Wednesday, April 17, 2024

5 continuing education courses tailor-made for 2024

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As we step into 2024, real estate agents are finding it increasingly necessary to transparently demonstrate their value to consumers, emphasizing ethical conduct, expert guidance, and a commitment to safeguarding clients’ best interests.

One way to set yourself apart from other professionals in the real estate industry and demonstrate to the market that you have specialized education, knowledge and expertise in a particular niche market is by earning a designation or certification.

As an author of numerous continuing education courses and a contributing author to the Keller Williams inaugural diversity certification course, Agent of Distinction, I’ve done my fair share of research on which designations and certifications truly enhance a real estate agent’s business.

Given the vast number of real estate designations and certifications offered by associations, training organizations and real estate brokerages, it’s hard to know which may be best for you. Here, we’ve gathered five designations and certifications that you should consider in 2024.

1. Accredited Buyer Representative

Now is the time to get back to the basics and clearly demonstrate and articulate your value to buyers. The Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation remains highly relevant. Awarded by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), the ABR designation signifies a commitment to providing exceptional service to buyer clients.

Agents with an ABR designation have honed their skills in buyer representation, negotiation and understanding the unique needs of those looking to purchase real estate.

Presented by REBAC (Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council) and the Center for REALTOR Development. | Contact REBAC at rebac@nar.realtor or 800-648-6224.

2. At Home With Diversity (AHWD)

As a condition of National Association of Realtors (NAR) membership, new member applicants must now complete two hours of fair housing training, and existing members must complete two hours of fair housing training every three years, including one training option that is of no cost to members.

The three-year cycle coincides with NAR’s existing Code of Ethics training requirement and begins in 2025. The At Home With Diversity (AHWD) certification will not only satisfy that requirement, but it also conveys to clients that they’re working with a dynamic real estate professional with expertise that transcends cultural barriers.

Presented by the National Association of Realtors and the Center for Realtor Development. | For more information on this course and its business principles, please contact us at ahwd@nar.realtor or 800-874-6500.

3. Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)

Agent-to-agent referrals are a great source of income for both the referral agent and the referred agent. Agent referrals are also often the most qualified leads and convert far better than any other type of lead.

With more than 35,000 designees, benefits from the CRS nationwide referral network make the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation one to look at in 2023.

The Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation is the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers and brokers. Agents who have invested the time to earn the CRS designation represent the top 3 percent of all agents.  

The education programs provide CRS Designees with the superior knowledge, connections and tools to be more productive. To earn the Certified Residential Specialist Designation, a Realtor must demonstrate significant experience and certify that they have handled a large number of real estate transactions.

Presented by Residential Real Estate Council. | Contact RRC at or 800-462-8841.

4. Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) 

This suggestion actually isn’t a certification or designation at all — it’s an Endorsement that Realtors can promote when serving clients and other Realtors.

Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) from the National Association of Realtors will develop and enhance 11 competencies that indicate a Realtor’s commitment to ethics, advocacy, technology, data privacy and outstanding customer service. 

The Program offers each Realtor the opportunity to complete a C2EX Skills Assessment and will produce a self-paced, facilitated path through a personalized education program, specific action steps, and tailored tools and resources based on the results of the C2EX Skills Assessment.

Each Realtor’s C2EX Journey will be unique and will identify the best possible path for that particular individual toward excellence in the Realtor C2EX Competencies. Additionally, Realtors who earn the Commitment to Excellence endorsement will satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement.

Go to www.C2EX.realtor to get started with this award-winning program.

5. The Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

According to the NAR, baby boomers (age 57-75) make up the largest share of sellers at 42 percent. The Senior Real Estate Specialist is one of the top designations because it gives the agent advanced expertise in and exposure to the largest-growing market in real estate. 

The Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation is for Realtors who want to work with individuals or couples who are 50-plus in age, and it’s the best designation in our review for working with senior buyers and sellers. Agents who earn it understand the needs of mature Americans who want to sell, buy, relocate, refinance or invest.

Presented by SRES Council and the Center for Realtor Development. | Contact SRES Council at sres@nar.realtor or 800-500-4564.

So, are designations and certifications worth the time and money? Yes! If leveraged correctly, designations and certifications are worth the time and financial commitment. But to get the full value, you’ll want to make sure you market yourself as an endorsed expert in your particular real estate niche, otherwise, they won’t get you very far.

As the head of inclusion and belonging for Keller Williams Realty International, Julia Lashay Israel advises, trains and coaches leaders, team members and agents to recognize and address diversity, equity and inclusion opportunities and challenges across the organization.

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