The consumer surely must wonder what all the characters following real estate agents name mean, so here is a blog re-post that may shed some light on deciphering those letters that may lead to choosing a REALTOR that's up to the task.
Most people don't give a second thought to initials following the names of medical doctors (MD), accountants (CPA), professors (Ph.D.), and nurses (RN) because we're accustomed to seeing them used.
Initials indicating membership in professional organizations and advanced training for real estate agents are less familiar, however, so consumers are not always sure what they indicate. While it's perfectly okay for you to ask your agent about any unfamiliar terms, including the initials following their name, here's a tutorial to help you make sense of the alphabet soup of various REALTOR® designations:
ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative)
The ABR designation indicates membership in the Real Estate Buyer's Agent Council and advanced training for agents who work primarily with buyers.
CCIM (Certified Commercial Investment Member)
The CCIM designation indicates membership in the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute and expertise in commercial real estate brokerage.
CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist)
The CIPS designation indicates membership in the National Association of REALTORS® and advanced training in worldwide real estate customs and laws.
CRB (Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager)
The CRB designation indicates membership in the Real Estate Brokerage Manager's Council and advanced training in real estate management.
CRS (Certified Residential Specialist)
The CRS designation indicates membership in the Residential Sales Council and advanced training in residential real estate.
The E-PRO designation indicates membership in the National Association of REALTORS® and advanced training in social media and Internet technology.
GRI (Graduate, REALTOR® Institute)
The GRI designation indicates membership in the National Association of REALTORS® and advanced training in real estate principles.
LTG (Leadership Training Graduate)
The LTG designation indicates membership in the Women's Council of REALTORS® and coursework focused on career improvement and individual goal attainment.
PMN (Performance Management Network)
The PMN designation indicates membership in the Women's Council of REALTORS® and replaces the LTG designation.
SIOR (Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS®)
The SIOR designation indicates membership in the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® and accomplishments in industrial and office real estate.
The most important designation of all is REALTOR®.
While the terms real estate agent and REALTOR® are sometimes used interchangeably, it's very important to understand that all real estate agents are not REALTORS®.
The term REALTOR® indicates that the individual is a member in good standing of the National Association of REALTORS®, their State Association of REALTORS®, and their Local Association of REALTORS®. All REALTOR® are licensed real estate agents in their state, but all licensed real estate agents are NOT members of these associations. Confused? The difference is huge, but simple to understand.
National Association of REALTORS® is a professional organization of real estate licensees who are dedicated to the highest level of integrity and service in their business practices. Members are bound by a Code of Ethics which is updated annually to address changes in laws, customs and technology.
Some real estate professionals who have earned professional designations do not display them.
While many agents proudly display their professional designations, others are concerned that consumers may be confused or intimidated by this alphabet soup of letters. Still other agents may have completed the training but don't consider it a priority to invest limited time and resources in the sponsoring organizations. Additionally, there are other resources for advanced training that do not offer a "professional training", including most technology training.
Ask your agent what advanced training they have, as well as professional designations they've earned and what professional license they hold. They'll be happy to tell you.