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You’ve probably noticed that many REALTORS® have initials after their names, like SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist). Those initials are abbreviations for designations and certifications that they earn through additional education and written examinations. In my opinion, the only initials you should look for are “GRI”, which stand for Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute. The GRI is the most prestigious designation in real estate, the most difficult to obtain, and may be thought of as the real estate equivalent of the CPA.
I was a successful hospital administrator for 35 years before becoming a REALTOR®. In healthcare, independent certification of your competency is taken for granted. Physicians are expected to become Board-certified in their specialties; nurses are certified if they have critical care expertise; etc. I was a nationally-accredited Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE).
In real estate, after you pass your initial NJ licensing exam there are no requirements for independent certification; I predict that will have to change in the future. I took 90 hours of classroom courses and passed 3 written exams to earn my GRI because independent competency certification is important to me. You wouldn’t go to a doctor who wasn’t Board-certified, or use an accountant who didn’t have a CPA, so why would you use a REALTOR® who didn’t have a GRI? If you talk to a REALTOR® who doesn’t have a GRI, ask them why not, and see if you agree with their answer.