Do more designations = more income?

by Doug Pitorak

Boosting credibility with designations and certifications can certainly impress clients. But how much do those designations, which require investments of agents’ time and money, really impact their business? Do more designations translate into more income? We took a survey of Chicagoland agents to find out, and judging by the data, that answer will depend on how agents use them.

When asked how much designations impacted their income, the most common answer was “not at all,” which 53.3 percent of respondents selected. Of those who do believe designations have increased their income, the largest share – 11.8 percent – said the impact was $25,000 or more; that was the largest dollar range respondents could choose. The fact that agents either see no effect or a significant dollar impact suggests that agents who know how to use designations to their benefit see their business prospers as a result. The remaining responses were distributed nearly evenly across five other ranges, which is illustrated below.

Other data from our survey further indicates that individual perspective matters when exploring the usefulness of designations. For example, 27.5 percent of respondents said they were “neutral” on the statement that designations have positively impacted their career. Fourteen percent strongly agreed, while 10.83 percent strongly disagreed. The fact that many agents felt neutral is not surprising, considering that 29.27 percent of respondents said they had no designations.

That data does not close the book, though.

According to the NAR 2016 Member Profile, only 4 percent of all Realtors did not pay for professional development in 2015. In 2014, that number was 15 percent. Realtors are also spending more on education – the median professional development expense for all Realtors in 2015 was $900, a 29 percent increase from the $700 median expense a year earlier.

So while opinions on the value of designations vary from agent to agent, it seems that the acquisition of such honors is trending upward.


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  • john letourneau says:

    Interesting survey. I’d like to see a version done with commercial agents.. ie. IREM/CCIM/etc.

  • john letourneau says:

    I would love to see a similar comparison with commercial designations, like CCIM, CRE, etc. I’m guessing those numbers would be VERY different..

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