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Consumer Information



Credentials Let You Evaluate Quality and Professionalism

Once you've found someone you deem to be a specialist in the area in which you need help, the next step is to check out professional credentials and documentation. While you may feel uncomfortable asking for information to support the con¬sultant's background and claims, it's a small price to pay to know that the person you'll be working with has the proper sanctioning and licensing credentials, including:

• Licenses. Depending on the specialty and the scope of the work to be performed, the consultant may have one or more licenses with the most common being a real estate license. Many states provide pocket cards to the licensee to carry in his wallet. If a pocket card isn't available and the consultant is licensed under a brokerage firm, ask to receive confirmation from the employing broker. Addi¬tionally, you could contact the licensing division/depart¬ment of your individual state. Web addresses are found in the Resources section at the end of this book.

You can also ask the licensing division to inform you of any activities that threaten the status of his license. This information is kept on each licensee and can be made available to the consumer upon request.

• Certificates and professional designations. It's not un¬usual for a specialist to have one or more professional des¬ignations that shows she's spent additional time receiving education in her specialty topic. Professional designations are usually accompanied by a certificate of completion that bears the name of the sponsoring or certifying orga-nization. If you work with a Consumer-Certified Real Estate Consultant® designee, he/she can provide you with a copy of a course completion certificate for verification. Additionally, you can search his/her profile online at

• Bonding/errors and omissions insurance. Depending on the type of work to be performed, the consultant may be required to be bonded and/or covered with errors and omissions insurance. If neither is required by licensing statutes in the state, most professionals carry their own professional liability policy as a rider to their homeowners insurance. It serves as a minimum requirement to protect the consultant (and the consumer) for omissions of fact or other types of oversight in the consulting engagement. Asking for professional documentation upfront can go a long way in choosing the best real estate consultant to meet your needs.


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