Drunk on alphabet soup

Agent designations, certifications explained

Like a sea of medals on a general’s chest, many real estate agents’ business cards are festooned with initials after their names.

Agents may boast about such designations or certifications as ABR, SRES, GRI or a host of others intended to be a testament to expertise they bring to a home-sale transaction. However, there are so many of them that they may be alphabet soup to the average consumer.

The acronyms usually represent coursework focused on a single aspect of real estate, such as transactions involving raw land, foreclosures or international properties, explained Colleen Ryan, manager of education services for the National Association of Realtors.