Not all of the best real estate agents have a string of designations after their names, but many of the best do. Here is a summary of some common real estate agent designations

Designations to look for:

ABR: Accredited Buyer Representative
This accreditation helps teach real estate agents on how to better service buyers. The ABR designation can be obtained after completing a two-day course and passing the exam at the end of the course. After successful completion of the course and exam, the agent must fulfill the required educational and experience requirements over a three-year period to become an ABR® Designee. See the video here for Why Consumers Should Hire an ABR®:

GRI: Graduate Realtor® Institute
This specific accreditation is earned by less than 5 percent of Realtors®. Three courses are required in order for a real estate agent to receive this accreditation. The courses cover a wide variety of topics including sales, professional standards, technology, and legal issues. A GRI designated agent accreditation means that they have met stringent performance and educational requirements in order to service you better.

CRS: Certified Residential Specialist
This designation is considered to be one of the highest designations a Realtor® can earn in the residential field. Less than 4 percent of Realtors® hold a CRS designation. Experienced Realtors® can earn their CRS by completing advanced training in listing and selling and also by meeting other intensive requirements. A CRS designated agent is knowledgeable about all aspects of residential real estate and has gone the extra mile to learn how to assist you in purchasing your dream home.

SRES: Senior Real Estate Specialist
The SRES designation means that an agent has learned how to counsel senior clients (over the age of 55) through major financial and lifestyle transitions involved in relocating, refinancing, selling the family home, buying rental property, or managing the capital gains and tax implications of owning real estate. A Seniors Real Estate Specialist can offer you relevant information on current trends in senior real estate transactions, and can refer you to other professionals such as attorneys and C.P.A.s who also have specialty interest in senior clientele issues.

CIPS: Certified International Property Specialist
This specific designation is awarded to individuals who have experience in international real estate transactions and have completed a rigorous seven-day program that focuses on all aspects of international real estate transactions. A CIPS designated agent can provide you expertise and knowledge for your international real estate purchase from providing you with regional market trends to currency exchange rates and tax information.

e-PRO: Certification for Internet Professionalism
This is the only technology certification program that is offered by the National Association of Realtors®. It helps real estate agents learn how to work and market more efficiently on the Internet. A real estate agent with this certification can offer you the latest Internet tools that can help find your dream home with less hassle by promptly providing you with listings, online tours and neighborhood reports via e-mail.

CEBA: Certified Exclusive Buyer Agent
This accreditation is only offered by this group’s national association, and is limited to agents who are within exclusive buyers agent companies. The  requirements for this accreditation include being licensed for a minimum of two years, closing a minimum of 12 transactions while in an EBA firm, completing 18 hours of coursework, passing an exam.  Exclusive buyer agent’s with this designation shows their extreme dedication to representing buyers.

As a side note, the word Realtor® is a trademarked word that means that the real estate professional belongs to the National Association of Realtors®.   Most real estate professionals are Realtors® in the United States because this membership is often tied to access to the local multiple listing service and awarded designations.

Kathleen Chiras is the associations manager and web manager for the Colorado Exlusive Buyer Agents Association.