Most people make the assumption that real estate agents and Realtors® are one in the same, when in fact they are very different. The reason for this misconception is that most real estate agents are Realtors®, so it is not uncommon for those in the real estate field to use the terms “real estate agent” and Realtor® interchangeably. With that being said, there is a world of difference between the two.
A real estate agent is simply a licensed (usually by state) individual who can actively be involved in real estate deals for paid commissions. However a Realtor® is not only a licensed real estate agent, but a member of the National Association of Realtors®. With this membership comes access to the extremely powerful MLS database system which holds all home/commercial/agricultural/etc property listings. Furthermore, all Realtors® are required to swear by a code of ethics.
The Code of Ethics is strictly enforced. It contains 17 Articles and various underlying Standards of Practice. It's not just a bunch of rules that agents swear to uphold and adhere to. The Standards are much more restrictive and confining as to conduct than those governing agents who simply hold a real estate license.
Here are 17 things that a REALTOR® promises to do that non-affiliates do not:
#1) Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
#2) Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
#3) Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so.
#4) Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate.
#5) Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
#6) Shall not collect any commissions without the seller's knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller's express consent.
#7) Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties' informed consent.
#8) Shall not co-mingle client funds with their own.
#9) Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
#10) Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
#11) Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
#12) Must engage in truth in advertising.
#13) Shall not practice law unless they are a lawyer.
#14) Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
#15) Agree not to bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
#16) Shall not solicit another REALTOR'S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
#17) Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.
The National Association of REALTORS® was founded in 1908 and has more than one million members.
While working with Northwest Arkansas REALTORs you know that you are getting the utmost in reliable and knowledgeable service throughout the entire home buying or selling process.
Angela Johnson is a Realtor in Northwest Arkansas with over 15 years of real estate experience. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise about buying and selling real estate in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Springdale, and all of Northwest Arkansas. Buying and selling real estate is not the same everywhere, so you need someone you can trust for up-to-date information. Angela Johnson is eager to assist you with finding your next home, selling a home, and consulting with you on home selling tactics. Visit www.getmykeys.com for access to homes for sale in Northwest Arkansas.