Dig Deeper, Get Smarter

NAR affiliates can help you rise to the top, offering learning and networking to fit your interests.

March 19, 2014

CCIM, CRB, CRS, CRE, IREM, RLI, SIOR, WCR. You’ve seen the initials, but do you know what they can do for you? The eight real estate organizations affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS® offer professional skills development, referral networks, and business marketing opportunities that may be the edge you’ve been seeking in your career. Tens of thousands of NAR members have already taken advantage of the benefits connected with earning designations conferred by these institutes, councils, and societies that are under the NAR umbrella but operate independently. Are these credentials worth the effort and expense? Earning one or more designations can make a difference in your income. Based on 2013 NAR survey data, the median income of REALTORS® without a designation was $33,500, while that of members with at least one designation was $61,100. And members say that’s just the start of what makes affiliate membership a sound business investment.

CRS Confers Trust

The Council of Residential Specialists is the largest of the affiliates, with 31,000 active designees across 57 CRS chapters. With classes from client negotiations to managing your online presence, the wide selection is designed to help you advance your business. Julie Beall, an associate with Irongate, REALTORS®, in Springboro, Ohio, received her CRS designation in 2006, seven years after she became a REALTOR®, and says the rewards have been invaluable. The in-depth classes “gave me tools to put into action as well as the extra confidence I needed to talk to clients.” Her focus on investment education has helped her develop a thriving investment niche, in addition to her sales career. “I have 20 properties that are all paid for,” she says. “It’s a wonderful passive income stream.” And she appreciates what CRS signaIs about other agents. “When I make a referral, it gives me confidence that the person knows the business at a level I can trust,” Beall says.

WCR Builds Strength

Founded in 1938, the Women’s Council of REALTORS® sprang from an era when local boards still routinely resisted offering membership to women. Today, it is a robust networking and referral network, with 12,000 members across some 300 state and local chapters. About 10 percent of members are men. In 2003, the council introduced the Performance Management Network designation, which emphasizes leadership skills and business development strategies, but many members find the camaraderie and referral opportunities to be the most compelling benefits. When Rebecca Thomson, abr, sfr, joined WCR seven years ago as a rookie practitioner in Chicago, she was drawn to the convenience of plugging into a ready-made business network. “How do I meet other agents who know how to do things the right way? That was what I was seeking,” says Thomson, who now leads a sales team with Jameson Sotheby’s. “We all make each other stronger and better.”

CCIM Has Reach  

The Certified Commercial Investment Member Institute is a leader in commercial and investment real estate education and relationship building. Its 9,500 designees worldwide are part of an exclusive network dedicated to the business success of its members through any market conditions. Access to monthly web conferences, quarterly trend reports, and a market information database are among its benefits. Chicago broker David Ellermann earned his CCIM designation last year after more than a decade of commercial real estate experience. ”It wasn’t until I took my first CCIM course that I began to digest the more significant components of commercial real estate such as tax implications, analyzing pro formas, and true go-or-no-go decision making,” he says. “Working with leading industry  professionals to apply the concepts of true-life case studies has afforded me an expertise that you truly cannot find elsewhere.”

Here are benefit highlights offered by the rest of NAR’s affiliates: 

IREM Furthers Careers

Members of the Institute of Real Estate Management are involved with asset and property management. There is a host of innovative tools aimed at keeping you up-to-date on relevant legislative issues and industry developments, including a 50 percent discount on the most comprehensive property data reports in the industry. A library of video tutorials and expert advice can help you maximize your professional success. Career development resources include a job shadowing program for students and a national job board. CPM designees manage 43 percent of conventional rentals in the United States.

CRB Boosts Businesses

The Council of Real Estate Brokerage Managers offers tools and coursework that establishes best practices for those who manage brokerages. Topics range from how to leverage teams to strategies for business planning. Those earning the CRB designation are not required to have a broker’s license.

CRE Sets the Standard

The Counselors of Real Estate is an invitation-only membership organization for real estate advisers who hold senior positions in their firms and have at least 10 years of experience based on recommendations from peers, employers, and client reviews. The group serves as an information resource, emphasizing professional development and networking. The CRE Foundation underwrites worthy social, community, and international initiatives. The wide-ranging projects have covered topics as diverse as land recycling in California and valuation in Nigeria.

RLI Knows Land

From farms and ranches to recreational properties and site selection, the REALTORS® Land Institute is the only real estate organization dedicated to land brokerage, offering a range of educational, networking, and referral opportunities and the ALC designation. Online member profiles increase your market exposure.

SIOR Does Deals

The Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® focuses on the professional development of brokerage practitioners in the industrial and office markets. The SIOR designation confers credibility to help you generate more deals and close more business. SIOR designees are top producers, closing an average of 30 transactions per year.

And the Niche Education Keeps Coming

NAR’s wholly owned subsidiary, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), is the largest industry organization focused on representing buyers, with 37,000 members. Agents and brokers can hone their skills by earning the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) designation. Sales scripts that address common buyer objections and an array of marketing tools are among the benefits available to designees. In addition, NAR offers 11 certifications and designations that highlight your expertise in a wide range of market areas. These include the environmentally focused GREEN designation; Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), which focuses on the needs of the fast-growing 50+ market; Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR), which covers all aspects of working with distressed sellers; appraisal designations (RAA and GAA) for both residential and commercial property valuation; and the CIPS designation for building global reach.

Wendy Cole

Wendy Cole is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.