Buying Your New Home
As you interview and speak with real estate agents and REALTORS®, you’ll start noticing acronyms, such as CRP, CRS and ABR on these professionals’ business cards. What exactly do these designations mean to you and the homebuying process? Once you’re aware these specialties exist, it may influence your selection process.

Through training courses, a real estate agent can become accredited as a Certified Relocation Professional (CRP), Senior Certified Relocation Professional (SCRP) or a Global Mobility Specialist (GMS), which entitle the agent to include the professional designation of CRP, SCRP or GMS after his or her name. These specialists are experienced in assisting families in their relocation needs, whether the move is within the United States or internationally. In addition to helping you find a home, a relocation specialist can provide information about schools, daycare and senior care, recreation opportunities, spouse employment options, cross-cultural issues and cost of living. Usually, each large real estate firm has relocation professionals on staff to assist relocating families.

Certified Residential Specialists (CRSs) have completed advanced training in residential real estate and in related areas, such as finance, technology and marketing. These specialists have a proven track record of sales transactions required to earn the CRS designation. In addition, less than 4 percent of all licensed real estate agents are CRS designees. In working with a CRS, buyers are glad to know that every CRS designee is required to maintain membership in the National Association of REALTORS® and to abide by its strict subheader of ethics.

An Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation represents best-in-class buyer services because they have made an extra effort to raise the bar with additional training in serving you, the homebuyer. A buyer’s agent is someone who represents only the buyer’s interests in the negotiations and has the understanding to better recognize homebuyers’ particular needs. Plus, a real estate agent who has an ABR designation also has an established track record with proven experience in representing the concerns of homebuyers.

Real estate agency relationships, like all business relationships, can be formed in a number of ways. To help talk through your options, here are several questions to ask your representative:
  • Question 1: Do you represent buyers, sellers or both?
  • Question 2: What services are provided to (or excluded from) me, based on my status as a buyer-customer or buyer-client?
  • Question 3: When does representation begin? When does it conclude?
  • Question 4: If I’m not ready to commit to your normal term, can you offer me a one-day buyer agency agreement or a 24-hour opt-out clause?
  • Question 5: How is dual agency addressed in your firm?

Once you’ve formalized an agency relationship, typically by signing an agreement with an ABR, you should expect him or her to understand your specific needs and to locate appropriate properties. The representative often previews and/or accompanies you when viewing properties and researches these properties to identify any problems or issues you should consider. The ABR will be able to assist you in determining how much you can afford if you have not already prequalified your mortgage and advise you in formulating your offer as well as developing your negotiation strategy. It is typical for the ABR to provide a list of potential qualified vendors, such as inspectors, attorneys and lenders, for other related services that may be needed. All details of the entire transaction, from closing to beyond, should be tracked by the ABR.

In addition to helping find you a home, an agent serves as the “manager” of a larger team and is responsible for coordinating other team players at the appropriate times in the process. These other team players include the mortgage company, inspectors, title company, insurance company and possibly an attorney.

Your agent should be able to perform the following as part of his or her service to you:
  • Be knowledgeable about and be able to explain the property-tax system in Arizona.
  • Provide assistance in creating a budget that will ultimately set the home price.
  • Explain deed restrictions, homeowners associations and zoning.
  • Be knowledgeable about Arizona exemptions and community property laws.
  • Guide you on purchasing a new home or a resale home.
  • Ensure that you view neighborhood and homes within your price range.
  • Be able to negotiate not only home purchase price but also financing, terms and date of possession.
  • Be able to properly communicate requirements and explain the contract and other required documents.
  • Be able to attend all inspections.
  • Be able to monitor, follow up with and expedite paperwork among all parties involved.

The National Association of REALTORS® provides this list of important differences to consider when selecting a real estate professional to represent your homebuying interests. All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) properly are called REALTORS®. When you begin your home search, consider using a member of the Arizona Association of REALTORS® (AAR).

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