What is a CRS Designation in Real Estate? (income|steps to become| review)

real estate professional standing in front of commercial building

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 162,330 licensed real estate sales agents in the U.S (+). Also, the majority of them are crowded in the residential space. With such a high competition, you need a competitive edge to differentiate yourself from others. 

In addition to providing excellent services and develop a great business practice, getting a recognizable designation could be another sensible choice. 

What is a CRS Designation in Real Estate? CRS stands for Certified Residential Specialist is a designation that is administered by the Residential Real Estate Council. It is one of the most credential recognition for residential sales agents and brokers. 

But should you obtain the CRS designation? In this post, you’ll find out whether CRS designation holders are making a higher income. What are the benefits of being a CRS? And the steps to become one. 

(+) Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019)

CRS designation Income

Do CRS Designees make more?

According to the Residential Real Estate Council, CRS Designees do make more than non-designation holders. Certified Residential Specialists earn an average of $100,000 per year, while REALTOR sales agents make an average of $42,500.

This earning gap could be attributed to the fact that Certified Resident Specialists are doing more transactions while the property values that they deal with are generally higher.

But to obtain the CRS designation, one would need to achieve a certain volume of sales and accumulated years of experience. Therefore, even before they become a Certified Residential Specialist, the income of this group is likely higher than most non-CRS designees.

CRS agents and average REALTOR comparison

So I’m unsure whether the CRS designation has anything to do with the high income earning. But if you connect more often with people who are successful in the real estate industry, you will learn a great deal in how to grow your business.

Also, there are other benefits of being a CRS agent, which you might find justifiable in pursuing such a credential. I’ll talk about them later in the post.

How many realtors have CRS designation?

Although there are many licensed real estate salespeople, only 3% to 4% of them are holding the CRS designation. This could be due to the stringent requirement in education, experience, and business volume.

How do I get my CRS designation? 

How do I get my CRS designation?

There are two paths to become a Certified Residential Specialist. They are the “60/30/30 Program” and “Pro Program.” 

What is the CRS 60/30/30 Program?

  • Successfully closed 60 transactions OR $30 millions in volume over the past five years
  • Obtain 30 hours of RRC education credit (This can be done through CRS live classroom, eLearning)

What is the CRS Pro Program?

  • More than 10 years of experience as a licensed real estate agent
  • Successfully closed 150 transactions OR a minimum of 40 transactions with average sales of $1 million per year 
  • Obtain 16 hours of RRC education credit (from CRS live classroom or eLearning)

Although there is no exam requirement for the CRS designation, you may need to write tests to pass individual courses. There is a $99 application fee.

To maintain the CRS designation, you’ll need to pay the $195 annual dues, and complete two hours of continued education every year. There are many ways to fulfill the CE requirement – for instance, completing the RRC classroom course, eLearning, elective courses, attending an RRC approved network event, and writing an article for The Residential Specialist (TRS) course content contributor. 

But out of all, I think watching pre-recorded webinars would be the easiest one. It covers tons of great industry topics such as “The Value of Pre-Listing Inspections,” “Hiring Your First Team Member.” They are free to register, and you could find them at the CRS Free Webinar Library.  

What is the CRS course?

CRS real estate class

Here are the CRS live classroom courses:

RRC Live ClassroomNumber of Credits
 7 Things Successful Agents Do Differently8
Building a Team to Grow Your Business8
Converting Leads Into Closings8
How Technology Can Ruin Your Real Estate Business8
Mastering Relevant, Consumer-Focused Marketing8
Mastering Your Time to Achieve Your Goals8
Power Up on Smart Home Technologies8
Short Sales and Foreclosures: Protecting Your Client's Interest8
Succeeding in the Luxury Home Marketing8
Succession Planning: Building, Valuing, and Selling Your Business8
Top of Mind Techniques to Boost Your Brand8
Transforming Difficult Situations into Profitable Deals8
Turning New Homes Into Ongoing Revenue8
Win-Win Negotiation Techniques8
Zero to 60 Home Sales a Year (and Beyond)8
Building an Exceptional Customer Service Base16
Business Planning and Marketing for the Residential Specialist16
Buying and Selling Income Properties16
Effective Buyer Sales Strategies16
Financing Solutions to Close the Deal16
Listing Strategies for the Residential Specialist16
Technologies to Advance Your Business16

Here are the CRS eLearning courses:

RRC eLearning CoursesNumber of Credits
Building a Dynamic Team2
Building a Referral-Based Real Estate Business2
First-Time Home Buyers2
For Sale by Owner2
Managing Your Online Presence2
Navigating the Social Media Maze2
Property Management2
Real Estate Investing2
Running Your Business in the Cloud2
Smart Home Technologies for the Residential Specialist2
Systems for Agent Safety2
Top of Mind Awareness2
Video Marketing to Enhance Your Business2
Creating Value for Your Clients8
Keep It Simple with Low-Cost Online Marketing8
Putting Technology to Work for Your Clients8
Finance 2-Course Series4
Photography 4-Course Series8
Listing Strategies 5-Course Series10
Negotiations 4-Course Series8

What are the benefits of obtaining the CRS designation?

Access to valuable educational resources

You’ll get discounts on most education offered by the Residential Real Estate Council (RRC). When I reviewed their education catalog, they have a massive library with over 500 courses. 

These course materials can keep you staying sharp with industry updates and changes in compliance rules. It could be a tremendous value to the growth of your business development.

RRC Education Catalog

Great exposure and referrals for your business

CRS designation referral network

As a Certified Residential Specialist, you can get access to the Council’s referral network and attend networking events at a preferred member price. You can also join the Qualified Consumer Leads program. 

You’ll be listed in the Council’s online and print directories

Other benefits

As a member, you’ll have a free subscription to the industry magazines, Inman Select News and The Residential Specialist.

If you need to get insurance coverage such as medical, dental vision, E&O, or even pet insurance, you may get them at a discount through USI Affinity. 

Does it worth it to become a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)?

To see whether obtaining a CRS designation would worth your time and investments, I tried looking for reviews from real estate professionals who went through the program.

The only review I could find is on the ActiveRain. This is a community website where real estate professionals would share their thoughts and experience.

CRS Certified Residential Specialist

In there, the CRS designation program received 4.8 out of 5 stars rating. Although this is a remarkable score, it is coming from votes of five people.
Therefore, it would be interesting if more people could comment on this real estate credential.

Nevertheless, a real estate agent from Scottsdale, Arizona, said that the
Certified Residential Specialist is one of the two highly prized designations from the National Association of REALTORS. He attests this designation has helped him in bringing “referral.”

Another real estate broker from Phoenix, Arizona, shared that the CRS education is the best she had over the 30 years. She enjoys webinars, classes, and awesome networking opportunities. She also exchanged many referrals with other members throughout the years.

There is also another salesperson from Clarksville, Tennesse. She reminded that one would have to be a member of the National Association of Realtors to get the CRS designation. So there would be annual dues to be a part of the Council of Residential Specialists.

However, this investments allows you to take their webinars and courses at a reduced membership rate. She described that these are top-notch classes that would help you to grow and fine-tune your business.

She expressed that it worths the money and education hours to have the CRS designation. It is an excellent investment for real estate professionals.

Final words about the CRS designation

Becoming a Certified Residential Specialist indeed have many advantages. Its training could immensely enhance your real estate knowledge, while the referral system could be another great source of business.

But frankly speaking, although the CRS designation is a fantastic program, I didn’t know too much about it before writing this article. Therefore, I’m unsure of its level of recognition in the general public.

However, since many CRS agents confirmed that they did receive a great stream of referrals, I’m confident that this title should be highly recognized within the real estate industry.

When you are meeting clients, it would be worthwhile to explain the value you could bring to the table as a Certified Residential Specialist. Show them the stringent requirement of education, years of experience, and business volume.

After all, as part of the RRC community, every member could help in promoting the value of the CRS designation.

Want to learn more about other real estate designation programs and study materials that could fine-tune your practice? Check out our education resource page.

Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. Make sure you comply with the state laws and regulatory rules.

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  • National Association of REALTORS- CRS (Source)
  • Residential Real Estate Council (Source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Real Estate Sale Agents (Source)
  • ActiveRain – Product Reviews for CRS ~ Certified Residential Specialist (Source)

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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