As a nation, we’re experiencing historically low housing inventory. When inventory is tight, buyers look for agents who are going to give them the best chance of getting the home of their dreams—which means any competitive advantage you can get is invaluable. The ABR designation is a way to set yourself apart from your competition and win more clients.But is it worth your time? In this article, we’ll learn what it means to be an Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), the process of getting this designation, the cost, and ultimately, whether it’s the right move for you and your business. We’ll also hear from REALTORS® across the country about their experiences with the ABR.What Is the ABR Designation?The ABR, or Accredited Buyer Representative, is a designation offered by the National Association of REALTORS® to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer clients.It is reserved for agents who have direct experience working with buyers, who provide a superior client experience, and who are constantly striving to offer their clients more by way of training, professional development, and insight into the latest strategies for meeting and exceeding their clients’ expectations.Click Here to Apply for the ABR DesignationWhat Are the Benefits of the ABR Designation?As an ABR designee, agents are allowed to display the designation on all their marketing material, including websites, social media, business cards, and more. The valuable education you receive as a part of receiving your designation will provide you with insights into the best ways to serve your clients in any market.You also get access to members-only programs, networking, seminars, marketing tools, and resources, plus a no-fee referral network of other ABR designees.ABR NetworkingAs an ABR designee, you are allowed membership to the exclusive ABR Facebook Group, which boasts close to 9,000 members. Here you can connect with other ABR designees, share strategies, exchange referrals, and more.ABR Marketing MaterialsWith your ABR designation, you get access to the library of print marketing templates for things like postcards, letters, and brochures. You also are granted access to digital assets like Facebook profile picture frames and cover photos for places like LinkedIn and Instagram.ABR Member ResourcesOnce you get your ABR designation, you are instantly allowed use of the client-facing resources, including videos you can share with your prospects about the value of working with an Accredited Buyer Representative, a homebuyer’s toolkit, and single-sheet checklists perfect for all sorts of buyer-agent scenarios like mortgage prep, home inspection, making an offer, and more.ABR Member Programming & PublicationsAccredited Buyer Representatives are automatically subscribed to the REBAC (Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council) monthly newsletter, the TBR HotSheet (a weekly wrap-up of real estate stories in the news perfect for sharing with your sphere), as well as a standing invitation to the Buyer Representation Sessions, an annual event at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Conference and Expo.How Much Does It Cost to Get an ABR Designation?To get the ABR designation, you must first take the two-day course (regular price $295), as well as a single elective course (typical cost is around $100). After the successful completion of the courses, you’ll be required to maintain a membership in REBAC (Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council); the annual cost is $110.What Are the Application Requirements of the ABR Designation?In order to qualify for the ABR designation, you must complete your required predesignation education (the ABR two-day course plus one elective), you must have successfully completed five transactions in which you act solely as a buyer’s representative (no dual agency), and you must maintain a membership in good standing with REBAC (Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council) and NAR.How Long Does It Take to Get an ABR Designation?If you’ve already completed the transaction requirements, the registration, classes, and processing of your ABR designation application can all take place in a week or less.Agent Voices: Top Producers Weigh in About the ABRWe spoke with REALTORS® from across the country and asked them some questions about the ABR designation to hear how they’ve used it and whether or not they’ve found it useful in their business. Here’s what they had to say:Bob Falter, PhD, ABR, CRS, GRI, CDEI—ERA Key Realty ServicesHow long have you been in the real estate business? 16 years.How long have you had your ABR designation? 14 years.How would you rate the application and renewal process for the ABR designation? Very easy!How much benefit are you getting from the ABR designation? It is a vital part of my business.How many closings would you say your ABR designation has contributed to in the last year? One to three.Anything else you want to share? The ABR designation has a course that is structured to help agents work with buyers in all age groups. Very helpful!John Lazenby, ABR—Colony Realty GroupHow long have you been in the real estate business? 25+ years.How long have you had your ABR designation? 20 years, ABR Hall of Fame Inductee 2009How would you rate the application and renewal process for the ABR designation? Easy.How much benefit are you getting from the ABR designation? It is a very important part of my business.How many closings would you say your ABR designation has contributed to in the last year? Four to six.Anything else you want to share? If you earn the right to apply (make your required sales and pass the exam), get the ABR—it’s a no-brainer.Anna Mills, ABR—iLink Real EstateHow long have you been in the real estate business? 40+ years.How long have you had your ABR designation? 40+ years.How would you rate the application and renewal process for the ABR designation? Moderately easy.How much benefit are you getting from the ABR designation? It is a vital part of my business.How many closings would you say your ABR designation has contributed to in the last year? More than 10.Anything else you want to share? I work with investors who are repeat clients; continuing to demonstrate value through expertise is key.Daniella Bell, ABR—Coldwell Banker Schmidt How long have you been in the real estate business? 23 years.How long have you had your ABR designation? 10+ years.How would you rate the application and renewal process for the ABR designation? Extremely easy.How much benefit are you getting from the ABR designation? It is an important part of my business.How many closings would you say your ABR designation has contributed to in the last year? One to three.Anything else you want to share? It’s one of the best classes I’ve taken. I think every agent, regardless of whether they want the designation, should take this training in order to practice agency correctly.Is the ABR Designation Worth It?Before we render a verdict on whether the ABR designation is worth your time, money, and effort, it’s important to note that while we did get a lot of positive feedback from ABR holders, we got some negative feedback too. The reason we didn’t include it above is that most of the negativity we observed from people isn’t necessarily the fault of the designation; it’s the fault of the agent.The ABR designation absolutely pays for itself if you actively promote it, talk about how it sets you apart from your competition, and consistently deliver great service to your buyers. Just having these initials after your name isn’t going to magically deliver you clients; you have to leverage the designation to create space between you and those you’re competing against.You can do this by creating social media posts educating your prospects about your designation and what that gets them as your future clients. You can make a fact page on your website about what it means to be an Accredited Buyer Representative and how that sets you apart. You can make sure your designation is on every piece of marketing you send, that it’s part of your email signature line, and that you’re talking about it in every new client meeting you have. If you aren’t doing these things, you’re not going to benefit from this distinction.Bottom LineThe ABR designation is absolutely worth getting if you have a marketing plan to promote it and the follow-through to stay consistent with that message. If you possess both of these things, the ABR is a no-brainer.Click Here to Apply for the ABR DesignationMore ResourcesCurious about other real estate designations? We’ve actually got an entire article about the Top 8 Real Estate Designations That Will Actually Make You Money. Check it out!Already have the ABR designation or are currently going through the process of obtaining one? We’d love to hear about it. Join our Facebook Group, The Close Real Estate Agents Mastermind Group, and tell us all about it.