Realtor Certifications - Should your Realtor Have One?

by : John Harris

In real estate display ads, you will see many realtors with initials listed behind their names. These are realtor designations, representing the certifications held by the realtors. Here are just a few realtor designations:

Ã?â‚??ABR - The abbreviation stands for Accredited Buyer Representative. This certification means the realtor specializes in representing buyers.

Ã?â‚??ALC - The Accredited Land Consultant specializes in land brokerage transactions.

Ã?â‚??CIPS - The Certified International Property Specialist will have more knowledge of the international real estate market.

Ã?â‚??CRB - The Certified Real Estate Broker has specialized knowledge in brokerage and real estate business management.

Ã?â‚??CRE - These realtors hold a Counselor of Real Estate certification that is by invitation only. They give seasoned advice on real estate and land-related matters.

Ã?â‚??CRS - The Council of Residential Specialist certification means the realtor concentrates on the buying and selling of residential homes.

Ã?â‚??GRI - The realtor with a Graduate Realtors Institute certification has attained what the industry considers to be the highest professional standing for a residential realtor.

Ã?â‚??SRES - The Seniors Real Estate Specialist has specialized knowledge for working with seniors, who probably have not sold a home for many years. This realtor is able to properly explain new terms, laws, procedures and financing to seniors, as well as help them to more fully understand their seller and buyer rights.

Why Get Designations?

Realtors who have these designations have studied specific areas of real estate in order to gain advanced knowledge within these areas. Qualifying for these designations takes a lot of classroom time, testing and learning extensive practical knowledge. Some designations require up to six-to-eight months of regular classroom study. In addition to giving the realtor more knowledge, such study also increases the realtors' professionalism.

Realtors have found these designations quite valuable; since the more knowledge they have, the more confidence their clients have in their skills and ability. Such certifications are especially valuable for new realtors, increasing their knowledge faster than with on-hands experience.

All realtors are required by their state to have a certain level of knowledge in order to be licensed. Additionally, realtors are required to take coursework every four years to maintain their license. Certification coursework is completely optional for realtors.

What Does This Mean to the Buyer or Seller?

That depends upon the individual realtor. I worked in the insurance industry for many years, where such designations are aggressively promoted and just as hard to obtain. I found the following concerning insurance agents and their designations that easily translates to realtors and their designations:

Ã?â‚??For many, the coursework improved their knowledge and ability to sell,

Ã?â‚??The designations attracted more clients,

Ã?â‚??Many of our firm's top insurance agents held designations,

Ã?â‚??Many of the top agents held no designations, and

Ã?â‚??One of the most successful agents the firm ever had held no designations, continuously topped everyone in sales each year, and was so successful that he had his own private secretary, who screened all his calls, because he was so busy with clients who just seemed to gravitate toward him.

My point is this - A designation indicates that the realtors have completed some extensive study on their own time. It means they should be well versed in that particular area of real estate. It does not mean that they are more knowledgeable than a realtor without the designation, because the latter may have learned much more through actual experience than the person holding the designation.

So, when looking to hire a realtor, keep a good perspective on designations. Opt to do a good interview with the realtor, rather than simply accepting he/she is the best because of a designation.