What do the letters behind a real estate agent's name stand for?
Real estate agents, like doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, can earn designations, certifications, and other credentials. These are usually shown by putting a series of initials after the agent’s name. The most common tags and certifications are Broker, REALTOR, e-Pro, CHMS, GRI, ABR, and CRS.
What do the letters behind a real estate agent’s name stand for? Real estate agents, like doctors, lawyers, and other professionals, can earn designations, certifications, and other credentials. These are usually shown by putting a series of initials after the agent’s name. The most common tags and certifications are Broker, REALTOR, e-Pro, CHMS, GRI, ABR, and CRS.
What does an agent have to do to obtain the designation or certification?
E-Pro requires an agent to take a class on basic computer skills. It has no real estate content but ensures your agent can use email and the web. It should be a bare minimum bar for the technical aptitude of your agent.
REALTOR is one of the more accessible credentials to obtain (but one of the hardest to live up to). A real estate agent belongs to the National Association of REALTORS and agrees to follow the Realtor Code of Ethics. You can read about the code here http://www.realtor.org/mempolweb.nsf/pages/Code?OpenDocument
A broker is a bit harder to obtain than REALTOR. In Texas, for example, a broker license is required to be able to operate your own real estate company. An agent must have their support for two years and complete over 600 hours of real estate education before applying for a broker’s license. The broker’s license is granted upon completing an exam administered by the state. Brokers are real estate agents with advanced education.
GRI stands for Graduate Realtor Institute. Less than 50% of agents have this designation. The GRI requires 12 days of continuing education with passing grades on three exams. No production or time requirements exist, so an agent can earn this designation by sitting in class for 12 days and passing the tests. This designation is in no way a measure of real estate sales experience.
ABR stands for Accredited Buyer’s Representative. Less than 30% of agents have this designation. This designation combines two days of classroom work and an exam requiring the agent to show proof of at least five buyer sales. This designation indicates that the agent has had both formal classroom time and field experience.
CRS stands for Certified Residential Specialist. Less than 4% of all agents have this designation. This is the most challenging designation to obtain and is a measure of a high degree of formal education and real-world transactional experience. To get a CRS, the agent must attend three 2-day classes, pass three exams, and provide proof of 25 closed transactions within the last 24 months. While the transaction experience isn’t considerable, it does weed out the inexperienced agents, and the classes weed out those not dedicated to continuing education.
Other designations are out there, but for the most part, they are issued by inconsequential groups, have no real bearing on the agent’s abilities, and are used more for marketing purposes than anything else.