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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How Much Home Should You Buy?
You may have heard a real estate Agent or someone else say, "Always buy the biggest home you can afford. It is a good investment and the larger the investment the larger the return on investment will be".
But is that good advice for you? Maybe, maybe not.
When deciding to buy a home the first thing you need to do is get a loan. Yes, get the loan before you shop for homes. The lender will give you a letter stating how the maximum amount they will lend you given your income, debts, and the amount of cash available for down payment and closing costs.
Now that you know the maximum amount you can borrow and what the monthly payment will be on that amount, ask yourself some questions about your "comfort level". We all have a different comfort level when it comes to debt.
Some things that affect each individuals comfort level are:
Do I worry a little or a lot about money I owe?
Am I comfortable that my job is secure and my income will be stable for the next few years?
Do I reasonably expect to have a considerably larger income in the near future?
Am I willing to change my lifestyle (travel less, eat out less often, keep our car for a few more years) in order to make a house payment?
Think about all of that and then decide what payment you are comfortable with. If it is the maximum amount the lender has stated, fine. But if it is less than that amount, then buy less home.
The new home should be a place of comfort, not a place to sit in and worry about how you are going to pay for it!
Besides, you can always "move up" later if you situation or comfort level changes.