When you’re choosing a REALTOR® to represent your interests as a buyer, your choice should be based on strong recommendations from a reliable source about your prospective agent’s attention to detail and communication skills.
You will likely rely a lot on your own instinct, too, to decide whether you are compatible with a particular agent and will feel that he is someone you can trust.
One more step you can take is to understand your REALTOR®’s training. In fact, the first step is to check that your sales agent is indeed a REALTOR®, which means she is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and therefore adheres to NAR’s code of ethics.
Designations REALTORS® Hold
While all licensed real estate agents must meet the minimum requirements of their state laws, you may also have noticed a string of letters attached to the REALTOR®’s name on a business card. These abbreviations mean that the agent has taken additional courses, has documented experience and has passed a test to earn a particular designation. The following list of designations shows the most common designations and what they mean to you as a buyer.
ABR—Accredited Buyer Representative: As a buyer, you may want to look for someone with this designation since it means the agent has taken a course in buyer representation, passed the test and has extensive experience with buyers.
ABRM—Accredited Buyer Representative Manager: This designation is for brokers, owners and managers who have documented experience and education managing agents who represent buyers.
ALC—Accredited Land Consultant: If you’re looking for land to build a custom home, you may want to consider this type of specialist.
CIPS—Certified International Property Specialist: If you want to buy overseas or you’re from another country and want to buy in the United States, a CIPS designation means the REALTOR® has specialized in the international marketplace.
CRB—Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager: This designation means that the broker or owner of a real estate company has completed advanced classes and has extensive experience.
CRE—Counselor of Real Estate: Membership in this elite group of REALTORS® is by invitation only to professionals with extensive experience.
CRS—Certified Residential Specialist: If you want a REALTOR® with more experience and access to a network of other highly successful agents, you may want to look for one with a CRS who therefore has advanced training as a listing agent and buyers’ agent.
Green Designation: Buyers interested in finding an environmentally friendly home can work with an agent with a green designation who has more knowledge about this type of dwelling.
GRI—Graduate REALTOR® Institute: Graduates of the REALTOR® Institute have received extensive additional education related to residential real estate.
MRP—Military Relocation Professional: This certification emphasizes experience and education with current and former military personnel and their families.
RSPS—Resort & Second-Home Markets Certification: If you’re in the market for a vacation home, look for an agent with this certification.
SRES—Seniors Real Estate Specialist: REALTORS® with this designation have expertise meeting the needs of buyers and sellers over age 50.
Your choice of a REALTOR® should be based on interviews and research, but you can also check on their designations to see whether their experience and education meets your needs as a buyer.