Plenty of real estate agents made money for years simply by selling homes, but the Valley’s foreclosure crisis and more recent influx of investors has changed how — or even whether — agents can make a living.

The industry turmoil has spurred more agents to think about developing their own real estate projects — and it’s created demand for some kind of education to help them expand their horizons.

Arizona State University is responding to calls from industry groups by creating a certificate program that’s a sampler of real estate topics including real estate fundamentals, law, investments and land development.

The Real Estate Development Certificate program will help agents better position themselves in the industry, said Mark Stapp, a developer and instructor at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

The real estate school sees a growing need for professionals who can put together small development projects because it sees shrinking demand for cookie-cutter developments and a greater desire for homes tailored to customers’ desires.

Stapp expects the certificate will prepare agents to do small infill or redevelopment projects.

The goal isn’t to bring more people into the already crowded real estate field, but to have professionals who are more informed and skilled.

“In the long run, I think that results in better projects overall in the community,” Stapp said.

The nine-month program begins Oct. 1 and requires five to 10 hours a week of study time. The program is online because demand isn’t just in the Valley.

“We’ve had an increasing number of requests from overseas from people who are interested but it’s very difficult for them to get over here,” Stapp said.

The program isn’t meant to replace a Master of Real Estate Development, Stapp said. The online program will have many of the W. P. Carey instructors who have been teaching the existing program.

W.P. Carey has heard interest from several industry groups that include the Urban Land Institute, the Valley Forward Association and the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.

Applications are already being taken for the new certificate program. For more information, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-6548 or

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