Buyer Representation: The Competitive Difference

Most real estate professionals are well aware that more than 90 percent of today’s homebuyers begin their home search online. What may not be as widely known is that a whopping 88 percent of those buyers ultimately turned to a real estate agent to guide them through the transaction.

What does it take to be the kind of practitioner who attracts and serves serious buyers, earns their trust and builds lasting relationships because of their skills as a buyer’s representative?

We thought we’d ask the four Accredited Buyer’s Representatives (ABR®) recently inducted into the Real Estate Buyer’s Council (REBAC) Hall of Fame during ceremonies that took place at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo last month in Orlando, Fla.—an outspoken and spirited group devoted to outstanding client service.

For Jennifer M. Baker, founding half of the Jennifer Baker team at RealtyUSA in Corning, N.Y., education is key to success.

“I obtained my ABR early in my 10-year career as an agent because I quickly understood that the more I know about every aspect of the transaction process, the more qualified I am to effectively represent my buyers,” says Baker. “There is certainly prestige in acquiring a designation, but I did it primarily for myself, and I am confident that it helps ensure every day that I do the best possible job for my clients.”

Baker, whose team partner is her husband, Larry Baker, is a consistent multimillion-dollar producer who closed 65 transactions last year and was awarded the 2015 Spirit Award, given by her peers in recognition of her enthusiasm, devotion to core industry values and willingness to help others—qualities she clearly puts to work for the benefit of her clients.

Steven Merchant, broker/owner of Global Realty International, Inc. in Orlando, Fla., understands how much his focus on buyers and investors has contributed to his overall success.

“Buyers have been the lifeblood of my 18-year career, and the ABR and other courses I’ve taken in pursuit of several designations have been invaluable in helping me help them,” he says.

A retired Marine Corps pilot, long active in regional, state and national real estate associations, Merchant was able to transfer his enthusiasm, dedication and thirst for learning to a career that has honored him with numerous production awards, in addition to the Newland Community Broker of the Year Award for service, professionalism and commitment.

A similar focus on building trust and ties with buyers and investors at every level has been a career hallmark for Alison J. Maltby, senior broker associate with the Anderson Group & Co. in Orlando, Fla.

An award-winning multimillion-dollar producer and five-time nominee to the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association (ORRA) Honor Society for her attentive client care and intimate knowledge of Florida real estate, Maltby earned ORRA’s Top Producer Award in 2015 in recognition of her production excellence.

Known by her peers and clients for her level of client care and her ability to think creatively and find resolutions, she credits her ABR designation with providing the skills and know-how that buyers deserve and appreciate.

“It’s important that my buyers are well-represented, protected and successful in their purchase of Florida realty,” says Maltby. “That’s what inspires loyalty and referrals, and that, in turn, fuels my career growth.”

If education is the key to success in real estate, Rich Hart has tied the strategy to accomplishment on a dual level. A broker for the past 14 years, chalking up major sales both locally and internationally, Hart is principal of the Evalucore Institute, where he serves as a business development consultant, speaker and educator.

With offices located in New York and Georgia, Evalucore focuses on behavioral performance consulting for predictive index and wealth/finance consulting on investment and financial planning for personal and corporate entities. As its principal, Hart is a speaker and instructor for the National Association of REALTORS®, REBA and the Council of Real Estate Broker Managers.

“I’m a lifelong fan of education, which I think gives practitioners an edge in any field, and especially in real estate, where successful buyer representation is the foundation for professional achievement,” says Hart. “Teaching is a privilege, and I am honored to be recognized by REBAC for the contributions I have made.”

A common denominator for the four inductees into this year’s REBAC Hall of Fame is passion for being the best in their business. And while the four have racked up more than a dozen professional designations between them during the course of their admirable careers, none appears more meaningful than the ABR.

“The ABR designation is a benchmark for excellence,” says Merchant. “It signals to buyers that you have the knowledge, experience and professional wherewithal to go the extra mile on their behalf.”

Baker agrees. “For many buyers, a home is the biggest purchase they will make in their lifetime,” she says. “They want and deserve an agent they can trust, who is committed to making their home-buying transaction a timely and gratifying experience.”

For more information about the REBAC Hall of Fame, please visit www.REBAC.net/HOF.

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