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Businessman is drawing a growing arrow on the glass screen. Business icons as an integral part of the growing graph. Charts on the background.Most everyone has a personal new year’s resolution, but do you have a resolution for your business? Taking your brokerage to the next level is easier than you think. If your firm specializes in niche markets, you can utilize NAR’s selection of designations or certifications to boost your business and expand your customer base in 2016.

Have the best buyer’s representatives. For more than 25 years, the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation has set the highest standard for buyer brokerage. Equipping your buyer representation team with the ABR® designation would make a great 2016 resolution. Agents who earn the ABR® designation demonstrate their commitment to buyers, and their dedication will expand your brokerage’s business.

Train your agents to become pricing experts. NAR’s newest course, Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA, is the first step toward earning the new Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) certification. Agents will enhance their skills for creating CMAs, working with appraisers, and guiding clients through the anxieties and misperceptions about home values. An added bonus is that Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA also counts as an elective for the ABR® designation.

Expand your market. According to NAR’s 2015 Profile of Home Buying Activity of International Clients, foreign clients are paying an average of $500,000 for a house, compared to the overall U.S. average house price of about $256,000. Open the door to the international buyer’s market in the U.S. with the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation.

Represent our military personnel. There are 1.4+ million total active duty service members and 22.6+ million veterans in the military market, according to NAR’s 2014 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Regardless of whether or not your market area is in the vicinity of a military base, consider the Military Relocation Professional (MRP) certification as a specialty for your brokerage. Whether they are retired, recently discharged, or active duty, our servicemen and servicewomen need experienced real estate professionals to help them sell or find a new home.

Even more choices. The e-PRO® certification will show you and your agents how to effectively use technology and social media to enhance your business plan, manage your online identity and grow your business by connecting with today’s tech-savvy buyers. The Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS) certification will help your agents secure repeat business when clients are looking for a second home in a resort, recreational, or vacation destination. NAR’s Green Designation will teach agents to help clients make informed choices about the resource-efficiency and performance of the homes they live in, sell, and buy.

Keep in mind that REALTORS® who hold designations often earn more than those who do not. And, attending in-person classes not only broadens knowledge and increases professionalism, it provides great opportunities to expand referral networks. When classes cannot be attended in person, the Center for REALTOR® Development makes it convenient to take courses online.

I wish you and your business continued success in the new year!

Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC. A wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients.

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