Real estate designations — What you need to know

The real estate industry is laden with opportunities for professionals within the field to continue their education for a lifetime. In fact, any agent identifying as a professional REALTOR®, has committed to abide by a very strict Code of Ethics, as mandated by the National Association of REALTORS®. In addition to adhering to these standards of professionalism, many real estate agents choose to earn additional certifications in specialized fields within real estate.

From a consumer’s standpoint, these extra-mile efforts signify a real estate professional’s dedication to education and a true desire to serve as an advocate for buyers and sellers. Here is a look at some of the many designations that real estate agents opt to earn through the National Association of REALTORS®, and other real estate associations.

Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) — When an agent has the initials ABR after their name, this indicates they have earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation through the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council. Agents with the ABR designation have completed the requirements which focus on working directly with buyers through all stages of buying a home.

Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) — Real estate professionals who boast the initials CCIM after their name have earned this designation after 200 hours of classroom and professional experiential requirements. The Certified Commercial Investment Member designation is earned through the CCIM Institute. REALTORS®, brokers, property managers, developers, asset managers, leasing professionals and others choose to earn this degree as the education and training involved yields real-world expertise in negotiation, along with financial, market and investment analysis.

Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) — Agents who have earned the CIPS designation through the National Association of REALTORS® successfully attended and completed five full-day courses which focus on vital and unique aspects of international real estate transactions.

Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) — The CRS designation is the highest credential a residential sales agent, manager, or broker can earn, and is offered through the Council of Residential Specialists. Out of more than 1 million REALTORS®, less than 3% have earned the designation of Certified Residential Specialist. Agents who earn this designation, complete nearly twice as many transactions annually, compared to other agents. e-Pro — The e-Pro designation is earned through the National Association of REALTORS®. This program focuses on sophisticated technology and digital initiatives, and how to apply tech to real estate, as a means of better serving clients’ needs.

Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) — Offered through the National Association of REALTORS®, agents who have earned the GRI designation have gone through additional education and training in legal and regulatory issues, along with an emphasis on technology, sales processes, and professional standards. Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Presented by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council, the Military Relocation Professional certification aims to educate real estate professionals on the unique needs that current and former military service members may have, and how to best serve military clients.

Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) — The SRS designation is earned through the Real Estate Business Institute, and is considered a premier credential for listing and selling agents. Requirements to earn this designation include specific educational and practical experiences. Achieving the Seller Representative Specialist designation denotes that agents have dedicated themselves to elevating professional standards, and demonstrate that they maintain the knowledge and skills vital to professionally, and ethically represent home sellers.

Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) — The fastest growing market in real estate continues to be clients over the age of 50. The SRES Designation program is an educational program which teaches real estate professionals how to ethically serve this specific market. The SRES designation is available.

Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource (SFR) — These initials indicate that a real estate professional has successfully completed a program designed to work with distressed sellers, in conjunction with finance tax and legal professionals to help them through a short sale. Agents who have earned this are also seasoned in negotiating with lenders, and protecting buyers.

It’s worth noting that individual state real estate associations often offer additional designations, which REALTORS® may also opt to earn. Although agents are not required to earn any of these specific designations, when you find an agent who has multiple initials after their name, you can rely on the fact that the agent has invested his or her own money to continue their education and sharpen their skills, all in effort to best serve you as a consumer.