Candidate Spotlight

CCIM Candidate Spotlight: Vladimir Diaz

Vladimir Diaz

Just like a diploma is much more than a fancy certificate, the CCIM designation is more than the pin you wear on your lapel. Earning the distinction takes years of work, hours of studying, and endless dedication. Vladimir Diaz, a commercial real estate agent running his own firm in Sunrise, Fla., is in the final weeks of his preparation for the comprehensive exam at April’s CCIM Midyear Governance Meetings in Charlotte, N.C. 

The Florida native began his career in real estate in 1990 as a mortgage broker for residential and commercial loans. He transitioned into a role as an agent, eventually opening his own brokerage firm in 1999. A candidate for CCIM designation from 2000 to 2006, Diaz rejoined the program in 2018 and is now on the precipice of receiving his CCIM pin. Commercial Investment Real Estate caught up with Diaz to hear his thoughts as he approaches the exam.

CIRE: What experiences, professional and personal, led you to seek the CCIM designation? What was the “aha moment” when you knew it was worth the time and effort after 20-plus years in the industry?

Vladimir Diaz: My experience working as both a mortgage broker and real estate agent in the commercial arena in the late 1990s was when I discovered CCIM Institute and the designation. I found it worth the time and effort to acquire the designation because the course materials and curriculum definitely enhanced my professional career and my overall skills.

CIRE: How have you put your education to use? How has the designation curriculum impacted your professional abilities?

Diaz: I was able to put my education to use right away — and continue to do so daily as a commercial real estate and mortgage broker. The designation curriculum has made a major impact in my professional career as it has provided me with the foundational skills to better serve my clients. It also taught me many aspects of evaluating and administrating commercial real estate, which I did not learn in the field. My ability to evaluate any commercial investment property and provide potential clients investment analysis so they can make a wise decision when investing in commercial real estate is a huge impact — it not only makes me better professionally as a commercial broker, but it is quite satisfying and rewarding on a personal level as well.

CIRE: What has been the most challenging aspect of your journey toward the CCIM designation?

Diaz: The most challenging aspect has been making time to complete the curriculum within a reasonably short period. In the end, it will have taken me about six years to complete the program.

Early in my career, I had wonderful colleagues who had been in the commercial arena for quite some time, and I worked with seasoned professionals in the field.

CIRE: What is going through your mind these last few weeks before you take the exam? What most excites you? How do you keep calm and stay focused as you make final preparations?

Diaz: These last few weeks before I take the exam, I am reviewing the material provided by CCIM Institute when I originally took the courses. I try to spend time studying the areas I find most challenging. For the most part, I feel very well prepared and have an idea of what to expect. I keep calm and stay focused. At the same time, I’m using the material in my daily work as both a commercial mortgage and real estate broker. That’s a major help. I am looking forward to the exam, and I’m excited to meet other candidates and designees on site.

CIRE: What support structures have helped you during this process? Have you received help from colleagues or mentor figures? Is there a CCIM who inspires you?

Diaz: I have had quite a unique support structure. Early in my career, I had wonderful colleagues who had been in the commercial arena for quite some time, and I worked with seasoned professionals in the field. I teamed up with one of them who took me under his wing and taught me a great deal about commercial real estate lending. I completed several transactions as part of a team and acquired a great deal of experience before he retired. Since then, I have furthered my career in commercial real estate by taking all CCIM Institute courses and earning a bachelor’s degree in real estate.

CIRE: CCIM Institute values diversity. How important is it to you (and your clients) that you are bilingual?

Diaz: Diversity is an important element in my professional career because I get to exchange ideas and learn about other cultures within the commercial arena. I am fluent in both English and Spanish, which helps me communicate and advocate for my clients who come from Latin America to invest in real estate in Florida.

Editor’s note: To protect candidates and instructors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CCIM Institute canceled April’s CCR course and Comprehensive Exam. Diaz is scheduled to take the exam in October at the CCIM Global Conference in Chicago. 


For more on the CCIM designation process and curriculum, visit Earning the CCIM Designation

Nicholas Leider

Nicholas Leider is senior content editor for Commercial Investment Real Estate. Contact him at nleider@ccim.com.