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Deciphering Real Estate Agent Designations

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

You have seen the acronyms shown after a real estate agent's name on their business card or website. It's all a jumble of letters. Those designations have real meaning, as they indicate a higher level of learning than agents without those acronyms. There are over 50 designations an agent can get during their career, depending on their specialties. Here we'll learn about a few of the more popular residential sales designations, and what it takes to obtain each one.

CRS -- Certified Residential Specialist

A CRS is awarded by the Council of Residential Specialists and is one of the top residential listing and/or selling designations based on both sales experience and coursework. To be eligible for this designation, an agent must have completed a minimum number of transactions or sales volume, fulfill the education credit requirement with a combination of in-person or online courses, webinars and/or annual education events, along with being a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) on the national, state and local levels.

ABR -- Accredited Buyer Representative

Offered by NAR and given by the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council (REBAC), an agent with the ABR designation offers superior real estate sales and counseling to clients who are purchasing a home. The ABR-accredited agent is one who has learned how to effectively representative the buyer and work in their best interest. Requirements are taking a two-day onsite class or 12 online credits and passing the exam just to be a candidate for the designation. Then, during a three-year period, the agent earns more education and experience before the ABR accreditation is granted.

ASR -- Accredited Seller Representative

Given and awarded by the Accredited Seller Agency Council, the agent with an ASR designation has obtained excellence in representing the seller in real estate transactions. To receive this accreditation, agents must become candidates by successfully completed a 12-hour live or online course and a 50-question exam. To obtain the designation, candidates then must show proof of: (1) five closing certifications where the agent represented the seller, (2) letters of recommendation from three sellers in those closings, and (3) active NAR membership.

SRES -- Senior Real Estate Specialist

Offered by NAR and presented by the Senior Real Estate Specialist Council, this designation shows that an agent understands the needs of working with buyers and sellers age 50 or older who may be selling the family home, need to relocate or require special financing. Coursework is completed in two full days of onsite classes or online. Passing an exam is required to obtain the designation, and an agent must maintain active NAR status.

GRI -- Graduate, Realtor Institute

According to NAR, agents with this designation "have in-depth training in legal and regulatory issues, technology, professional standards and the sales process." To use this designation, agents must maintain active status in NAR, take rigorous coursework totaling over 90 credits and pass the exams. Coursework is offered by states so learning pertains to the state where an agent practices, but the accreditation is awarded by NAR.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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