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In today’s ever-evolving market, one thing real estate professionals can all agree on is the fact that buyers need to know they can trust the individual they’ve chosen to guide them through likely the biggest purchase they’ll make in their lifetime. As the competition continues to heat up, real estate professionals are raising the bar even higher when it comes to going above and beyond for their buyer clients by investing in their future and laying a solid foundation through continuing education.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with the top echelon of Accredited Buyer’s Representatives (ABR®) who will be inducted into the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) Hall of Fame during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, taking place this month in San Diego, to candidly discuss how they’re using their ABR® designation to not only grow their business, but set themselves apart from the competition. They are:

Sharon Goodin,
Principal Broker,
Progressive Real Estate, Newport News, Va.

Victoria Doran,
Broker Associate,
Coldwell Banker,
Barrington, R.I.

Connie Glass-Birnbohm,
Broker Brand Manager/VP,
Berkshire Hathaway
HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®

Krista Shortreed,
Broker Associate,
Realty Executives,
Janesville, Wis.

For Sharon Goodin, principal broker at Progressive Real Estate in Newport News, Va., earning the ABR® is a must—especially for agents just getting into the business. “Buyers will always need some help as they make their way through the process, and the ABR® designation provides real estate professionals with the extra punch they need to gain credibility among today’s buyers.”

Not only does the ABR® designation prepare agents to more readily work with buyers, it also goes a long way toward providing a solid starting point upon which to grow, something that Victoria Doran—a broker associate with Coldwell Banker in Barrington, R.I.—feels is vital to continued success.

With 32 years of experience under her belt, Doran has earned both the Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) and ABR® designations. “One of the biggest benefits associated with continuing education is the fact that it gives you a foundation to build from,” says Doran, “which is great because when you have something to go back and look at, it’ll help you later on down the road.”

In addition to being prepared for any and every situation that may come to light during a real estate transaction, the ABR® designation is an integral piece of the puzzle in terms of keeping things running smoothly throughout the process.

For Krista Shortreed, a broker associate with Realty Executives in Janesville, Wis., it’s the level of client loyalty that comes with having earned the ABR® designation that resonates most with her. “Clients feel so comfortable once you explain that you have their best interests at heart, especially since many buyers typically think that REALTORS® are only in it for the money. Not only does their loyalty allow for a smoother transaction, it’s also become my best form of advertising.”

“In the end, buyers want to know that they can trust you,” adds Goodin, who points to her use of REBAC’s consumer one-sheets as a key piece of the puzzle in establishing trust among clients.

But perhaps most important of all is the underlying premise of the ABR® designation, a credential that stands for the benchmark of excellence in buyer representation.

“When buyer agency came into existence, it was obvious to me that agents should not only differentiate themselves by saying that they’re going to represent someone as a buyer’s agent, but by demonstrating it thoroughly,” says Connie Glass-Birnbohm, broker brand manager/vice president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach,
REALTORS®. “By earning the ABR® designation, you’re empowering yourself with the tools and skillsets you need to promote the difference between someone who is trained as a buyer’s agent and someone who’s not.”

In an industry that never stands still, continuing education is more important than ever for real estate professionals who are determined to stay ahead.

For Shortreed, the passion doesn’t end with having earned her ABR® designation. In fact, since 2011, Shortreed has channeled her passion into teaching others of its importance. “I was completely devastated when I would see young couples at open houses who had no idea where to begin,” says Shortreed, who was motivated to get into teaching to ensure buyers weren’t sitting at the closing table in the dark as to what was going on.

As an instructor of New Jersey Salesperson Pre-Licensing and ABR® courses, Glass-Birnbohm takes pride in teaching agents how to truly represent their clients in any situation. “I enjoy opening the minds of agents to think outside the box, to let go of old habits and skills they find comfortable and replace them with systems and resources to help set themselves apart from the competition.”

Not only are they passionate about their responsibility toward buyer representation, the newest members of the REBAC Hall of Fame are honored to be included among such an esteemed group.

“Being inducted into the REBAC Hall of Fame confirms that continued work and perseverance can help you attain whatever goals you have in mind,” says Goodin.

“It’s so humbling to be a part of this group,” adds Doran, “as the more education you get, the more proficient you are in your business.”

For Glass-Birnbohm, being knowledgeable in regard to the skills required in the process of client representation—including a solid negotiation strategy and communication skills—is just one piece of the puzzle.

“Dare to be the exception that wins business through honest service and expertise,” concludes Glass-Birnbohm.

For more information about the REBAC Hall of Fame, visit