From the category archives:

The Fancy Letters Behind the Name

For the last three years I have been working toward obtaining one of the most prestigious real estate designations available, that of the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS). This week it finally happened and I got confirmation just today that I am being awarded the CRS designation.

It’s not an easy one to be awarded. For one, an agent has to have production numbers that are verified by a broker. You have to sell alot of homes in order to be considered…no “one home a year” sales allowed. An agent must also complete classwork and additional education that can take years to finish. Classes only come into town so often and sometimes we have to fly to them in another state.

I have to say, the classes have been some of the best I have seen, and I have learned many new things that will help me to continually strive to be a better agent. Remarkably, less than 38,000 Realtors hold the CRS designation nationwide. With over 1 Million members in the nation, those that are Certified Residential Specialists are rare to say the least. In Minnesota, only 3% of Realtors have the production to be a CRS.

So when you think about choosing a quality real estate professional, be sure to ask them about any designations they hold. If they hold the CRS designation, then you can rest assured that they have completed extensive training on residential real estate and a have proven track record of sales transactions. The more transactions an agent has, then the more experience they have. When the average agent completes only three sales a year, is it any wonder that there are so many inexperienced Realtors in the industry. Next time you choose an agent, make sure they have the experience to back themselves up.


Being designated as a member of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing is highly sought after in the luxury field.

Real estate agents that hold this designation are professionals specially trained to provide high quality service to buyers and sellers of luxury homes and estates. The Institute is also the premier authority in training and certification for real estate agents working in the upper-tier residential market.

Currently I am only one of six agents in Minnesota that are members of the Institute. If you are looking to sell you luxury home, make sure you ask any agents you interview if they are members. Luxury homes are special, and require special marketing to get them sold. Each home I sell has it’s own unique marketing plan. Many times there are special attributes of the home that can be highlighted and presented to a target market. Members of the Institute understand this and have been trained on how to get the home as much exposure as possible.

If you have any questions about marketing your home, let me know and I would be happy to answer them. Many times I will need to see a home to get a feel of what I can do. Preparing a marketing plan and properly pricing the home take more than a day. If you want the best out of your agent, don’t be surprised if the listing process takes a week or two. Photography, appraisals, staging, brochures, etc, take more time with a high-end home.

Don’t worry though, you want the best for you home and hiring a member of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing will get you there.


Being a Minneapolis Luxury Home Specialist, I have sold many properties these last few years where the homeowner was buying solely to have a second home, or wanted a condo on the Gulf Coast of Florida for their summer enjoyment. At the beginning of the year, I decided to go ahead and obtain my certification as a Resort and Second Home Property Specialist. The certification is fairly new, one we have been asking for over the last 10 years. After a couple months of education classes, including working online with buyers, training in 1031 exchanges, market demographics, etc, I finally became certified last week. I am officially a Charter Member, a title bestowed upon the first 250 Realtors who become RSPS members. Currently there are only 158 of us out of 2 Million + Realtors nationwide, and only the 4th in Minnesota.

The new certification program recognizes the vitality of the second home market. Serving the resort and vacation real estate market has come of age at a time when the second home market has never been stronger and savvy buyers increasingly demand the expertise of a real estate professional with proven knowledge of resort and second-home market conditions. A 2005 NAR study showed substantial growth in the second-home market. The study indicated that investment property and vacation homes make up a significant portion of the overall housing market, accounting for more than one-third of residential transactions. Acquiring a second home has grown in popularity over the last 10 years and in particular since 2003. Sales of second homes increased 16 percent in 2004 from the year before. NAR also estimates that 36 percent of buyers who purchased a second home bought a property that was more than 100 miles away from their primary residence.

Being licensed in Florida and Minnesota, I have the unique opportunity of providing clients the best of both worlds. Not only can Minnesotans have the warm weather get away when they are freezing, but my clients in Florida have a chance to own that cabin in the woods where they can curl up to a cozy fire. What ever you desire, now you can contact a specialist who has taken extensive education classes in order to represent you better. Maybe you can even take pity on this real estate agent and loan me your condo for a week?