Let me introduce myself, my name is
Lisa Dunn, MA,CSA,GRI,RSA,SRES
Maybe you’d like to see the logos of my designations?
WHY do real estate agents put all of those letters behind their names? Does anyone even know what they mean?
I used to think it just didn’t matter, but I’m changing my tune a little. With the coming age wave and how trendy it is becoming to say you’re a “senior specialist” I’m starting to think these letters ARE important. You see, there is not a recognized designation for real estate agents called “senior specialist”. It doesn’t exist. Unless of course, the agent who put it on their business card decided to call themselves a “senior specialist”. But “senior specialist” is not an earned designation, nor is it recognized by the associations Realtors belong to. So, beware the real estate agent who writes “senior specialist” or worse yet, “senior expert” on their business card.
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 their clients in preparing for a move. This designation is the most intensive, most locally relevant designation for Twin Cities Realtors. I might be a little biased, my partner and I are instructors for this course. I happen to think it’s a great training program for Minnesota real estate agents, and prepares them to work more effectively with seniors.
SRES-Senior Real Estate Specialist. This is a nationally recognized designation offered by the National Association of Realtors. It consists of 12 hours of classroom work, some of which may be completed online. The reason I keep this designation is the networking I do across the nation with other real estate agents that work with seniors. It’s a great way for me to make referrals to seniors moving out of the state, or into the state. I know the person with the SRES designation at least dedicated some time to learning about issues important to older clients.
CSA-Certified Senior Advisor is a designation offered 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. The real estate agent spent time and effort earning them.
Those designations tell you about training, and someone’s intention to focus on a specialty Those letters don’t tell you anything about the experience someone has or the results they get.
You’ll want to know what the alphabet soup stands for, but it’s just the beginning of the list of things to ask the person you’re hiring to represent you in the sale of your home.