Over the weekend I completed the training and testing to receive the Senior Real Estate Specialist designation. There wasn't any graffiti, no parade, not even a cake. What this means I can now sign my name:
Lisa Dunn, MA,CSA,GRI,RSA,SRES
Yipee! Well, kind of...
Other Realtors will know what some of those designations mean, most consumers won't know what any of those designations mean (other than the MA-most of us know this is a Master of Arts). Those letters are no more meaningful to most consumers than the jumbled up letters found in a bowl of Alphabets cereal.
When you're interviewing any professional for any job, you would want to understand:
- what kind of training they have,
- the years of experience they have,
- if they have any specialities, and
- the kind of results they receive.
The Alphabet soup of REALTOR designations can answer the questions about the kind of training and specialties your real estate agent has.
If you're looking for a REALTOR who specializes in working with seniors, here are the designations you'll want to look for:
RSA-Realtor Senior Advisor. This is a designation offered by the Minneapolis Association of Realtors. It consists of 12 hours of classroom and a bus tour to local senior housing communities in the Twin Cities. Real estate agents are also introduced to numerous professionals in the senior industry that can assist thier clients in preparing for a move. This designation is the most intensive, most locally relevant designation for Twin Cities Realtors.
SRES-Senior Real Estate Specialist. This is a nationally recognized designation. It consists of 12 hours of classroom work, some of which can be completed on line.
CSA-Certified Senior Advisor is awarded by the Society of Senior Advisors. There are fewer than 5 real estate agents in the state of Minnesota with this designation. The important distinction between this certification and the others, is that this designation does not verify one's skills as a real estate agent. This designation is available to any professional in any field that works with seniors. It is most prominent in the financial services industry. It is the most broad, most in-depth, and most expensive of the three designations. In addition, this course does not qualify for continuing education credits toward a real estate agent's license. If you see a real estate agent with this designation, you know they have invested a lot of time and money into learning about important aging issues.
Most importantly, these designations represent one thing.
They are just designations.
Those designations tell you about training, and somone's intention to focus on a speciality. Those letters don't tell you anything about the experience someone has or the results they get.
If you see another title behind a real estate agent's name such as "Senior Specialist", it could be that's just what they call themselves.
Ask questions before you hire your next REALTOR.