5 Most Popular NAR Designations for Realtors

How can you stand out in your market when every single real estate agent has the same real estate license?

Sure, you can work harder, create a more compelling marketing plan, or have more connections in your sphere. But those intangibles are difficult to convey to buyers and sellers at a glance. 

This is where professional designations from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) come in. 

What Is a NAR Designation?

NAR designations are specialized credentials for licensed REALTORS. By completing a NAR designation program, you learn more about your target market. And you get to add a “postnominal” to your name (you know, the abbreviations you see on agent email signatures like Jane Doe, ABR®). This establishes instant credibility and can differentiate you from other agents in the minds of buyers and sellers. 

But which designation(s) should you pursue? And how do you get started? And is it worth the time, effort, and cost? We’ll answer all of those questions for you in this article!

The 5 Most Common NAR Designations

These five popular NAR designations are a strong starting point for any REALTOR. 

1. Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®)

If you’re mainly interested in representing home buyers in real estate transactions, consider becoming an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR). Buyers will know they’re in good hands when they see you have advanced skills and training to help them find their dream home. 

With your ABR designation, you’ll gain access to members-only publications, marketing tools, and resources. You'll also gain additional networking opportunities, which can increase referrals. 

To qualify, you must show five completed transactions as the buyer’s representative. 

2. Seller Representative Specialist (SRS)

If you would prefer to represent sellers, consider the Seller Representative Specialist (SRS) designation. Sellers can hire you with confidence, knowing that you have specialized training in listing and marketing.  

Through this designation, you’ll learn how to increase your listings, grow your business, and attract new clients. You also will have access to members-only resources and services. 

To qualify, you must show three completed transactions as the seller's representative. 

3. Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI)

If you recently earned your real estate license, you may have a few questions about how to get your business off the ground. The Graduate, REALTOR Institute (GRI) designation program teaches the ins and outs of the industry. 

You’ll get in-depth training in legal and regulatory issues, technology, and the sales process. This provides a good knowledge base for running a successful real estate business. And it helps you stand out to both buyers and sellers. 

4. Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)

The Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation was created for highly ambitious REALTORS. It signifies that you are among the elite residential real estate agents or brokers.  

NAR reports that CRS designees earn nearly three times more income on average than non-designee REALTORS!

There are two paths to this designation, depending on your years of experience and time commitment. Each path has volume requirements to limit the number of agents who qualify. The 60/30/30 Path requires you to have completed 60 transactions or $30 million in sales volume in the last three years. The Pro Path requires 10 years as a licensed real estate professional, plus 150 transactions (or $1 million in sales volume each year in the last 10 years+ with at least 40 transactions).

5. Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®)

Seniors face unique issues when buying and selling a home. As sellers, they may have a strong emotional attachment to their homes, and as buyers, they may be dealing with a limited income. Make sure you know how to get the best deal for your 50-and-older clients by earning your Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation. 

As baby boomers continue to retire and make major lifestyle changes, there is high demand from this demographic. Make sure you’re ready for these generational real estate trends with the SRES.

How to Earn a Designation   

Any NAR member in good standing is eligible to pursue a designation program. However, certain programs have prerequisites, such as sales volume.  

Qualified REALTORS can enroll in designation programs through the NAR website. Simply enroll, pay the program fees, complete the coursework, and pass any required exams to earn your designation.  

Benefits of Getting a NAR Designation

In most cases, you can expect the following benefits from your NAR designation:

  • A competitive advantage over agents without a designation.

  • Specialized knowledge, tools, and resources.

  • Increased networking opportunities.

  • A potential increase in referrals from out-of-area REALTORS.

The time, effort, and cost vary by designation program. In general, programs take between a few days and a few weeks to complete. And they can cost a few hundred dollars. But with the benefits received from these credential programs, the investment is often well worth it!

Get Your Real Estate License and Continue Your Education With Aceable

NAR designation programs can help you niche down and stand out. However, you still need a solid real estate education before pursuing these credentials. 

Aceable offers state-approved online real estate courses to help you earn your real estate license, as well as continuing education courses to help you keep your license active. We even have professional training courses to help you grow your real estate business along the way!

Want to get your Real Estate License? Begin your Pre-Licensing Course today!

Get Started Now!

Updated 12/21/23

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