Unlike many other real estate designations, a Certified Neighborhood Specialist is not a simple or easy to earn real estate designation. Each CNS qualified agent is not only required to take a certain number of course study hours (in class or online) but they have to also complete extensive additional local neighborhood research on their chosen neighborhood(s). These additional projects have to be submitted to the Council of Neighborhood Specialists for verification and approval to show that they have gained the knowledge about their neighborhood.
A CNS will start by understanding the development process (how the neighborhood came to be) and will research information about the developer and builders in the neighborhood. Research may be conducted to discover information about floor plans and building codes as well as natural hazards in the area. A CNS may need to research the community zoning, bylaws or Home Owners Association rules. A CNS may research information on the demographics of a neighborhood and has the skills to direct the consumer toward the specifics of a neighborhood, including income levels, occupations, and number of households with children and much more.
A CNS knows how to find information on property hazards in the area and issues that have occurred in the neighborhood. All CNS's have access to research tools and resources to exact intimate knowledge about a neighborhood, and they have chosen a particular neighborhood as their specialty.
While there are many agent websites that reflect the name of a certain neighborhood, only a certified CNS has done the research necessary to be called a true "Expert" on the neighborhood.