ABR, the Accredited Buyer Representative designation, conferred by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council® (REBAC), confirms an agent's mastery of buyer representation. Agents who have earned the ABR designation have demonstrated experience in buyer representation by completing and closing a minimum of five real estate transactions in which they functioned as a buyer's representative. Two key areas emphasized in ABR training are how to identify potential problems with a property and how to negotiate the best price on behalf of the buyer. REBAC is an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors®.
Less than 5 percent of all Realtors hold the CRS designation.
The Certified Residential Specialist designation, conferred by the Council of Residential Specialists®, recognizes real estate agents for proven experience in marketing residential property. To earn the designation, agents must complete a program of advanced study covering areas such as investment real estate and real estate-related taxes. The Council of Residential Specialists is an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors. It is awarded only to those who complete strict educational requirements, combined with experience and sales results.
The GRI® (Graduate, Realtor Institute) designation is obtained by attending a specific, intensive series of a minimum of 90 hours of classroom instruction, covering subjects in contract law, professional standards, sales and marketing, finance, and risk reduction. The subject matter has been chosen to educate practitioners about local, state and national real estate practices that affect them, their clients and customers. GRI courses are taught by leading real estate professionals from around the country.
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Economic Stability-A declining employment rate in a area spells trouble for the future resale possibilities of a home.
Community Pride-How well is the community maintained? Is there litter in the streets and lawns that are obviously not cared for properly?
Municipal Services-Is there a public library and how well is it stocked? What are the crime statistics? Is the police force effective and responsive to community needs? Are fire stations located nearby so that they also can respond quickly in an emergency? Does the city have well maintained and parks? Community events, such as an annual parade? Are there activities available for all ages from children through senior citizens?
A good real estate agent will have amassed a wealth of information on these subjects.
Schools-Even if you don't have children or your children are grown and gone from home, schools are very important. They reflect the community's willingness to invest in it's future by providing a quality education for their children. Check to see how local students score on the standardized tests. You can ask your agent about these things, and there are also school reports available for free on the Internet. You can also obtain the phone number of the local school district and check with them yourself.
Property Taxes-While we all like to see lower property taxes, as some point they can be too low and not provide enough money for the city to provide proper services for their residents. While you do not want to live in a community that taxes it's homeowners excessively, it is important to strike a balance between taxes and quality of infrastructure (streets, sewers, water supply).