Donald J. Edwards, who has one of the fastest growing realty offices in the District, is convinced that there's a "fantastic opportunity" today for anyone wanting to do business here in a "professional manner."

The city's resale market is "out of sight," he said," - even better than in Maryland."

As the broker of DEAR (Don Edwards and Associates, Realtor), Edwards turned to full-time realty selling only four years ago, leaving a $22,000-a-year federal job. Previously, he sold real estate part-time for broker Earl Shamwell, "doing terribly - never more than two or three houses a year."

Training is the key to success in real estate listing and selling, according to the 48-year-old Philadelphia native, who came here in 1953 to study romance languages at Howard University.

"I've taken realtor courses and got my GRI (Graduate, Realtor Institute) and I'm working on may CRB (Certified Residential Broker)," he said. "But it's equally important to train a staff. And I'm always recruiting and training new persons." The firm, which has 70 agents, is based at 7600 Georgia Ave. NW and has a new branch in Hillcrest Heights.

Until he opened his own firm in 1975, Edwards was a partner with S.A. Douglas Realty.

"It's still somewhat difficult to convince fellow blacks that they can get into this business and do well with proper training," Edwards said. He would welcome a white sales agent, he said, adding that only one has made it through training " - and then he moved out of town."

One of Edwards' children, 21-year-old Don Jr., has a sales license and works for the firm while studying real estate at American University. Wife Doris Edwards is the principal at an elementary school in D.C.

Edwards is active in the Washington Board of Realtors, and is in line to be elected president of the Washington Real Estate Brokers Association, which is an affiliated of the National Associated of Real Estate Brokers. Licensed in the District and Montgomery and Prince George's counties, he is also president of the Channing Citizens Association in Northeast Washington.