Let’s say you’re a seller who needs assistance with a short sale. You owe more than your property is worth is today’s market, and you need help negotiating with the lender. You don’t know how the process works or what to do first, so you contact your local real estate professional.

Alyson Spann

Alyson Spann

If you’re lucky, your Realtor has continued his or her education and received the Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource Certification.

“For many real estate professionals, short sales and foreclosures are the new ‘traditional’ real estate transaction,” according to the California Association of Realtors. “Knowing how to help sellers maneuver the complexities of short sales, as well as help buyers pursue short sale and foreclosure opportunities, are not merely good skills to have in today’s market — they are critical. And while short sales and foreclosures are not for the faint of heart, agents with the proper tools and training can use these specialty areas to build their business for the long term.”

Getting proper advice is critical for many sellers today. The real estate market has changed considerably, and there is a new skill set necessary for guiding buyers and sellers. That’s why the California Association of Realtors offers courses in continuing education for Realtors in topics that will deliver the right educational skills to Realtors.

It is advantageous for a seller to seek out Realtors who have real estate designations in the areas they need expertise to successfully negotiate their transaction.

Courses are available to Realtors on a scholarship basis, and there are many available, including:

» Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) Designation: An ABR® designation is designed for real estate buyer agents who want to successfully serve the buyer in today’s buyer’s market. Course material ranges from offers and negotiations to fiduciary responsibilities to needs assessments and dual-agency conflicts.

» Green Designation: With this, an agent becomes the green real estate resource for the community. The core curriculum includes green building principles and practices, as well as regulatory issues. They learn the financial advantages of eco-friendly, energy-efficient properties and how to market to the green consumer.

» Graduate Realtor® Institute: The GRI designation is considered the foundation for all other advanced real estate designations. This education is considered by many as the most comprehensive training program available today to Realtors in the nation. The GRI program is designed to enhance Realtors’ knowledge of real estate marketing skills that will set them apart from the competition.

» Seniors Real Estate Specialist®: Seniors Real Estate Specialists® are Realtros qualified to meet the special needs and concerns of maturing Americans. These Realtors have the specific knowledge and expertise to counsel older clients through major financial lifestyle transitions involved in relocating, refinancing or selling the family home.

Realtor education, especially the specific designations offered today, are critical to the success of today’s consumer in their real estate transaction. Look for these designations after the Realtor’s name, or contact your local real estate association to find the right specialist for you.

You’ll be glad you did.

Alyson Spann is a Realtor with Comstock Home Sales Inc. and serves on the Public Relations Committee of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. She can be reached at 805.685.1504 or alysons@thebluffssbcoast.com.