Most people say the hardest part about buying a home is ... finding the right home to buy. That’s why you need a great real estate agent.Full article
Do you need a specialized real estate agent?
January 17, 2018
You might know the difference between a broker and a Realtor, but what about an MRP and an SFR? Or ABR vs. SRES?
If you’ve started looking for a real estate agent, or you’re just learning about the different types of agents, maybe you’ve noticed mysterious strings of letters after their name. Those indicate special designations or certifications, meaning that the agent has taken additional classes to expand their knowledge in that specific area.
There are three homebuying situations in particular that cry out for that kind of “heightened awareness and expertise,” says Dawn Lane, an independent Las Vegas–based broker and Realtor who’s been in the business for more than 20 years.
You might need a specialized agent if:
- You’re a veteran
- You plan to buy a short sale or a foreclosure property
- You’re committed to living in a “green” home
Here, we’ve rounded up the designations you’re most likely to need or run across, all offered by the National Association of Realtors. If you find an agent you like who doesn’t have the certification you want, just be sure to confirm that they have solid experience in that area. (It’s always a good idea to interview potential agents. Here’s a quick list of interview questions.)
Military Relocation Professional (MRP)
Whether you’re a veteran or still serving the country, consider an MRP. A Realtor with this certification will not only understand your needs, but also be knowledgeable about benefits and programs available from the government and others. For example, Veterans Administration loans, which are usually your best bet. “The seller has to pay more costs on a VA loan,” says Lane, “so you need someone who knows how to negotiate.”
Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR)
Thinking about shopping for a distressed property? There are some great deals to be had, but the extra care you need to take should start with your choice of agent. “You definitely do not want a novice handling a short sale or a foreclosure property,” says Lane. “They can get tricky.”
NAR's Green Designation (GREEN)
A GREEN agent has studied issues related to sustainable building, retrofitting and remodeling, and energy efficiency. Lane’s advice on this one: “Make sure the agent knows what your expectations are.” After all, “green” means different things to different people. For some, green means a choosing a smaller house. For others, it means going solar. For still others, it means a yurt with a composting outhouse.
Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR)
Realtors sporting this designation have done some extra work on understanding buyers’ needs, but it doesn’t mean they work exclusively with buyers. Some agents do work exclusively with buyers, but it’s not a special skill, Lane says. “If you’re in real estate, you’re going to be able to work with both buyers and sellers.”
Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)
This is the highest credential that the NAR awards to residential sales agents, managers, and brokers. It’s a guarantee of a certain amount of experience … but experienced agents don't always seek out the CRS designation.
Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
If you’re a senior citizen, a specialist can be great for finding that just-right age-in-place home, although Lane says that any truly good agent (meaning a careful, patient listener) can get the job done. Maybe you can find a great agent who is a senior. Lane’s own 80-year-old mother has been in real estate for 40 years and counting.
Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE)
Realtors with this designation have worked on sharpening up their negotiating skills.
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How to find a great agent. An agent needs more than certifications to qualify as great. Check out “Finding a Realtor You Can Trust: 10 Lessons from Online Dating.”
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Filed Under: For Homebuyers