Home Selling in Cincinnati>Question Details

Ben,  in Cincinnati, OH

Do real estate designations that agents have really help the buyers and sellers?

Asked by Ben, Cincinnati, OH Sat Nov 27, 2010

Help the community by answering this question:


Thank you for asking this question.

I have been a realtor for 31 years and do not have many designations and have never been asked. There may have been business I did not get because of my lack of designations.

I have been representing sellers in the same geographical area for my entire carrear.

Because you asked, and because of the answers, I am going to start gathering designations. Can't hurt. May help. Not so much to get more business but to increase my knowledge in areas other than my little niech market.

As I gain more knowledge by becoming certified, I can be of better service to my clients.

Web Reference: http://www.SindyVerdugo.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
I think that, in general, it's the better agents who decide to take additional classes to begin with. I have met very good agents without designations and not so good agents with several designations but more often than not, the better agents have designations so why not start your search there.
Web Reference: http://JimSellsHomes.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 28, 2010
....only if they make for a better agent. There are many opportunities to educate and remain current - not all of them result in a designation. And as at least one prior poster pointed out, once earned, the designations often become money generating renewal sources for the providers. But a designation does indicate that the agent has made an investment in time and likely $$ to improve upon her knowledge and skills. And that is a good thing.

As with any resource, interview and check references.

Jeanne Feenick
Unwavering Commitment to Service
Web Reference: http://www.feenick.com
2 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Hi, The designations show that the agent has taken extra steps to be educated in a particular area. I for instance hold the ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) designation. It has gotten me more business because people can see that I have taken the step to further my knowledge of buyer representation. Alot of my clients like this because people are drawn to knowledge. There are also a ton of resources made available to agents in my network and we pass those benefits onto the client. The funny thing is most sellers/buyers don't even know what the designation means so it is up to the agents to explain and educate their clients on the benefits.


Christopher Pagli
Licensed Associate Broker
Accredited Buyer Representative
GREEN Designated Agent
Legends Realty Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
I am only guessing, but maybe you are asking this question because you have spoken to someone trying to sell you on THEIR experience/qualifications based on the designations that THEY hold. (a close second would be you might be an agent looking into investing your time and money into pursuing a designation and want to get an idea of what buyers, sellers, and agents think).

Continuing education always looks good on a resume. If someone takes the courses, learns something, and applies that knowledge to their business practices to make them more successful; THEN I would say yes. Unfortunately you can't judge someone's motivation or ability based solely on a title or designation.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
Knowledge is power! Yet you have to have EXperience to gain wisdom. So, get the designations that match your niche! Then you will be an EXpert!

Wisdom is far better than knowledge. Wisdom is good for both they who speak it and those who hear it." Jeremie Kubicek
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
Does an education help a lawyer? What about an accountant, does the CPA designation help? Realtors are professionals, just like lawyers and accountants. Designations and continuing education help them to hone their skills, it helps them expand the scope of their knowledge so they can better help you sell your house. Yes, we can acquire the knowledge without the designation and many of us do just that for many reasons, one is time, time spent sitting in a class room is less time spent out in the field helping clients. Another reason may be monitary, some designations require an annual fee to be paid and if clients do not see the value in keeping the designation as well as the education, then the agent may view these funds as being better spent elsewhere. Nevertheless, any education is always helpful in any profession, including real estate.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
No necessarily sure if the designations agents have really help the buyers and sellers however, designations certainly convey a commitment to their profession and a degree of experience. Regardless of whether or not they have a direct impact on their buyers and selelrs, a designation can imply that the agent had the commitment, determination, capability, and perseverence to complete the course. I believe the same probably goes for any profession. I'd rely more heavily on past transactions and referrals than the designations an agent has behind his or her name.
Web Reference: http://www.AQHomeLoan.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 3, 2010
BeachBrokerBill, elegantly stated. TU.

As an agent with substantial experience and few designations, I have no defense against agents with designations - the fact is, it is clear that they've done the coursework and, where necessary, maintained the membership.

Even the easiest ones to acquire require coursework that other agents haven't invested the time in taking, and while designations aren't the end-all and be-all, they're a heckuva tiebreaker!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010

In theory, there should be an amount of knowledge associated with any designation....but it the agent that has the ability to transulate this training experience into something that is beneficial to all parties that is most desirable.

In my opinion, it depends largely upon the individual agent.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
And it is your book that is most important when it comes to your decision. With that, you have gotten some great insights here. Good luck!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
The designations themselves are simply like boyscout patches. They help an agent differentiate themselves from those who don't have them. How the agent with the designations applies what was taught in those classes (and whether what was taught is relevant) will determine whether they truly help you as the consumer.

A whole list of acronyms behind a name does not make a great agent. Some will use them to overcompensate for other shortcomings. Sometimes life experience is the best teacher of all - but you won't see a NAR acronym or MBA/PhD designation for that.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Not the designations themselves, Ben, but they are indicators of the agent's education and experience.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
NO - they do not. Buyers and sellers alike do not know what they mean. In the grand scheme of things its a personal goal to better your knowledge and understanding of the buyer/seller atmosphere and engage accordingly. People look for an agent that can get the job done and be a pleasure to work with. One that tells them the truth about the process and closes the deal.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 14, 2014
Dear Ben,
I do think the designations are a benefit to clients, but more then that..they show the Agent is concerned about their profession . The effort it takes to spend the money and time to further your education speaks volumes about the values of that Agent.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
In my opinion it is more important to the professional. I know the difference for instance between a associate broker and a licensed salesperson in my state, do the clients and customers? I do not believe so. Many buyers and sellers in my market act as if they know it all and dont need any help. To me it is both funny and sad how the profession (Real Estate) has been reduced to a pass time like gardening or going to the beach(in the eyes of the public) while those who need guidence the most toil on their own or follow their own (misguided) beliefs against the advice of a professional. Lets ask a simple question does a professional in the market (where a client is located ) who has 50 plus transactions have something to offer some one new to the process?
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Dec 4, 2010
Yes. The designations indicate to potential clients, an agent's commitment to the industry and his/her willingness to learn and know everything possible about the industry and the particular market they serve.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
I believe agents that have designations show a commitment to their career and display that they are willing to put extra time into sharpening their skills. The things learned in the classes are often very valuable. The key is the agent has to implement what is learned. The type of designation is important. Some designations like the GRI take a tremendous amount of time. I took the classes over three years to earn the GRI designation. Find what is important to you and see what designation places emphasis on that item. The agent will likely be a better fit if they have taken the time to learn more about what is important to you. I just earned a new designation called the CNE - Certified Negotiation Expert. Hopefully clients that want an agent that excels in negotiation tactics will find that I have something of value to offer them by earning this designation. Ask questions about what the agent learned when they took the classes and how they implement the strategies learned into their business. If the agent can quickly answer those questions that agent probably has some valuable skills learned from the designation they can bring to the table.

On the flip-side...If we are busy selling homes (which is what you want in an agent) it is hard to find time to earn more designations. I tell my prospective clients to pick the agent they are most comfortable with in the end. Selling is very emotional and you should be in constant communication with your agent. You need to feel confident in their abilities and like the person you are working with!

Looking for an agent with designations is a good idea for a starting place. However, it doesn't matter how many letters are behind our name if we can't sell your house!

Clint Nabors, GRI, CNE
Cypress, TX
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 2, 2010
I think that it depends on the market the agent is working in. In addition to whether or not an agent has any designations I would suggest that you google the agent name, do a local/city neighborhood search and see how the agent info appears in your results.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 29, 2010
You know, the agents with a lot of designations just means that they took the time, effort and expenses to improve their knowledge. Day in Day out experience with buyers and sellers, and a solid knowledge of the markets they work in and a great connection with their clients, good regular communication with them, great negotiation skills and attention to detail are the most important attributes in a good Realtor. You also want a Realtor who has the time to take care of you personally and who does so with care and with YOUR interest in mind....

Always think how you select your family doctor, dentist, attorney..... you need to trust your Realtor and have a great relationship and good communication.

You want a Realtor who is honest and straightforward you want them to assess your property in today's market especially truthfully, you may not always like what you hear, but the market these days is what it is...
And in a Buyers Market a home is worth what a ready and willing buyer, approved to buy, is ready and willing to pay.... and with so many distressed properties out there, short sales and foreclosures, great competitive pricing and putting the home in its best positioning (staging, upgrading, painting etc.) is essential.

Good luck to you!
Edith YourRealtor4Life and Chicago Connection
Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Nov 29, 2010
Ben I have picked up some designations to show my experience and to keep up to date on the latestest changes in an easy manner.
The example that I will give you is my SFR. In gaining this designation the National Association of Realtors® recognised me as a short sale and forclosure resource. I performed my first short sale as a listing agent about 6 years ago. The loss mitigator for the lender at that time covered 3 states. My how things have changed!
As part of my certification I learned about the HARP program before it went into effect and was familiar with the guidelines the first day it could be used.

As for the forclosuer portion just plain old experience and learning over time what lenders will accept for additional clauses in contracts have helped my buyers. I have one very happy buyer who purchased a property with a 203k streamline loan in Wyoming Oh. Their purchase price was 165,000.00. They recently did a refinanace to lower their interest rate, no cash out. The appraised value of the home for the refi came back at 585,000.00. Must be something about the 18 ft ceilings and the 8 x 12 loft area in the master bedroom that helped the value but they were there when they bought the home.

So to make a long answer short designation may not show that someone knows more they just show that the person was serious about learning and showing that they had aquired the knowledge.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Nov 28, 2010
I believe that the more education an agent has, the more he or she can offer her clients. Real estate licensing courses deal primarily with legal issues, but don't train agents how to do their best to help clients. Some designations require extensive additional course work. Some are designed to keep up with current changes, both in the marketplace and the world of business in general. Keeping up with technology is vital in today's real estate climate, so that an e-Pro designation, for example, would indicate that an agent finds it important to keep up to date. The designations show an agent's commitment to improving on a professional level.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Earning a designation typically requires participation in a classroom environment. A side benefit for the agent is the interaction with other agents and exposure to new ideas. Education in any field is a plus.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Each one of those designations represents an agent's commitment to ongoing education in his, or her, chosen field, and as such, then YES, they really do help buyers and sellers. But it's not the designation itself that helps, but the commitment and the education that they represent.

The alphabet soup that follows our names means little to the public, and a bit more to our colleagues. But better an agent who has pursued more education as a Realtor or Agent, than the agent who has already decided that they will do only the bare bones minimum of what our continuing education state and federal requirement requires.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Alan May, Real Estate Pro in Evanston, IL
BeachBrokerBill - I would choose the one with the designations over the economics degree. An economics degree isn't very relevant in my book. Assuming all other things were the same after I met them both.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Great question and good answers. I've taken some of the Realtor designation classes and was able to display the letters after my name. However, one must continue to pay for the right each year to display those letters. So I've elected not to pay each year even though I have the credits. I've continue to take my real estate continued education classes at the college instead of on line, and currently working towards my broker license.

The saying is true, education is just entertainment unless put to use. An agent can have a sorts of designations, continued education, certifications, and so forth, if they are not putting them to use and have proven results they mean nothing to a buyer or seller.

Even the best agent can have bad results if their head and heart is not in the "game". My advice to buyers and sellers is to interview, get recommendations and referrals. Then select the agent/broker you feel you will best be able to communication to and who will best be able to facilitate your objective.
Web Reference: http://terrivellios.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Lebau has a really good point and it is an angle I need to leverage more on a daily basis - and might explain why salesy Realtors drive me nuts. It is about a discipline or perspective that a realtor is coming from. Sure classes can make a better Realtor, but that is only truly relative to the Realtor they were before they took the class. A bad and a good Realtor can both have the same designations and if that is how you grade them, there is no difference - but in reality there is a huge difference.

So Ben, a question back at you - how would you choose between 2 realtors both with 10 years experience - the one with the econ degree from a respectable university and no designations, or the one with no degree but with ABR, SFR, CRS, CNE behind their name?

BTW, I got my SFR certification online in 2 hours for $89. My econ degree took 6 years and many thousands of dollars.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
i personally would not want to work with a broker that does not have a good understanding of economics. i dont want to work with a salesperson. id rather work with an economist that just happens to be in real estate
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Thanks for the comment. The fact is that all of the factors mentioned make a good Realtor. Designations, training, etc. can only help us represent you better. The fact remains that skills like knowing your market area, negotiations, knowing the contract, etc. all beneift the buyers and sellers. A good agent has the required training, thinks outside the box and always has his/her client's interest at hand.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
In my opinion the answer is no. Agent designations no more help a buyer or seller than a college degree makes one better prepared educationally for his/her real job. Designations are simply a sign of an agent's desire to continue his/her education but are not an indication of competence, skills, knowledge or in many cases, even experience. To me, designations simply show a commitment to continue learning, not necessarily a commitment to better representation of a client.
Web Reference: http://www.phgbrokers.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Some good answers here especially Frank, Lyle and Jim. I agree that life experience is better than education only, but it is difficult for a buyer or seller to determine that. Since some of the designations like ABR and CRS require real world production they seem the best. I like the CNE too. Negotiation is very important. I know designations alone don't make a great agent but it seems like the both designations and experience make a better agent than experience or designations on their own.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Perhaps, but these designations are very easy to obtain compared with an MBA in business or a PhD in a certain field.

The education and testing it becomes to be a real estate Broker, although still not equal to an MBA or PhD, is more intense than any of these real estate designations. If you're looking for a highly educated agent, look for an Associate-Broker. Meaning they have their brokers license but work as an agent under an office broker.

Most importantly, look your prospective Realtor up online at your state division of professional regulation. There you will be able to see if their license is up-to-date, if they have any complaints and how long they've had a license in that state.

Finally, ask them what makes them stand out. What tools or edge does their designation give them to better assist buyers or sellers.

To recap:
-Look for a Broker or Broker-Associate
-Check them out online to see how many years they've been in business
-Ask them what edge or tools they have that will really help you as a buyer or seller
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010

When real estate agents get designations the designations are earned through taking specialized training, often a test and in some cases production requirements.

Some designations are endorsed and promoted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) such as: e-Pro-Online Marketing, SFR-Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource, ABR-Accredited Buyers Representative, SRES-Seniors Real Estate Specialist, GRI-Graduate Realtor Institute, CRS-Certified Residential Specialist, CIPS - Certified International Property Specialist and others. These designations may be the result of anywhere from 9 to 90+ hours of instruction. Some designations such as the CRS and the ABR have production requirements demonstrating a minimum number of closes real estate sales.

Some designations are issued by private companies with no affiliation to the NAR. The quality of the training requirements for these designations can vary considerably. Some are very good such as (in my opinion) the CDPE-Certified Distressed Property Expert, EcoBroker Certification and ASP-Accredited Staging professional. Many others involve little real training and mostly the exchange of money for a certificate.

The bottom line is that agents possessing the designations I have mentioned above may have a level of knowledge in the areas specified that is beyond that of the majority of agents without designations. I would give preference to working with those agents.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Yes it does prove the agent did extra schooling but the real test you want to see it. EXPERIENCE!! Would you want a to be a doctors first heart surgery, or lawyers first court case? I think NOT! Make sure your agent has sold a couple homes in the last month or 2. The average agent in Cincinnati sells less than 5 homes per year! I have so many designations that I don't even list them any more. I have been recently awarded a designation BMA. It means I bust my _____ to get the job done!
Web Reference: http://www.KevinDuffy.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
Hi Ben,
I have multiple designations and the way that I look at it is that it is more training to help better service the buyers and sellers. For example, I have an ABR and the is an Accredited Buyer's Agent. The training that I have helps me to better service a buyer. I have many other designations and have been very successful in this busiess. But, it does come down to the agent and the broker in terms of using what they learned to help better service you. Please email me if you have any other questions.

Frank Dolski MBA, ABR, e-PRO
Associate Broker
Cartus Certified Relocation Specialist
Coldwell Banker Hearthside Realtors
215-794-1070 x103
Web Reference: http://www.FrankDolski.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Nov 27, 2010
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