Real Estate

Level Up! Grow Your Skills With Designations And Certifications

If you are looking to niche down your business and learn to be an expert, there is a designation or certification out there to help support your education. Rachael Hite breaks down your options so that you can fast-forward your professional development.

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After the frenzy of the past few years, for many agents, this slowdown can feel odd, a little anxious and certainly uncomfortable. If you have never worked in a slower market, you may be wondering what to do with your time. Leaning into your education or working on your craft can give you something to focus on that is both positive and practical. 

Your best source for learning about designations is the National Association of Realtors and your local and state associations. You will find all of the designations available to you for in-person and online training there.

Designations can be free, a one-time fee or an annual fee to maintain. Make sure that when you research what designations you want to earn that you factor in the costs of carrying the additional branding into your marketing plan.

What is a free designation that I can get started with?

If it’s been a while since you’ve had time even to consider a designation, or it’s your first, a great place to start is one that’s available through NAR that will improve your overall customer service skills. Your local association may have issued a challenge at some point to complete this class.

The C2EX designation will sharpen your skill set and improve your marketing compliance. You will find this course helpful and inspiring. The perfect motivational boost to gain back some mojo in your business.

What designations will show consumers I mean business?

All of the designations pack a punch, but the ones that require a larger commitment of time and resources on your part will offer marketing tools for you to use with consumers in your presentations.

The GRI, CRS and ABR are designed to help you show consumers that you are an expert, and they require that you have the sales track record to prove it.

GRI or Graduate of Realtor Institute: Earning the Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation is a way to stand out to prospective homebuyers and sellers as a Realtor who has gained in-depth market knowledge and increased proficiency in a broad array of subjects to enhance professionalism and business success.

CRS or Certified Residential Specialist: The CRS designation is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers and brokers. On average, CRS designees earn nearly three times more in income, transactions and gross sales than non-designee Realtor.

ABR or Accredited Buyer Representatives: The Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) designation is designed for real estate buyer’s agents who focus on working directly with buyer-clients at every stage of the homebuying process.

Other noteworthy designations

Although the list of options to choose from is long and varied, here are just a few more essentials that I would recommend.

Digital Social Media: The RRC Digital Marketing: Social Media certification is for real estate professionals who want to develop expertise with social media resources and the sites that are an essential part of today’s digital marketing mix, whether you are promoting your business or the properties you represent.

At Home with Diversity or AHWD : Learn to work effectively with — and within — today’s diverse real estate market. The At Home With Diversity certification teaches you how to conduct your business with sensitivity to all client profiles and build a business plan to serve them successfully.

If you are looking to niche down your business and learn to be an expert, there is a designation or certification out there to help support your education. From land to green energy to property management, there are many resources available to you to help your career. 

Take advantage of your time and level up your education and knowledge base to stand out in a crowd. In a market where there is so much negativity and confusion circulating, having education and a smart fact in your back pocket is worth its weight in gold.

Rachael Hite sold real estate in Virginia and West Virginia for seven years with a specialization in short sales and foreclosures. She has been an office manager, an agent, mortgage marketing consultant and continuing education trainer for agents since 2012. She currently specializes in private business development and digital marketing services for top-producing agents and businesses in the housing industry.

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