Have you ever wondered what those letters and acronyms at the end of a real estate agent’s name signify? Typically, those letters, those agent designations, typically mean that an agent has undergone some special additional education and training to gain or enhance her knowledge, skills, and proficiency in one (or more) arena of real estate. But what does that mean for you as a real estate buyer or seller? Well, let’s take a look at some New Jersey real estate designations and certifications and what they mean for you.
Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
The Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) is one of the most important New Jersey real estate agent designations/certifications because it gives an agent “advanced expertise in, and exposure to, the largest-growing market in real estate.” If you’re over 50 years old, you’ll want to look for these letters affixed to your agent’s name.
The SRES designation is for agents who specialize in working with “individuals or couples who are 50-plus in age,” and it is the best designation for agents who want to work with that demographic. “Agents who earn it understand the needs of mature Americans who want to sell, buy, relocate, refinance, or invest.”
This designation “helps the agent target and serve the largest-growing market of real estate buyers and sellers. . . . The course teaches information that the average realtor is highly unlikely to know, like the Housing for Older Persons Act, the pros and cons of reverse mortgages, and how to use pensions, 401(K) accounts, and IRAs in real estate transactions.”
If you’re over 50, this could definitely benefit you. To discover more agents with the SRES designation, contact a New Jersey agency at (908) 320-7995.
Seller Representative Specialist (SRS)
If you’re a seller, you’ll want to be sure to look for the SRS next to your agent’s name. The SRS designation is one of the top agent designations for agents who specialize in selling real estate. Awarded by the Real Estate Business Institute, which is a subsidiary of the NAR, the SRS designation indicates that an agent has “has demonstrated a deeper knowledge of, and skill set for, how to effectively sell a home.”
During the required training for the SRS designation, agents “learn proven methods to grow their business by acquiring more listings. They accomplish this by learning how to sell the value they bring to a home seller and how to comply with state license laws when representing sellers.” They have to document “three completed transactions in which they acted solely as a seller representative, complete the 12-hour SRS course . . . and complete one of the SRS elective courses.”
So if you’re a seller and you see those three letters, you can know you’re in good hands.
Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR)
This is the other side of the fence when it comes to real estate agent designations. The ABR designation “is considered the benchmark of excellence in buyer representation in the industry.”
It “is for agents who prefer to work directly with clients at every step of the process in their quest for buying a home. An Accredited Buyer’s Representative seeks to protect the interests of the buyer and assist with the negotiation process. The designation demonstrates [a] commitment to providing superior service for real estate buyers.”
So if you are on the buying end of real estate, these are the letters to look for: ABR.
Military Relocation Professional (MRP)
And there are real estate agent designations for agents who want to work with military personnel, in particular the MRP designation. It is “the best designation for agents working near military installations because it can help [them] stand out as a trusted and knowledgeable resource for the millions of active-duty personnel and veterans who have unique needs when they are buying or selling a home.”
If an agent has the MRP designation, you can know that she “specializes in the timetables, needs, and stressors specific to military families when they need to relocate.” This is knowledge and expertise that your run-of-the-mill agent doesn’t have. “The MRP certification emphasizes educating professionals in real estate about working with current and former military service members to find housing solutions that take full advantage of military benefits and relocation programs.”
Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource (SFR)
If you happen to be a distressed seller, then this is the most important of the agent designations for your situation – the SFR. It indicates that an agent has been trained to specialize in short sales and foreclosures and has learned to be “more of a consultive resource than just a salesperson helping . . . with a transaction.”
An agent with the SFR designation has completed specialized training and coursework and has learned “how to direct distressed sellers to the proper finance, tax, and legal professionals, qualify them for short sales, develop a short-sale package, negotiate with lenders on their behalf, tap into buyer demand, limit risk for everyone involved, [and] protect the buyers.” These are all important considerations for distressed sellers – who are becoming more common today.
A Final Word on Agent Designations
When agents earn designations/certifications they typically list them on all their marketing materials – websites, business cards, newsletters, and so on. But it’s not just a matter of marketing. More important, real estate agent designations/certifications indicate that an agent has specialized and targeted education, training, and skills to help specific clients in specific (sometimes difficult) buying/selling scenarios.