What to Consider When Choosing a REALTOR®

realtor and coupleWhen 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.

17 thoughts on “What to Consider When Choosing a REALTOR®

  1. Maggie Allen

    Wow, I had no idea that there would be so many designations that a realtor could hold in their career! I figured that there might be certifications for people who specialize in residential buildings, like the CRS, but I didn’t think there was much more than that! When my husband and I start looking for a realtor, we’ll definitely make sure that they have a few of these. Hopefully they will help us narrow down our search quickly as well!

  2. Jasper Whiteside

    I have seen many of these short acronyms showing the realtors designations. I didn’t know what they meant or what to look for. After reading this list, I have a better idea about what kind of realtor would fit me the best. I would probably choose an ALC realtor.

  3. Dennis Sanchez

    Thank you for the terrific article. I particularly liked what you said about how you should 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. My best friend is moving across town and is looking for a trustworthy agent. I definitely agree that the only way he’ll feel completely comfortable with an agent, is if he meets with him and feels like they are compatible. Thanks for the advice.

  4. Greg Smith

    My wife and I have been living in our parents basement for the last 6 years. We thought it was about time to move out and try and find a place for ourselves. After reading this article I feel better prepared to find a realtor. I liked the tip about getting a realtor with a green designation. I’ve always been interested in living in a green home. Thanks for the info.

  5. Luke Smith

    Thanks for your advice that some realtors have additional credentials above and beyond the minimum requirements of their state laws. Knowing what the abbreviations you list here mean would definitely help choose a realtor. I am sure that asking friends and relatives for referrals would also help find a reliable option.

    1. admin Post author

      Your welcome Luke, glad it can help and yes having those credentials is a big key as it shows the REALTOR went above and beyond to improve their business through education

  6. Scott

    I had no idea that ABR means the realtor has taken a course that has given them experience with dealing with buyers. I can see why this would be good to look for when hiring someone as your realtor. I am looking to sell my house next summer. I’ll definitely be on the look out for this.

  7. Zachary Tomlinson

    I like that you said that you should understand realtor training and certification. I think that it’s important to find a realtor who is certified and also cares about your specific wants and needs. You shouldn’t feel like you are just making them money, in my opinion; to me, you should feel like they are serving you.

  8. Olivia Nelson

    I agree that you would want to consider a realtor’s training when you are looking to sell your home. I would imagine that it would be really important to consider your real estate agent’s training before you choose one. I’m looking for someone to help list my home so I’ll have to find one who is well trained.

    1. admin Post author

      Hi Olivia, glad you found the article helpful and yes their training/knowledge is definitely a key asset to look for in selecting a REALTOR as it is a very complex process, so the more knowledge and experience they have, the more likely things will go smoothly and your interests are protected.

  9. Ben Allen

    I appreciate the information on things to consider when choosing a realtor. I agree that it is so important to find a realtor based on strong recommendations from others you trust and know. I would imagine that you can really learn a lot about a realtor by asking people who have worked with the realtor. My mom is looking to use a realtor to sell her home. I will be sure to share this information with her.

  10. Olivia Nelson

    I agree that understanding a realtor’s training is important when you are hiring one. It would seem important to look into their qualifications and their education to be sure they are properly able to help you. I’m looking for a realtor to help me buy some land so I’ll have to find one that is properly trained.


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