Covering a wide-ranging course of study, the Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) is a little like a “bachelor’s degree” for Realtors®.
“These classes cover everything you need to know: legal and regulatory issues, technology, professional standards, marketing, business skills, the sales process, and risk management,” Greene said. “Plus, within the program there’s a lot of latitude to pick specific topics of interest. Want to know how to cut better deals? The GRI offers two negotiation classes. You can tailor the learning to fit your needs.”
Serving buyers better with an ABR
For those just beginning their careers, the real estate business is a buyer’s game. Greene explains: “When you’re a newer agent, you’ll attend open houses and other events where buyers gather. In fact, you’ll probably meet far more buyers than sellers. So, it makes sense to focus on them. Getting an Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation helps you hone skills for serving them. You’ll learn about your agency relationship to your clients, and your fiduciary obligations. You’ll understand the law and the Code of Ethics.”
“Lawsuits like this make it even more crucial that Realtors® fine tune how they approach the process,” Greene said. “Earning an ABR arms you with the knowledge to keep your business legally compliant and thriving.”
Mastering the game with a CRS
For Realtors® who are racking up sales and hitting their stride, the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is a Holy Grail well worth chasing. The highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, the CRS offers professional cache and an elite circle of connections.
“Earning the CRS is like having a master’s degree in real estate,” noted Greene. “But you have to have a certain degree of success before you can enter this course of training.”
NAR’s requirements for joining the CRS program are high. Applicants must have made 60 transactions or $30 million in sales volume over the last five years. Plus, they need 10 or more years as a licensed real estate agent and have a rich crop of transactions to show for it—at least 150 or an average of $1 million a year from a minimum of 40 transactions. Obviously, not the shallow end of the pool, but a rewarding achievement for elite swimmers in the real estate game.
Of course, the number of designations and certifications Realtors® can pursue is limited only by their business focus and aspirations. Beyond the Big 3, Greene’s top picks include:
Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE)
“Negotiating isn’t just a part of real estate, it’s a part of life,” Greene said. “We're negotiating all the time, with spouses, kids—anyone we have a common interest with. The better you are at negotiating, the more likely you are to succeed in business and everything you do.”
NAR’s GREEN Designation
“Many of today’s buyers are concerned about their home’s impact on the environment,” Greene observed. “They’re also looking for ways to save money over the long term by investing in clean energy like solar and other technologies. This designation arms you with the tools and resources to help your clients find their green dream home or transform the one they’re purchasing.”
Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS)
As a Realtor® in a booming metropolitan area, Greene noticed an increasing number of her clients were international. Apart from language barriers, she observed cultural differences that influence both business and personal relationships.
“When working with people from other countries, you need to be aware of different modes of communication. Ways of interacting that are perfectly acceptable to native Minnesotans might be confusing or even insulting to someone from another culture,” Greene said. “Earning a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation really heightened my awareness about the customs and mores of people from around the world. Because I’m more sensitive to their needs and sensibilities, I’m able to serve them better.”
Learn more about NAR’s Designations and Certifications
Both NAR and its partners provide training for Realtors® to earn designations in 24 different areas of skills and knowledge. You can learn more about each of these certifications by visiting the Designations & Certifications page at NAR’s website.