What's a CRS?

The Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) is the highest Designation awarded to sales associates in the residential sales field. The CRS Designation recognizes professional accomplishments in both experience and education.

Since 1977 the Council of Residential Specialists has been conferring the CRS Designation on agents who meet its stringent requirements. Currently, there are more than 34,000 active CRS Designees

Why Use a CRS?

Today, home buying and selling is faster, more complex, and more competitive in every way. Our goal is to make the process a little easier for you. The first step is choosing the right REALTOR®.

What are the special benefits, if any, of using a Realtor® with a CRS designation?

Buying or selling a home is one of the most significant financial transactions of your life. In all areas of life, we rely on specialists for their advanced expertise and skill. For example, if we need medical or legal advice, we consult a specialist who has the credentials to address our specific needs. Similarly, to fill the specific residential needs of home buyers and sellers, the Council of Residential Specialists of the National Association of Realtors® represents a class of expert real estate professionals designated as Certified Residential Specialists (CRS).

The Council created the CRS designation, considered the "CPA" of residential real estate, to give home buyers and sellers an easy way to identify agents who have significant experience and demonstrate higher volume of real estate transactions or gross sales, as well as complete rigorous, advanced educational requirements.

Approximately 35,000 Realtors® have earned the CRS designation, equaling only 4 percent of all Realtors® in the world.

What special qualifications will a CRS bring to my transaction?

These are among the distinctive values offered by CRSs:

Who are the key players in a residential real estate transaction?

Buying and selling a home is a very segmented and specialized process. Apart from the buyer and the seller, the key players typically are the Realtors®, lenders, home inspectors, appraisers and attorneys.

What's the difference between appraised value and market value?

Appraised value is an opinion of a property's market value, based on an appraiser's knowledge, experience and analysis of a property. Comparative market analysis is an informal estimate of market value performed by a real estate agent or broker. It is based on sales of similar homes in the area and generally offers a range of values, including probable market value.

Do I need a lawyer when buying or selling a home?

Local customs dictate whether it's legally mandatory to have an attorney complete a real estate transaction. So check on what's applicable in your state. Consider, however, that since buying or selling a home is among the largest transactions people will make in their lifetime, many experts believe that using a qualified real estate attorney - particularly if any problems are anticipated - is a prudent course of action.

What percentage of homebuyers and sellers use the services of a real estate agent?

According to the latest survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors®, about 70 percent of homebuyers and 80 percent of home sellers in 2001 used a real estate agent in their transactions. The percentage of for sale by owner (FSBO) transactions has steadily declined since 1997 and comprised only 13 percent of sales in 2001.

If I use a real estate agent, what fundamental obligations are owed to me?

Typically, the common law obligations owed to you are to:

Nonetheless when you start working with a Realtor®, ask for a clear explanation of your state's current regulations so that you know where you stand on these matters.

Are commissions negotiable?

The commission, the fee charged by a real estate broker or agent for negotiating a real estate transaction, is negotiable.

Who pays the real estate commission, the buyer or the seller?

Traditionally, both buyers' and sellers' agents are compensated by the seller. However, a buyers' agent may accept payment from both the seller and the buyer, as long as full disclosure is made to all parties. Some feel the transaction pays the compensation, to which both buyers and sellers contribute.