When choosing a real estate sales agent to represent you in a sales transaction, you may wonder what the initials are behind an agent’s name. Familiar initials are GRI, CRS or ABR. There are also words, such as Realtors, Designated Broker or Associate Broker. But what do they mean, and what do they mean to the client?
The first familiar word is Realtor, which can sometimes even be confusing to real estate sales agents who are just entering the profession. Not every licensed real estate sales agent is a Realtor. A Realtor is a member of a professional association, which has been created to promote a higher code of ethics for its members.
A Broker or Associate Broker starts out as a sales agent. In Arizona, you must have three years experience as a licensed sales agent before you can aspire to be a Broker. Those who earn their Broker’s license must completed specific extensive education requirements and past state tests. After earning your Broker’s license, you may choose to be a Designated Broker (DB) or Associate Broker. Sales agents must work under a Designated Broker, who is in essence “the boss”. If you are an Associate Broker, you also work under a Designated Broker. Many sales agents decide to progress to Broker for the education, and have no intentions of becoming a Designated Broker.
GRI stands for Graduate of Realtor Institute. It is a designation developed for members of the National Association of Realtors, and is offered through state associations. To earn the designation requires 90 hours of coursework on various topics, such as marketing and real estate law. The classes, which can be used to fulfill the agent’s ongoing education requirements, tend to be more extensive and require testing, unlike standard continuing education courses.
CRS stands for Council of Residential Specialists. This designation is considered the highest awarded to a sales associate in the residential field. To qualify requires recognizing both education and experience.
ABR stands for Accredited Buyer Representative, and focuses on training for buyer’s agents. The applicant must fulfill both requirements of education and experience, and must pay an annual membership fee.
SRES stands for Senior Real Estate Designation. This designation is earned by Realtors who complete coursework on how to best meet the needs of homebuyers in the 50+ age group.
There is a wide range of designations and certifications, many of which require good standing membership in the Realtor Association. It is not uncommon for a commercial real estate agent to not be a member of the Realtor Association. There are a variety of designations that may or may not be sanctioned by the Realtor Association.
Many required classes, either to fulfill continuing education requirements, or to complete a designation or certification course, may help the agent better serve their clients. The next time you choose a real estate sales agent, check out their initials and titles, to determine which agent might better serve your needs.