The National Association of REALTORS® has many affiliations with organizations that offer some of these designations, but they also have designations that they grant. Keep in mind that simply being a REALTOR® is a designation by itself. You can be a licensed real estate agent and not a REALTOR®, which requires that you are a member of a local, state, and national board. REALTORS® also subscribe to a code of ethics above and beyond what the law requires.
ABR-Accredited Buyer’s Representative. The Accredited Buyer Representative designation is offered through the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC). Agents with the ABR designation have received training and have demonstrated experience representing home buyers.
CBR-Certified Buyer’s Representative. Like the ABR designation, agents who have received the CBR designation have been trained to represent home buyers. It is offered through Real Net Learning Services.
ALC-Accredited Land Consultant. The ALC designation is a highly prestigious designation. It is also rare to see a real estate agent that holds one. It is offered through NAR and applicants for the designation must complete a rigorous training program and demonstrate a proven track record of success with land brokerage.
CCIM-Certified Commercial Investment Member. Real estate professionals who have earned the CCIM designation have taken a series of challenging week-long courses that focus on the ins and outs of commercial real estate. Demonstrated experience must also be proven. Each of the extensive courses required to earn this designation are over $1000.
CIPS-Certified International Property Specialist. As the name implies, the CIPS designation opens the door to a world beyond an agent’s local market. Agents who have earned the CIPS designation receive training that focuses on cultures, exchange rates, investment trends, and the legal issues that surround selling homes to those from another country. It also opens the door to a network of real estate professionals from around the world.
CNHS-Certified New Home Specialist. An agent who has earned the Certified New Home Specialist designation has completed coursework regarding buying and selling new construction. A CNHS agent can better facilitate communication between buyer and builder. Often times a buyer isn’t aware of the realities of building a home and a builder isn’t aware of the concerns or goals of a buyer. A CNHS agent is better equipped to make sure that the process goes through much more smoothly.
CRB-Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager. The CRB designation is a highly respected designation for REALTORS® that manage a real estate office. They have completed advanced educational and professional requirements.
CRS-Certified Residential Specialist. The CRS designation is offered through the Council of Residential Specialists. It is considered the highest professional designation for a residential sales professional that is also a REALTOR®.
CRE-Counselor of Real Estate. If the CRS designation is the most prestigious designation for a real estate sales professional, then the CRE is the most prestigious real estate designation. It is by invitation only.
GREEN-NAR’s Green Designation. Issued by the Green Resources Council—which was established by the National Association of REALTORS®—the GREEN designation is awarded to REALTORS® who have completed training to promote “green” living, i.e., sustainable building construction practices, identifying tax incentives for energy efficiency improvements, smart growth etc.
GRI-Graduate REALTOR® Institute. This is another highly regarded designation awarded by the National Association of REALTORS® after 90 hours of course work. Topics for this designation include marketing and servicing a listing to real estate law.
SRES-Seniors Real Estate Specialist. One of the fastest growing real estate markets is the over 55 community. Agents who have earned this designation have been trained on how to ethically and profitably serve this demographic. It is offered through the SRES® Council.
AHWD-At Home With Diversity. Offered through NAR, this designation is awarded to REALTORS® who have completed training with regard to the various cultural issues.
e-pro-electronic professional. With the shift to the internet for real estate marketing, the e-pro designation provides REALTORS® with the tools to compete in an online environment.
LMC-Loss Mitigation Certification. Because of the increase in foreclosures, the LMC designation was designed to educate REALTORS® about the realities of dealing with banks regarding short-sales, helping clients avoid foreclosure, and selling banked owned properties (also known as REO’s).
There are also more obscure real estate designations out there. It is a good idea for a home buyer or home seller to understand what these designations mean so that they better understand the skills of the REALTOR® they are working with. While many real estate professionals may argue that their experience may preclude them from requiring a designation, there is still value to learning and its in their present and future client’s best interest.