What are all the possible accreditations an agent can get, and what do they mean?

Asked by Amallard, Palo Alto, CA Tue Oct 2, 2012

I tried asking this yesterday but I phrased it wrongly so the answers weren't what I needed. I know accreditations don't necessarily translate to a great agent. But I would like to know WHAT are the POSSIBLE accreditations and what do they mean? I see agents with lists of acronyms after their names and would like to know what are the major accreditations an agent could get.

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+ web reference
Web reference:


Juliana Lee, Agent, Palo Alto, CA
Wed Oct 3, 2012
CRS = Certified Residential Specialist
GRI = Graduate Real Estate Institute
e-Pro = "Internet" training approved by National Association of Realtors
CLHMS = Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist
SRES = Senior Real Estate Specialist
SHS = Senior Housing Specialist
CBR = Certified Buyers Representative
SRS = Seller Representative Specialist
RRS = Registered Relocation Specialists
CRP = Certified Relocation Professional
CIPS = Certified International Property Specialist
ALHS = Accredited Luxury Home Specialist

There are probably more not listed than what I've listed, but these are all fairly common.

Juliana Lee = the real estate agent you want to call
MBA = Master of Business Administration
LLB = law degree
KW = Keller Williams
650-857-1000 = The phone number to reach a great real estate agent
Web Reference:  http://www.julianalee.com
3 votes

You are a gem! Thanks so much for clarifying this for me -- enormously helpful. And I love your definition for yourself. Too funny.

Thanks again for taking the time.

Flag Wed Oct 3, 2012
The Medford…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Oct 3, 2012
To be honest, I think everyone fully understood your other question. The fact that they did not give you the answer you wanted reflects most Realtor’s opinions of designations. And you need to differentiate between designations and accreditations:

Designations refer to the letters you see behind a Realtor’s name – they’ve take classes/courses and ‘earned’ the designation much like taking college classes that earn you a specific degree.

Example: Carl Medford, CRS – means I have earned the CRS designation (it’s not easy to get)

Here are a couple of comprehensive lists of designations:


Accreditations are different – they are typically certificates give out after taking specific short training classes – they certify that you’ve taken the classes and are now accredited or affiliated with a specific organization. They don’t carry the weight of a designation.

Some Realtors take designations VERY seriously. Others … not so much.
1 vote
Elena Talis, Broker, Palo Alto, CA
Wed Oct 3, 2012
The answers to your original question reflect the attitude of real estate professional towards these designations. If you are really interested in the meaning of these 3-4 letter abbreviations - google them.
Web Reference:  http://talisrealestate.com
1 vote

I have to say I'm a bit surprised by the tone of your reply as I understand that accreditation isn't necessarily meaningful. Obviously my first step was to google them, but I got a host of unclear answers that way since many acronyms have multiple meanings and definitions. I was simply curious then if there were any major/key accreditations that were common or worth understanding. If the answer is, essentially, no -- every single accreditation is meaningless and has no value, then so be it. I'm surprised then that agents bother pursuing them at all. But I think it's a fair question and not entirely worthy or a sharp reply.
Flag Wed Oct 3, 2012
Carol and Ni…, Agent, Menlo Park, CA
Sun Oct 21, 2012
There are many different types of accreditations and designations for residential real estate agents. The most important is that the person you hire be a Realtor (c) which means that they subscribe to the National Association of Realtors' Code of Ethics. Most of the local real estate professionals do carry this designation.

The next question you might consider is whether or not the agent has a sales license or a broker's license. Obtaining a broker's license requires additional education and passing a different licensing test. Some sales licensees choose not to get this designation because it is not their intent to function as a broker. Though a Realtor may not be a broker, this does not mean that they are less effective as a real estate practitioner.

There are many other designations. Here are a few that are commonly seen in our local area:
CRS - Certified Residential Specialist which requires completion of some high level coursework
GRI - Graduate of the Real Estate Institute - also requiring some high level coursework
CIPS - Certified International Property Specialist
e-Pro - a class requiring proficiency on basic computer skills
QSC - Quality Service Certification that emphasizes service, accountability and professionalism
SRES - Senior Real Estate Specialist that includes training on working with clients over the age of 55

There are other designations as well, but these are the ones that are more common in our local area.

The most important consideration is finding someone who will keep your interests paramount and who will serve you with enthusiasm and integrity. If you are looking for a Realtor a good way is to ask your circle of friends and colleagues for a recommendation. You can also check on sites such as Yelp.
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