuesday to walk you through deals and scenarios

Basics of Divorce Real Estate Certification

Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, and one major area of concern is often the division of assets, including real estate. A Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE) is a real estate professional who has received specialized training in the unique challenges and considerations involved in divorce real estate transactions. Before we dive into the podcast episode, let’s cover a few basics of the CDRE certification, including whether it’s worth the investment and how much it costs. We’ll also discuss whether a divorce real estate certification can lead to a higher income for real estate professionals.

What is a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE)?

A Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE) is a real estate professional who has received specialized training in order to provide assistance to divorcing couples. CDREs help clients understand the financial and legal implications of their property division, as well as how to balance those considerations with emotional factors. They can also provide guidance on market trends, housing values, mortgages and tax considerations that may affect their divorce settlement.

Is a Realtor Divorce Certification Worth the Investment

Obtaining a Realtor divorce certification can be beneficial for both real estate agents and clients. For agents, the certification provides an opportunity to become more knowledgeable in this niche area of the market, giving them a competitive skillset and confidence in the quality of service they can offer. Helpful tools. For clients, having an agent that specializes in real estate related to divorces can make the process easier and less stressful. With this specialized knowledge, it is possible to figure out any real estate needs associated with a divorce.

How much does a real estate divorce training course cost?

The cost of divorce specialist training varies depending on the type, duration, and location of the course. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $3,000 for a comprehensive divorce specialist certification program.

The Ilumni Institute offers a free online community, a Divorce Niche Bootcamp priced at $275, and a 12-week CDRE Certification course for $5,000. The intensity of the programs varies and all are available online. You can also take advantage of this $500 savings from Ilumni Institute.

Does a divorce real estate certification pay well?

Yes, a divorce real estate certification can pay well. The exact salary varies by market location and experience level, but a certified divorce real estate specialist can earn an excellent income in the range of $50,000 to $150,000 per year to start. Additionally, divorce real estate agents can justify charging higher commission rates because of their skillset, and can typically add multiple transactions a year as they become more known as the local divorce expert. This means they can become an above-average earner in the real estate space with relative ease.

EPISODE SEGMENTS: Divorce Real Estate Ask The Expert

0:00 Welcoming Laurel Starks of Ilumni Institute, Certified Divorce Real Estate Training

1:19 Choosing a real estate niche: Probate vs. Divorce real estate niche

5:12 How I became a divorce listing agent and pursued education

8:06 Handling divorce real estate objections when one party won’t agree to sell

9:45 Learning to handle tricky divorce real estate situations as a real estate agent

11:15 How real estate agents can network with divorce attorneys for better referral business.

16:53 How to become a divorce real estate agent and how to find divorce real estate leads

21:46 Why divorce listings are different from other real estate leads (Incarceration, alimony, restraining orders, and more)

23:55 CDRE Divorce Real Estate course and continuing education with Ilumni Institute

28:22 The Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert Community32:29 Probate and divorce real estate leads: Why you should build relationships with attorneys to earn divorce leads

Photo and bio for Laurel Starks, Ilumni Insitute Founder & CEO

Pioneering continuing education in the divorce real estate space

So many members of the Estate Professionals Mastermind community have expressed interest in education and training in divorce real estate. Laurel Stark’s experience, dedication, and mindset are the perfect match for real estate agents who are looking to take a value-first approach to build a new pillar of business through divorce leads and listings. Most importantly, Laurel and her team at Ilumni Institute understand the incredible opportunity in networking and community and are striving constantly to bring more knowledge and support in one place.

We encourage you to check out the growing community of divorce attorneys, real estate agents, and related professionals in the family law space so you can learn and share with like-minded people. Join Divorce Real Estate & Lending Mastermind on Facebook

Interested in becoming a divorce real estate agent? Take advantage of this $500 savings towards your Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert education through Ilumni Institute.

Chad Corbett and Laurel Starks discussing divorce real estate on Estate Professionals Mastermind podcast
Chad Corbett and Laurel Starks discussing divorce real estate for the Estate Professionals Mastermind show

Episode Transcript – How to become a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert and earn divorce listings from attorneys

Welcoming Laurel Starks of Ilumni Institute, Divorce Real Estate Education [00:00:00] 

Chad Corbett: Welcome everybody. My name’s Chad Corbett. I’m the founder of the Magnum Opus project and Probate Mastery. And this is part of our Ask the Expert real estate podcast series. 

Today I’m very excited about our guest Laurel Starks, who is a very accomplished real estate specialist in the divorce space, as well as you can see over her shoulder she’s an accomplished author, a course creator, and many other things, and excited to introduce Laurel to the community because on her side, she’s built the Ilumni Institute, which is very similar to where we’re headed and the methodologies we use in probate real estate, applying to other niches. She’s already built that in the divorce real estate niche. And over time people are like, when are you gonna have a divorce course?

When are we going to have divorce designations? And rather than me trying to reinvent the wheel, I said, what if we found the nation’s top expert in this? We’re going to talk about what the Ilumni Institute is, what expertise and training they offer. If you’re interested in exploring the divorce space, or if you’ve already had a few deals and you want to commit to it, how do you take that to the next level like you as we do here in probate mastery.

So Laurel Starks, 

Laurel Starks: I am so excited to be here. Thank you, Chad. And we’ve got so much in common, so much overlap. And, you know, I get the same thing. They, I get a lot of people that say, well, are you going to do probate or is this going to prepare me for probate?

Choosing a real estate niche: Probate vs. Divorce Niche [00:01:19] 

Laurel Starks: And, you know, I think when you’re knee-deep into the divorce niche or in the probate niche like the outward appearance is that they’re very related. That you do one, you do the other when you get inside, they’re very different.

 There are some similarities with the approach and whatnot, but the actual practice of actually building a probate leg of your business, or building a divorce leg of your business. Each one is. Very unique and requires dedication. 

Chad Corbett: Yeah, Jason Drees is a friend of mine and he’s in my mastermind.

And he had a post a couple of weeks ago that, was a bold statement that you don’t choose a niche, your niche will choose you. I’m like BAM! I mean, talk about an impactful statement for people like us. You know, I never dreamt when I was being recruited by the FBI and then walking away from that and coming into real estate and then building my first little real estate team, I didn’t have a vision of being the nation’s leading probate expert in the real estate space.

 And I think that you’ve found the same calling as the divorce real estate niche found you. And I’d like to start there, like, what got you here? Cause I think it’s important. Some people can watch us here being so excited, having these conversations at a high level, and be like, oh, I can never do that.

But the barrier to entry is so low in these types of real estate niches because it takes a person like you. If you’re watching this, we can pretty much assume you’re here because you’ve got a benevolent streak at least; you connect with the message of ‘provide value first’ and doing work that other people are unwilling or not strong enough to do.

So I think that connecting with Laurel’s story will, will be a good, good place to start with this audience. So tell us, tell us what brought you here today. 

Laurel Starks: Everything you said, I echo. So let me rattle off a few little MythBusters. Number one, I’ve never been divorced. I am happily married. We are celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary in May.

I am not a child of divorce. My parents are in April. They’re going. Celebrating their 57th, I think anniversary or I do the math. If I do the math correctly No one in my family has been divorced with the exception of my grandmother who got divorced at a time when divorce wasn’t a thing. So I do not come to this niche from that perspective.

A lot of people, a lot of our students do. They have been through the system themselves, they have seen firsthand how broken the system is. A lot of people come through the door from that perspective, which is a great perspective. It’s a, it’s a perspective I didn’t have. So I certainly invite everyone who has gone through that. It’s a great experience to have. I am not a lawyer. I do not have a law degree. I graduated high school. I’m a native of Florida and go Seminoles! And I came out to California to go to school; majored in sociology, minored in PoliSci. And I waited tables during school.

Then, after I graduated. I got a job as a flight attendant. So I flew as a domestic and international flight attendant for 10 years. Somewhere along the way, I got married and then I had two kids and I was still flying. And when the boys were little I decided that I didn’t want to be gone you know, flying international or flying at all during all of their life, you know, milestone moments.

So I hung up my wings and then got into real estate. What do you do when you stop flying? I mean, you get into real estate for whatever reason, it tends to be a thing.

How I became a divorce listing agent and pursued education [00:04:55] 

Laurel Starks: I got my real estate license I took Brian Buffini, that was the first thing I did. My, real estate license wasn’t even dry.

And I went through Brian Buffini. I went to one of his conferences and was completely struck by I loved it. 

Chad Corbett: And the handwritten thank you cards.

Laurel Starks: I am a deadbeat handwritten note card addict. So I love the idea. I would love to tell you the right answer, which is yes. I write 10 a day. The reality is I’ve got a whole stack of them that have collected dust on my desk.

And I swear, I’m going to get back to doing it much better. But I love the concept. I love the concept and I did do it in the past. Thanks for the reminder. So but I love the idea of a referral-based business. And so then I got me, I got my first listing through an open house that kind of crashed and burned.

It was the quintessential rookie nightmare listing and they fired me. It was overpriced, whatever went down in flames. And then I got a call from a friend of ours. Who’s a divorce attorney and he called me and he said, Laurel, I’m on my way. Home from the court, or way back to the office, rather from the court.

And I’ve got you on a divorce case. And I like didn’t even know what that meant. He said it means that the courts appointed you to be the divorce listing agent. Let me also say I was a student of the real estate industry. So I’m the girl who shows up to every single class that’s offered. And I sat in the front row.

Before I could be on, an airplane and work on a plane. I had to go to seven weeks of training. I was sequestered in a training facility and we had to learn all the ins and outs of an airplane and evacuation and all of the emergency protocols and everything before we were ever allowed to work a flight.

And so. that’s kind of how my mind works. I need to understand what I’m doing. Selling a house is a really big deal. I mean, it’s somebody’s biggest asset. And for that to be in my hands, I had to feel confident about what I was doing. I love to learn I’m a student. So I felt confident in what I knew, even though I didn’t have the experience.

So then he had me appointed to this case. While I was on the phone with him, I got another call and it was from his client who was on her way, home from court and said my name is Esther Saldonya I need to list and sell my house, need to be out of here in 30 days because my son has to start school in Oregon in a month.

So I need you to come over right now and we need to list the house and get it sold. So I go over to her house and the house was in all kinds of disarray. It had, there was a lot of damage done to the house. She had had a flood, a pipe leak. She wasn’t able to fix it. She didn’t have the money. And then she sat down for three hours and told me all the gory details of her marriage divorce, the abuse, the restraining order. He wasn’t paying support, so she didn’t have the money to fix the house up. She told me that he was not going to cooperate. So then and this was very interesting to me. I mean, I was like this, isn’t what they teach. They didn’t teach this at Buffini.

Handling divorce real estate objections [00:08:06] 

Laurel Starks: They didn’t teach this in any of the classes that I sat in so I contacted him, the husband, and he told me that hell will freeze over before he’s gonna ever sign any of my paperwork and to lose his number. He’s never talking to me again. And so sure enough, he was true to his word. He didn’t.

So how do you sell a house when you’ve got one client who refuses to speak with you? And there’s a restraining order against him as well? And then you’ve got this other client that is one foot out the door of the house, needs to sell. And then there’s this court order, like what do you even do?

So there was no education. I, I surely thought if I went to NAR, if I went to my company, my brokerage, there would be courses online, something, nothing. I worked through it. And I found myself on a witness stand a few weeks later telling a judge that for me to sell the house, I need signatures and you know, I had documented everything that the husband had done or not done, and my attempts to get him to cooperate.

And then the judge appointed someone to sign all paperwork on his I thought I kind of had a dud listing cause I was like, well, I can’t move forward cause he’s not working. And then lo and behold, the judge says, well, we’ll just have a court elisor sign all the paperwork. So Mrs. Starks, whenever you need to have his signatures, just go down to the clerk’s office downstairs and they will sign on his behalf and I was like blown away.

Wow. We did get it. Esther Soldanya is she’s in my book. She’s my Facebook friend. All these years later you know, it’s, it’s kinda cool to see how far she’s come in that story, but she got the house sold and she was up in Oregon and her son was able to start school. 

Learning to handle tricky divorce real estate situations as a real estate agent [00:09:45] 

Laurel Starks: So I got another case and another case, and another case, I got three more cases from that same.

And all of them had unique circumstances, very similar just in terms of complexity. There were just these challenges that came up. I had another one and the wife lived in the house with their little five-year-old and she was scared to death of the husband. He had been very, very violent.

She didn’t want to have a lockbox put on. She didn’t want to have any open houses. She had a restraining order against him. So how do you sell a house when you’ve got this party living in the house who understandably is very afraid? You know, how do you work through these challenges? So it just kind of went on and on.

It’s not uncommon in these cases to have delinquent mortgages, to have houses that are in foreclosure, regardless of the economy, regardless of how hot the real estate market is because what’s going on inside the little bubble of a divorce it’s its little ecosystem. It’s like it’s a little mini market, you know, going on in there where Either out of spite mortgage payments isn’t getting paid or because there are just finance obstacles.

There’s just not the money to go around because they’re paying lawyers, they’re paying, you know, expenses skyrocket when you’re going through a divorce. It’s not uncommon to have that. It’s also not uncommon to have things on titles, such as IRS liens judgments, you know, a lot of these types of complexities also are very, very common in the divorce niche.

Networking with divorce attorneys to build referral relationships [00:11:15] 

Laurel Starks: Every single one of these listings is like, it is like scaling Everest sometimes. And it’s very rewarding. I learned how to be skilled at it. And then I got very involved with the legal community and I befriended a lot of attorneys who.

Taught me things from the inside that I needed to understand and know. Then I just became very well-known here in my local community.

For every case that you have. there’s usually an opposing counsel. So that was one way that I grew my business was I had, you know, the attorney who referred me and then there was the other attorney who I developed relationships with.

And it was very important that I did my job and did it well. And it was also very important that I don’t solicit that lawyer for referrals during the listing. That’s just in bad taste. it’s an audition, right? So you prove yourself, you prove how good you are and how effective you are and what kind of aspirin you are to their headache.

And then once it’s closed, once it’s done, scheduling a lunch or something like that is, is much more appropriate. That’s basically how I grew my business. I grew a real estate team and then I decided in 2016, I didn’t want to have the team so much anymore, but what I was passionate about, was teaching other agents and helping other agents do what I do.

So I started the Ilumni Institute in 2018. I, I wrote the business plan and got the curriculum and everything going in 2017. And then I launched it in started 2018 and we’ve grown to become the number one most comprehensive, most well-respected most well-known real estate designation in the family law industry, within our industry as well as within their industry in just four years.

We’re in about 30 states now and it’s transforming how realtors do business in the legal community. It’s transforming how effective we are and what an asset we are to lawyers, how effective we are to their clients, how we can expedite these things.

So that courts don’t have as many hearings, and when they do, they’ve got an expert who can help assist the court with making the orders that are necessary for us to be able to carry out our job. So I recognize. What a gaping hole there was in the legal community for someone who specializes in this.

And so that’s what we, that’s what we strive to fill. 

But boy, that was a long answer. Chad asked me one question. I think I took over the entire, the entire thing. No, 

Chad Corbett: it’s good to know why you’re here and what I want to underscore in that as guys, anyone who’s been, you know, has heard my story. If you’ve heard me on other podcasts, not the long-form story, there’s so much commonality there.

And, you know, from a completely unrelated industry similar background, you know, education background, like I was psychology and law enforcement, but I had a heavy emphasis on sociology. So we, we kind of started in a similar place and she became a flight attendant. I went into law enforcement and we fell back to real estate, but we brought you to know, a mindset from, you know, we thought our career was going one way.

And then we ended up in the real estate, brought that mindset into this, and knew nothing about what the heck you’re supposed to do. Like I didn’t have family in real estate. I didn’t have a mentor in real estate. And I think there’s value in that. But where the commonality gets interesting is we started as solo practitioners.

We did a few deals. We figured out something that no one else had figured out thought what the hell let’s build a team and then realized that based on who we are, that’s a mistake. And there’s a saying that. That quite frankly, pisses me off but fuels me those who can’t do, teach. And I call bull on that.

Those who teach, if they did first and they teach now, that’s because they felt a calling to make a bigger impact. And I see that in Laurel, like it scared me to death to step out of production. I was running an investment company, a holding company, and a brokerage company. And we started All The Leads as a complete probate lead and marketing system, and to step out of production to focus on reaching more people with the message I felt was my best chance of having the biggest consumer impact, scared me to death.

And that saying, I let that little voice in my head say, well, that’s right. People are going to think that you don’t, you, you couldn’t do it yourself. So you have to tell other people what to do, but the opposite was true. I was held accountable at a level I never had been before.

I had no one, not one market to deal with and understand and be able to solve problems in. I all of a sudden had 3,149 different counties that I was having to learn the probate code in 50 different states and understand, so it made me way sharper. And I held myself accountable to always be there for those people. 

 We’ve walked a very common path and we’ve come up with a very similar model and like an outlook on how the best way is to create consumer impact. And for us, that’s through you guys, like we could never possibly serve 50 states in one business. And that’s something I’ve been asked before.

Well, if it’s so easy, why don’t you guys just do this in every state? And I’m like, it just doesn’t scale. At this standard of service that we insist upon, it doesn’t scale that well. You can certainly scale it within one, two, or three counties, but for one person to try to do this at the level we’re discussing doing it at whether it’s divorce or probate, it’s just too much like it’s, it’s too high of a standard of service to scale unless you were VC funded or something, 

How to become a divorce real estate agent [00:16:53] 

Chad Corbett: but, so I think you guys can kind of see why Laurel’s here, why she’s a great fit for this community. And I think there’s a lot of commonalities. As you said like at the macro level, there’s a lot of commonalities as you dig into the micro, it becomes drastically different, but the mindset that gets that of got us all here, and I would venture to that, that there’s venture to guess that the mindset of your community is very similar to ours. You know, one of the things I’m most proud of, we can put in a Facebook group or groups out there with thousands of people, and I’m in a variety of different groups from, you know, exclusive mastermind and, and accredited investor groups down, the diesel pickup and camper groups.

Just things that I, you know, that I’m, I’m interested in. And our community is the only one that I’ve been part of where people don’t get out of their poison pen behind the veil of internet anonymity, and just be just downright dirty and mean to each other in our community, what’s so cool is a student will post and a peer we’ll immediately coach them faster than we can.

I know there are people in this community, Rodger Lecy you might be watching these weeks later, he’s having some health trouble, but Rodger, the divorce real estate niche discovered him because he became a probate expert and he was, he went from really auditioning with opposing counsel, in this case, it wasn’t opposing counsel, but it was another probate attorney who saw what he was doing for one of his competitors, but that probate attorney also did divorce.

And when it came down to him trying to find a real estate expert to testify on the stand in this small little town or not that small, I mean, it’s the headquarters of Walmart. It’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas. But it’s not a, you know, a major Metro market, but Roger was the one person he called and said, let me put you on the stand and pay you as a real estate expert in a divorce case.

And since then he gets all the divorces from that firm and he organically built this. So there’s so much commonality.

Before we jump into specifics, if you’re connecting with this, if you think that divorce is something you’re interested in, be sure to check the show notes. There’s a link that will allow you as a member of the probate mastery community to get a discount, to be part of this community. And there are two different levels. So Laurel, I’ll have you let’s talk about that first. Like, what is, what is your offering?

Like for someone who has never done a divorce deal that likes what they’re doing in the probate space, but they still have some bandwidth. They need another pillar in their business they are still are in that growth mindset. What does it look like walking into divorce real estate completely blind?

Like you did like, but through your community. You know, probate mastery is to help someone get from never having done a deal to doing their first deal, ideally inside of the first 60 to 90 days. b making sure they don’t have to beat the learning curve I did.

And I think that’s the same path for, for a, you know, a practitioner through your community. So

Laurel Starks: Yeah, absolutely. So we have two course offerings and I will get into each one of those. And then all I’ll also through that, I’ll answer your question. What does it look like? You know, to start in this niche. So we have one is an online, on-demand divorce real estate boot camp and it is taught by myself as well as one of our faculty divorce attorneys, Shelly John, she’s a family law attorney and we co-taught that it is for anybody and everybody if you are a new real estate agent, if you’ve never done a deal. Or if you are your market, number-one performer. Anybody in between it is, it is a phenomenal course and it is only $275. There’s a 30-minute free trial. You can try it out before you commit. What we do in that boot camp is it’s broken up into three sections.

One first section is about understanding the legal process that the house goes through in a divorce. In family law, as well as in probate, the court has jurisdiction over the sale of the house. The court can make any orders about anything who the listing Realtor is, whether or not it’s sold, whether or not it’s kept how much the list price is, and what offers are accepted. 

So the court has the power to make all the decisions.

So before a real estate agent gets into the divorce niche, you need to understand the role of the court, the role of lawyers, and the role of real estate experts. Then I get into the divorce listing process. There’s a very specific way that I do and handle my listings.

And Chad, just like what you said. You know, the students who go through our courses, they lop at least five years off of their learning curve because I’ve been there. I’ve done it. I figured it out. I’ve failed. I’ve succeeded. I’ve gotten my rear end handed to me many times by lawyers, by courts, and by clients. And I’ve taken every single one of those opportunities and turned it into a lesson that I learned and incorporated all of that into our curriculum.

Why divorce listings are different from other real estate leads [00:21:46] 

Laurel Starks: One of those is how to approach and handle a divorce listing. I mean, there’s just a very different way. You can’t go into it the same way you go into a listing consultation with a family friend or with, you know, a FSBO or something. It’s a very different approach. And then the third one is how do you market yourself to your database?

How do you, how do you ensure that you’re the one that when somebody throughout your database is getting divorced or they know someone who’s getting divorced, you will be the real estate agent who’s top of mind that they want to refer to. Just the law of numbers says that there is enough business, enough divorce business within a database, and the database sphere to provide a very, very good living.

So a lot of people want to go directly to the lawyer piece and they say, well, I want to get in front of lawyers. And then they skip over the low-hanging fruit, which is your database. So boot camp, that’s what boot camp is designed to do. 

Then our master course, which is the first part of our CDRE program, the program is six months.

And when people say, and I think Chad, you can, you could probably relate to this, but when people say I want to go after divorce attorneys to get real estate leads, understand, first of all, be careful what you wish for. Because when lawyers are on a case in a family law court, in a divorce, those tend to be the highest conflict cases.

So you’re dealing with restraining orders. Substance abuse. A lot of times personality disorders, and behavioral issues. There are a lot of complexities that go into the 

Chad Corbett: – like incarceration – 

Laurel Starks: oh yeah. I’ve got two clients that are incarcerated right now. Absolutely incarceration. I mean, you’re dealing with an extreme and so if you don’t have the education and the tools and the support to handle what you would be given if you earn the respect and if a lawyer decides to take a chance on you then it’s going to be a very short-lived career.

CDRE course with Ilumni Institute [00:23:55]

Laurel Starks: So we’re in it for the long haul and the CDRE program teaches everything from dealing with high conflict behaviors, how to be neutral, mediation training the divorce listing process, as well as how to testify in court, how to be an expert witness to the court. And when, I mean, be an expert, I don’t just mean.

You know, you get a magnet for your car that says I’m an expert. I mean, how to be a court-appointed expert, truly. And we observe divorce court. On one of the days, we have our resident judge, Judge Kim Apollo, who comes in and teaches how the psychology of a courtroom is built.

How an expert assists a judge. And the role, the important role that experts play. And then because of COVID, one of the cool things is our course is now live online. So it is live. We’re all there. We all show up every day for two weeks and they’re half-day sessions. And we are able to go into online proceedings.

In court, we used to do the class live, as people would fly here. We’d take a field trip to the courthouse, but now because of COVID, we weren’t able to do that. So we made it online and it’s cool because they are doing live-streaming court proceedings now. We’re able to hop in and we spend about three or four hours doing that.

And our attorney faculty are. You know, in our zoom chat explaining what’s going on. And it’s just really fun. I know it sounds kind of, strange to say it’s fun, but it really is. It’s a really cool day. And then we teach how to build a business in the legal community. So that is then how the course ends.

And that’s how the entire six months is structured and designed. How do you build a business? We provide all of the marketing materials. We provide a step-by-step process. Everyone get a dashboard that is made for them with literal checklists down to the minutia of what do your business card say? What is a sample business card?

I mean, it’s literally everything. How do you plug into your bar associations? Should you be a sponsor at your bar association? How do you give Lunch and Learns to network with divorce attorneys? All of that, we handle also the CE continuing ed credits, so you can, our students can go into a law office, give a one-hour lunch and learn that we, that we put together.

We customize, we teach you, we train you on, and then we will also provide continuing education in all the states. So you can go into a law firm and give a one-hour continuing legal education lunch and learn. And we also have got something called Raising the Bar, which is the online continuing education program that we do for lawyers. And so all of our CDREs can invite their lawyers to raise the bar once a month. So we have different speakers. Last month, we had a bankruptcy attorney and she spoke about the crossover of bankruptcy and divorce. Because again, that’s a big thing.

What happens when a divorcing couple or one of the parties files for bankruptcy? It puts a legal snag into the divorce process. And of course, we trying to sell the house, but bankruptcy is another legal slash snag in our process. So she spoke about that. This month, we’ve got someone who is a vocational expert.

Maybe you’ve got to stay-at-home parent who stayed at home for 20 years and has not invested in their career. You’ve got the wage earner who has invested in their career for 20 years.

And so now they’re getting a divorce and the wage earner is saying. You know she’s got a college degree, she can go out there and earn a living. I shouldn’t have to pay her that much in support. And then, you know, the nonwage earner is saying, well, yes, I am entitled to all this money um, Because I sacrificed for 20 years.

A vocational expert is another expert they hire and family law who comes in and analyzes how much the non-wage earner is capable of earning. And so then they testify. Our divorce real estate training program is very, very comprehensive.

The Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert Community [00:28:22] 

Laurel Starks: We do case studies every month where we dissect cases, either that I’ve done, or we’ve got a lot of our Certified Divorce Real Estate Experts that have amazing cases. This month we’ve got Harold up in San Francisco. He is part of very, very plugged into their collaborative divorce community. And he has got a very high-end luxury listing, the couple is going through the collaborative process and Harold is collaboratively trained. He is a part of their collaborative team so he’s going to walk us through some of the challenges of his case and some of his learning lessons. So we all get to learn from one another.

That’s what’s super exciting as well it’s not just our own experiences, such as my experience. Man, you extrapolate everybody’s experiences and you dump that into a knowledge base that we have for our CDREs at the Ilumni Institute, it’s just unprecedented.  

Chad Corbett: The power of the community is apparent.

As I said earlier, I went from dealing with problems and families in one culture, one county, and one set of laws to scaling up to thousands. And then having the opportunity to hear what a divorce out of Louisiana for example is if it’s a very different system of law as Tennessee is more like an old English chancery court versus, you know, California, which is more progressive. And so being able to blend the conversation like to bring those challenges and those, those wins from many different corners of the country. It just adds value for everybody. So that’s why I’m interested to blend the probate and divorce communities because I think what our practitioners and probate, what they’re learning, they can cross-train, you know, that the folks that are already working in divorce and your community and vice versa. I’ve trained thousands of folks and mentored them in the probate space.

 And some people might look at this on the outside and go, “Whoa, why would anyone do that in real estate? You’re cleaning up problems all the time!”

But for the people who really get it, like if that’s the fuel for their soul, it was, for me, it was the highest currency in real estate for me ever was the gratitude I got from these, like from, from mainly probate was my niche. But. I did divorce deals that were, you know, a divorce, a short sale, and a, you know, a housing, a housing authority crisis, all wrapped in the one.

And the one-legged man with five racist brothers that had guns pulled on me and I’m like, I’m going to solve this. Not only did I survive it, but I also got the outcome the family wanted. And the court was like who are you, how did you, like, how did you this? Cause it was on the doorsteps of foreclosure and you know, you mentioned something earlier about the hostile husbands.

I mean, focusing on the consumer outcome, the impact you can make if you get them out of their way.

And get that equity for them, you can change their life. It’s the difference between them moving up in a living situation or moving down into homelessness in a lot of cases or HUD housing. I just turned that into fuel and it’s been really interesting to see that kind of growth throughout the country as others have 

that moment, right. That we both had like, holy crap, I’m going to, I’m going to commit to this. 

Again look in the show notes. There is a link there for both of the levels of courses that Laurel’s offering. We do have some urgency with, the live class though, as we said that the deadline is March 15th. But there are always two classes per year, right? 

Laurel Starks: Yup. So we’ve got April and October and we listen, we will love to have anyone passionate about this niche about serving the legal community. As you said, we are, those are the best fits for our program.

So anybody in your probate community, we would love to have you. We do have a special offering for $500 off of the CDRE program to anyone who is within your community. 

Probate and divorce real estate leads: Why you should build relationships with attorneys for referrals [00:32:09] 

And, you know, I think you and I can both attest as well to the business model of working within the legal community is a rather evergreen one.

 I am not out there pounding the pavement every day, looking for expired listings, looking for FSBOs, looking for the next deal. I have got such a strong relationship built on credibility and built on trust with a network of attorneys that. That I, I just get referred and I don’t have to go out and wonder where my next listing is coming from.

Because it’s just a very, very strong referral base. You know, I also want to point that out and highlighted that it’s not a non-profit that we’re doing here. I mean, we offer great, great service and it happens to also be, for those that are cut out for it, it also happens to be one of the smartest business models that a Realtor can take.

Chad Corbett: As a practitioner, but also in this and this education company as a social enterprise, that’s really how I see it. Like, it’s a benevolent entity that yes, we’re going to provide value first and we’re going to get compensated well, but only after we do exactly what we promised and met your expectations and that’s a.

That’s a common thread of all the people in our community. And I would bet good money. And it is in yours too. If you have that benevolent mindset in this, of “yes, I hold myself to a high standard and I expect to be paid for my worth because I know that I’ve built a skill set that most don’t have, but let’s make sure we focus on you and get your outcome first.

Then I’ll get paid. And what I’ve found is the common thread through the people who very quickly rise into six figures of income, into the seven figures of income, it’s that mindset. It’s not how shiny their shoes are, how great their business cards are, what marketing they have, or, you know, attractive, unattractive, young or old.

It comes down to that mindset. If you’re providing value, it will be noticeable by everyone and everything and everything you do business will find its way to you. You won’t even, at some point you’ll lose track of how these people even heard about you. It won’t matter. Like you’ll be so focused on the outcome, their outcome.

And that’s when it gets really fun. Like that’s when, when, when the hugs and tears and, and, and gratitudes, and thank you baskets and all that show up. And, you know, as you start, I have cold chills every time I talk about this, because you start to, to be able to, to see your community impact. That’s what fuels us to move forward.

In closing. I think this is the first of many conversations that we’ll let you guys be witness to, hopefully, we can do some live streaming, but I wanted to kind of have a macro conversation about, you know, introducing Laurel to the community. Uh, One of the conversations Laurel that I can think of that I’d really like to have is kind of that building….

cause what we teach in Probate Mastery is really a two-prong approach because in the probate niche, It is easy to get a list of probate leads who have basically said, okay, public, we’re ready to deal with this. And that’s on a petition. I still don’t agree with direct marketing to pre-probate leads or scraping obituaries and all that.

I just, I don’t agree with it. But in probate it’s, that’s that signal. All right, we’re ready to deal with this. Just like the filing of a divorce is, but often in, and what I’ve found in at least 60% of states. It’s not that easy to just obtain a list of divorce leads. Usually you’re getting divorced decrees, they file on the decree.

So that’s why real estate agents in the divorce niche must build that referral network. So in probate mastery, we teach, you know, first, go market. That’s your short, cash conversion cycle. We have a list of people we know that are open to, speaking with the public. But the longer-term is exactly what you teach.

So provide real value to the vendors and professionals in your orbit with a strong focus on attorneys and, like senior living specialists or employees, social workers, people who have contact with families in that end-of-life phase. So there’s a lot of alignment there.

I’d love to have a conversation like let’s go down the rabbit hole of best practices and building a referral network and what that offer is. We have and feel free to share with your community. We’ve recently released some probate attorneys who have been on this series, ask the expert, and we talk about how real estate agents can prospect probate attorneys for referrals.

And oftentimes, you know, the real estate professional will come out with their handout. Give me referrals, give me business. I have beautiful marketing. I work for this brokerage. Give me your business. And the attorney is like, “Whatever, man. I’ve got my guy.” But when a true expert walks in the door, it’s like, “What am I going to do with my guy? I got to bench him now.

Laurel Starks: Correct!

Chad Corbett: It’s so easy to unseat that it’s so easy to put that other guy on the bench just by providing real value to the attorney. So I think maybe that could be our next conversation. I think we have, we’ve got a lot, 

Laurel Starks: I’ve got a lot of thoughts on that and there are a lot of similarities and a lot of differences about going straight to the consumer from probate to divorce real estate marketing. I would love to talk about that. Well, thank you so much for having me on 

Chad Corbett: Thank you for being here. Like I said, I’m excited that we connected. Thanks so much to our teams for putting us together. 

And guys. Remember drop in the comments if there are things you guys want to hear us discuss even if you want to hear us debate certain things, probate versus divorce might be a fun panel. But anyway, then any ideas you have, any questions you had watching this that you wish you could ask directly?

We didn’t do this as a live, but we probably will in the future. But if you drop a comment we’ll get back to you and be sure and check out the link, look at the on-demand course, as well as the upcoming live course. I wanted to put the nation’s leading expert in divorce real estate in front of you.

I think we’ve accomplished that. So thank you for being here, Laurel. How can they reach you directly? What’s the best way to keep in touch? 

Laurel Starks: Yeah, we’ve got a, a Facebook mastermind group, divorce real estate and lending mastermind. Go find that.

And I’m in there. And our whole faculty is in, there are all of our CDREs are in there. Divorce real estate and lending mastermind group on Facebook is the best way. All right. 

Chad Corbett: That’s where you can find her guys. Thanks so much for watching another episode of ask the expert. If you get value from these and you haven’t already, please be sure and subscribe to whatever platform you’re on, whether you’re listening to the podcast or watching us on YouTube, and we’ll see you next time.

Have a great day. 

Laurel Starks: Thank you so much!

Links and resources for this Ask The Expert with Laurel Starks

Interested in becoming a divorce real estate agent? Take advantage of this $500 savings towards your Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert education through Ilumni Institute.

Interested in becoming a Certified Probate Expert? The course is designed to get you on probate appointments as soon as this week, with ongoing coaching every Tuesday to walk you through your deals and scenarios.

More places to check out:

Probate education is needed

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2 Comments on “How to become a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert (CDRE) and have attorneys send you divorce listings”

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