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2007-02-12 09:01:00

Bluegrass REALTOR'S Name is Two Lines Long

Donna ElderBy Donna Redd Elder, ABR, ABRM, AHWD, ASR, ASP, C-CREC, CNHS, CFS, CRB, CRS, EcoBroker, e-PRO, GRI, QSC, RECS, SRES

People have often asked me, "What order do you list your designations?"

I read somewhere many years ago that these are to be listed in alphabetical order. So that is what I have always done.
Joe Brester, my second broker in real estate, told me that the key
to success in this industry is knowledge about financing to make the sales, and education to earn designations to build creditability. That advice has been the foundation of my business.

In the early 1990's I received the CRS and GRI.

I understand the importance of continuing education. Even though my state (KY) requires just six hours of continuing education, in 2006 I took 27 hours worth of education.  Education offers a REALTOR an opportunity to stay on top of the market and stay out of trouble. It also offers an excellent opportunity to network with other professionals. 

Next I received my ABR and C-CREC.
Several years ago I was in a meeting with agents representing all ages of realty professionals
. A young man said: "Within five years we, the under 30 group, will be the top producers and people will not remember the names of the current top producers because they are not going to have the tech skills we do." 

His words were not said to be disrespectful, but it did provide a jolt of reality about the challenges of developing a skill set with new technologies.
I left there thinking about his statement.

I had a choice to make: to fade out of an industry I love or to get in gear.

I knew that I could learn the technology segment of real estate faster than the under 30 group could gain my market knowledge and experience, and that I clearly had the upper hand in negotiating and problem solving.  I set my goals to be the best in the industry.
Designations, certifications recognized by the National Assn. of REALTORS (NAR) and others can be
very confusing.  I obtained these letters for the educational advantage they give me when I do buyer or seller presentations. 

I discovered that education goes beyond just designations, and into networking and finding other educational opportunities by meeting agents who do things differently from me. We share success stories and learn from each other. 

The tools made possible through the Internet and e-mail are endless.  The trick is to seek wise counsel fromothers in our industry so we do not waste our time and money.
I have obtained:
ABR, ABRM, AHWD, ASR (Accredited Seller Representative), ASP (Accredited Staging Professional), C-CREC, CNHS, CFS (Certified FInance Specialist), CRB, CRS, EcoBroker, e-PRO, GRI, QSC, RECS, SRES.

Of these ABR, ABRM, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI are recognized by NAR.
I obtained my ABRM and CRB because I have formed a team with a full time assistant and two
buyer agents and needed the management skills to help my business grow.
I obtained ABR when local brokerages stopped offering sub-agency and I found myself
representing buyers for the first time in my career.
AHWD was a natural for me.  I have a wide variety of clients with very diverse backgrounds
and lifestyles. I work with wealthy clients as well as the working poor.  I count Muslims, Jews and Christains along with a few none believers and some searchers among my client base. I have clients of many nationalitites.  Making a statement that I care about the well being all all people and respect thier heritage and culture is very important to me, and a statement that I do not take lightly.
GRI was the building block to all my designations. The CRS is my most prestigious designation.  It took time to get all the classes and the
closed transactions required for this designation.
I obtained my C-CREC when there was lots of talk about fee for services.  At this time I do
not do fee for services. The course did make me aware of all the services that I offer.  I did experiment with several repeat clients and discovered they were financially better off paying me a percentage commission that fee for services.  I also find it expensive and time consuming to document each and everything I did at the time I did it.  I may use fee for services in the future. 
e-PRO and RECS have been an imprtant part of my learning technology.  e-PRO gives an excellent 
networking platform.  RECS is great -- I get an audio tape six times a year with hours of discussion and knowledge from industry leaders.  I use index cards (old way that I can not give up) to group the topics and I continually go back and listen to parts of the tapes when I need them.
QSC is a great listing and buyer presentaion tool.  Buyers and sellers get a written
guantantee at the time we agree to work together.  A third party company sends out surveys after closing and my clients fill them out.  This information is available to the public on the Internet.  It helps keep me on my toes. In the Real Estate Professional magazine Fall issue, I was named as one of 250 top service providers in North America. That is a great marketing tool.
ASP came just in time for a buyers market in my area.  I am not a creative or artistic
person and I have no intention of becoming a stager.  This course gave me the tools to understand the importance of staging a home and the guidelines for my clients to accomplish this or hire a person to do it for them.  Staged homes do sell faster and for a higher price.
CFS goes back to the foundation of my business by stating in know financing anf it does make
a difference in my clients' financial well being and them getting the home they want with the best financing for them.
SRES is very valuable to me.  I find that it gives me tools to helpp three generations of buyers and sellers.  I build
creditablity with the baby boomers in helping thier parents make financially sound decisions in real estate.  Their parents tell their friends about me. The baby boomers use me as their REALTOR and tell their friends who need to help parents make decisions and naturally the younger generations know me when it time for them to buy a home.
CNHS: I built my database of clients by representing builders.  I seldom represent  builders
these days because of the time required and return on my investment.  I do represent buyers of new construction and this designation and the knowledge I received from it is important in  them understanding the building process and recognizing the differences in quality and details.
EcoBroker:  The demand for "green" building is very small in my area but I know it is the
future of our industry and I want to be there.  Utility  costs is a major concern for the consumer in my area.I am sure the knowledge obtained in this class will benefit me when I put forth the effort to promote it.
I am also a member of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing.
Knowledge goes beyond designations and certifications.  These open the doors to many other
opportunities.  I have also been coached by The Real Estate Champions and Joeann Fossland. I have been Ninja I & II with Walt Frey.  I went to Ft Collins to attend a Ninja class at The Group Inc provided by Larry Kendall and his team.  I was also certified to coach Ninja methods in the Spring of 2006.  I attended Michael Russer's (aka Mr. Internet) three-day Boot Camp in Chicago last summer.  I also have programs on the RE/MAX Satelite Network taped so I can watch them at home when I make time.
In 2007 I will be attending Howard Britton's Conference in Phoenix in July.

I plan to work on my PMN designation/certification and ALHS (accredited luxury home specialist) certification.  The CRE is by invitation only and I am checking the requirements for this.
I prefer attending classes in person and do not mind traveling to attend classes.  The people
I meet bring many ideas to the table.  Other, on-line classes cetainly are convenient and cost effective.  

(Donna Elder is a RE/MAX agent in Lexington, KY. She appears in a podcast, "An Interview with Donna Elder on Getting Listings Sold" with Master Certified Coach Joeann Fossland.)

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