Holding a real estate agent's or real estate broker's license does not make someone a
REALTOR®. Membership in the National Association of REALTORS® entitles licensees
to use the term "REALTOR®" on their business cards and in their marketing materials.
Hiring a REALTOR® means you've retained someone who is committed to
continuing education, professionalism, and integrity. The vast majority
of REALTORS® participate
in a local multiple listing service (MLS), which gives you a distinct
advantage whether you're selling your home or looking for that special
property. But the main thing that distinguishes a REALTOR® from someone
who's merely licensed by the state to sell real estate is the REALTOR® Code of Ethics,
which requires REALTORS® to put their clients' interests first at all
times. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics was first adopted in 1913 as a
voluntary document outlining the professional duties of membership. The
code became mandatory in 1924. This was an era before licensing was
required in many states.
What if there's a problem?
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is enforced through professional standards
committees that are maintained by local boards. The public, as well as
the board, can bring complaints before the committee. Disciplinary
action can consist
of suspension or expulsion from membership. A real estate broker or
agent who is not a REALTOR® is governed only by state licensing laws.
Why use a REALTOR® when you buy new construction? Cost to You? Nothing! Any compensation given to a REALTOR® is
recognized by the builder as a marketing fee and has no impact on the
final cost of the home. Builders desire, expect and encourage REALTOR participation.
The National Association of REALTORS® strives to unite its members to
further common goals and to exert a positive and combined influence
upon matters affecting real
estate and home ownership. The Association strives to elevate the
standards of the real estate industry and the professional conduct of
All real estate licensees are not REALTORS®.
REALTOR® members are professionals who subscribe and are bound by a strict Code of Ethics and professional standards.