Ever wondered just what all those acronyms stand for on your real estate agent's business card? Then you may be interested in knowing that real estate agents are required to complete continuing education classes on a regular basis.
Many agents and brokers also earn specialty designations in a variety of related topics: Real estate law, property management, relocation service, appraisals and finance. These continuing education courses contribute to the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience that a broker calls upon to transact daily business, which can directly benefit their clients.
The initials may be impressive, but the training and the time involved in earning REALTOR® designations is even more valuable. For the best help you can get when you're buying or selling, look for those initials, ask what they mean, and know that it takes perseverance and effort to earn those certifications. It pays to know what training the specialty designations entail, so as you look for a professional with a personality and a work ethic that complement your own, also consider what specialized knowledge might be valuable in helping with your specific real estate needs.
List of REALTOR® Designations
Here, in alphabetical order, is a list of REALTOR® designations and certifications awarded by the National Association of REALTORS® and its affiliates. They are all designed to help increase the professional service and expertise of member agents. NAR members will be happy to explain more fully the requirements of each of the varied designations from affiliated councils, institutes and societies.
- ABR -- Accredited Buyer's Representative: Reserved for agents and brokers who specialize in meeting the unique needs of property buyers.
- ALC: Accredited Land Consultant
- CCIM: Certified Commercial Investment Member
- CIPS: Certified International Property Specialist
- CPM -- Certified Property Manager: Property managers often serve as association specialists and apartment leasing agents. They work with owners, tenants, builders, developers, and the public and have a variety of skills, including an understanding of their multiple fiduciary responsibilities and legal requirements.
- CRB: Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager
- CRS -- Certified Residential Specialist: This is the "master's degree" of the real estate world, the highest credential awarded. If you deal with a CRS, you are dealing with a first-class achiever!
- CRE -- Counselor of Real Estate: An international group of only 1,100 recognized real estate professionals across the globe. Membership in this elite group is by invitation only.
- GAA: General Accredited Appraiser
- GREEN -- NAR's Green Designation: A growing emphasis on green features brought about this designation by the Green REsource Council; Realtors gain insight, understanding and tools designed to help market properties with green features.
- GRI -- Graduate, REALTOR Institute: This degree testifies to in-depth training in some of the thorny issues that confront real estate professionals, including legal issues and government regulation, technology, professional standards and the entire sales process. It is a demanding course, and is a feather in the Realtor's cap.
- PMN: Performance Management Network
- RCE: REALTOR Association Certified Executive
- RAA: Residential Accredited Appraiser
- SRS -- Seller Representative Specialist: Not exactly the opposite of the ABR, this specialist designation is awarded by the Real Estate Business Institute (REBI) and is meant to offer unique insights into serving property sellers. A listing agent is the seller's representative, and this course details specific needs.
- SIOR -- Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS: In order to earn this designation, commercial real estate brokerage specialists must meet high standards of education, experience, production and ethics, as well as providing professional recommendations.
- SRES -- Seniors Real Estate Specialist: This specialty targets brokers who specialize in working with people over 50, the largest market share in today's world. Networking opportunities for the Realtor extend across the U.S. and Canada.
An additional group of Certifications are termed NAR Family Certifications. They include:
- AHWD: At Home With Diversity
- BPOR: Broker Price Opinion Resource - Approximately 6,000 members earned the designation, even though it is no longer being awarded.
- C-RETS: Certified Real Estate Team Specialist
- e-PRO: Yes, technology has come to real estate, and this signifies an NAR member who is comfortable with the digital landscape.
- MRP: Military Relocation Professional
- PSA: Pricing Strategy Advisor
- RENE: Real Estate Negotiation Expert
- RSPS: Resort & Second-Home Property Specialist
- SFR -- Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource: A specialist in distressed properties, this designation requires a knowledge of finance, tax and law, and includes risk management and lender expertise.
While success in the real estate field, as in any other professional endeavor, can be said to accrue to those who work hard and gain experience over time, there is certainly an advantage to be gained through study and formal continuing education. So, while few clients would expect their real estate broker to be an expert in all areas, there is value in searching for a professional with in-depth understanding in specialized categories.
Real estate agents who seek and obtain these specialized designations are a great resource for home buyers & sellers. Those agents who exhibit one or more of these specialty certifications and designations not only increase their personal marketability and value to their clients, but on average, they also enjoy an income boost as well.
As they say, "Everybody loves a winner." When you're looking for a winning REALTOR®, you would be wise to look for those initials! #hw