When you’re choosing a Realtor® to represent your interests as a buyer or seller, your choice should be based on strong recommendations from a reliable source about your prospective agent’s attention to detail and communication skills.
“As a Senior Vice President of a regional bank responsible for managing a large REO portfolio, I have relied upon Heather for assisting us in the disposition of a number of real estate assets in Gunnison County, and Crested Butte in particular. Heather is smart, hard-working, and is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and go the extra mile. She has consistently produced excellent results, and will continue to play an important role for the Bank. – William Clark”
Designations Realtors® also are important. While all licensed real estate agents must meet the minimum requirements of their state laws, you may also have noticed a string of letters attached to the Realtors®’s name. By committing to complete extra course work over and above what is required by minimal standards, these designations ultimately mean the Realtor you are considering is committed to their career. These abbreviations also mean that the agent has taken additional courses, has documented experience and has passed a test to earn a particular designation. The following list of designations shows the most common designations and what they mean to you as a buyer or seller.
ABR—Accredited Buyer Representative: As a buyer, you may want to look for someone with this designation since it means the agent has taken a course in buyer representation, passed the test and has extensive experience with buyers.
ABRM—Accredited Buyer Representative Manager: This designation is for brokers, owners and managers who have documented experience and education managing agents who represent buyers.
ALC—Accredited Land Consultant: If you’re looking for land to build a custom home, you may want to consider this type of specialist.
CIPS—Certified International Property Specialist: If you want to buy overseas or you’re from another country and want to buy in the United States, a CIPS designation means the REALTOR® has specialized in the international marketplace.
CRB—Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager: This designation means that the broker or owner of a real estate company has completed advanced classes and has extensive experience.
CRE—Counselor of Real Estate: Membership in this elite group of REALTORS® is by invitation only to professionals with extensive experience.
CRS—Certified Residential Specialist: If you want a REALTOR® with more experience and access to a network of other highly successful agents, you may want to look for one with a CRS who therefore has advanced training as a listing agent and buyers’ agent.
Green Designation: Buyers interested in finding an environmentally friendly home can work with an agent with a green designation who has more knowledge about this type of dwelling.
GRI—Graduate REALTOR® Institute: Graduates of the REALTOR® Institute have received extensive additional education related to residential real estate.
MRP—Military Relocation Professional: This certification emphasizes experience and education with current and former military personnel and their families.
RSPS—Resort & Second-Home Markets Certification: If you’re in the market for a vacation home, look for an agent with this certification.
SRES—Seniors Real Estate Specialist: REALTORS® with this designation have expertise meeting the needs of buyers and sellers over age 50.
You want to also make sure you are picking a Realtor with top notch skills and one that will not only deliver you the service you deserve but skills that will meet your unique needs.
A few questions that you might consider asking would be the following:
How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate — like many other professions — is mostly learned on the job.
How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year? By asking this question, you’ll get a good idea of how much experience the practitioner has.
How many days did it take you to sell the average home? How did that compare to the overall market? The REALTOR® you interview should have these facts on hand, and be able to present market statistics from the local MLS to provide a comparison.
How close to the initial asking prices of the homes you sold were the final sale prices? This is one indication of how skilled the REALTOR® is at pricing homes and marketing to suitable buyers. Of course, other factors also may be at play, including an exceptionally hot or cool real estate market.
What types of specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? You don’t want someone who’s going to put a For Sale sign in the yard and hope for the best. Look for someone who has aggressive and innovative approaches, and knows how to market your property competitively on the Internet. Buyers today want information fast, so it’s important that your REALTOR® is responsive.
Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it’s important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations lie. Your REALTOR® should explain his or her agency relationship to you and describe the rights of each party.
Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and help with other things I need done? Because REALTORS® are immersed in the industry, they’re wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies, and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.
What type of support and supervision does your brokerage office provide to you? Having resources such as in-house support staff, access to a real estate attorney, and assistance with technology can help an agent sell your home.
What’s your business philosophy? While there’s no right answer to this question, the response will help you assess what’s important to the agent and determine how closely the agent’s goals and business emphasis mesh with your own.
How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction? How frequently? Again, this is not a question with a correct answer, but it reflects your desires. Do you want updates twice a week or do you not want to be bothered unless there’s a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail, or a personal visit?
Could you please give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients? Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up, and work ethic of the REALTOR®.