Cliff Baker, CRS, Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Fleming Island, Florida.
How and when did you get started in real estate?
My grandmother and my mother were both successful real estate brokers and owned their own companies. They both loved the business and really enjoyed watching people realize their dream of homeownership. I wanted to follow in their footsteps. They used to say that the key to this business is always doing what is right for the people that you are working with in the transaction.
Your mom was a CRS as well. Did she encourage you to join? Why did you pursue the CRS Designation?
My mother always told me that the CRS Designation was like the master’s of real estate. She thought the education was top-notch, and she loved the professional marketing pieces. When I obtained my Designation, my mother even sent me her pin. I am very proud to have it today!
What do you like the most about being a REALTOR®
I love the fact that I can help people reach their goals. Whether that means purchasing or selling their home, I just love the process and forming relationships with my customers.
How do you tell clients about the CRS Designation?
I explain to them that only 3 percent of REALTORS® have earned the CRS Designation, and that to earn it, a REALTOR® must meet certain educational and production requirements. Since I have invested my time and education into becoming a Certified Residential Specialist, I am uniquely qualified to assist you with your real estate needs.
What do you like about being a CRS?
I think the education and the classes are invaluable. There are so many tips and tricks I have learned in CRS training classes that I have incorporated into my business. I enjoy learning from other agents about techniques they have used to help them be successful. Just last month, we had a Mastermind meeting here in Northeast Florida to talk about best practices and the business in general. It was awesome! We had brokers from several companies and high-producing agents attend. It was a great forum to bounce ideas and talk about various issues that people are seeing in the local marketplace.
What makes Fleming Island unique? Why do you like serving this area? The great thing about Fleming Island is that it is very family focused and has a small-town feel. Most of my own family lives in Fleming Island, and I have really enjoyed networking and getting to know the folks who live here. It’s a great area for raising a family, and there are so many fun things to do!
What’s your home life like? What do you do when you’re not out buying and selling houses?
I am married and have a beautiful daughter who is 5 years old. In my spare time, I really enjoy golfing and plugging in my guitar and making a lot of noise. This is the way that I like to destress! This year CRS is spotlighting real estate agents who go above and beyond in their community. How do you give back? I have a giving back program where the customer can choose one of four local charities, and after closing, I make a donation to the charity in their name. It has been a great way to give back to organizations in our community that are important, such as an animal shelter and our local children’s hospital.
What current trends are you seeing in the industry that you think buyers and sellers should know about?
I think that the public believes that they can do all their shopping online, including real estate. But it is very important to know that nothing can replace the knowledge and service that we as REALTORS® bring to the table. Having a real estate consultant for buyers and sellers is invaluable and can help you navigate the sometimes tedious and overwhelming aspects of a real estate transaction.
You have a particularly active Facebook presence. Any advice for agents to beef up their pages?
My advice for agents is to create your business page and get an advertising service to post interesting articles for you. Within my company, we have a service for which we pay a nominal fee, and they will post things on our business page to ensure that we continue having an active social media presence. Also, I would recommend continuing to stay in touch with your friends and past customers via Facebook. Strike up conversations with them about things that they post.
Cliff Baker, CRS, achieved his CRS Designation in 2016. He can be reached at 904-278-7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.