The two terms "REALTOR® and Real Estate Agent seem interchangeable, but are they? After all they both speak to a person selling real estate, right? They both identify a person who can help you buy and sell a home, so why the different terms?
This is a question that surfaces from time to time. The basic difference is that a REALTOR is a member of the National Assocation of REALTORS (NAR) and subscribes to their Code of Ethics. Anyone earning a real estate license is a real estate agent, but membership to NAR entitles that agent to become a REALTOR®.
What difference does that make?
The National Association of REALTORS® is the single largest lobbying organization with over 1 million members across the nation. They lobby on behalf of homeowners' rights, protecting the mortgage interest deduction for example. Without those efforts, millions of American's would lose that deduction.
Subscribing to the Code of Ethics means that your REALTOR® works diligently and with ethics to make sure you are represented honestly and fairly. They will be your fudiciary in all real estate dealings.
The Code of Ethics is a strict form of compliance protecting homeowners in the purchase, sale, rental of real estate and land. These are the founding principals for the National Association of REALTORS®. In fact the code was established before state laws.
The link above for the Code of Ethics reflects in detail REALTOR duties and the standard to follow. Among them are the following:
Cooperation with other agents, unless not in the best interests of the client
Disclosure as a REALTOR in all dealings
Copies of all signed documents
Treat everyone fairly and does not discriminate
Act within their field and not practice outside their area of expertise
Truth in advertising
Shall not practice law, but refer clients to attorneys
Not make false claims
Interfere with agency relationships between another agent and a client
Mediate and/or dispute without litigating first between brokerages
As a REALTOR®, these guidelines must be adhered or said REALTOR® will face administrative action punishable by fines, extra classes, and potentially lose their real estate license if the action is severe in nature.
Subscibing to this strict Code of Ethics by membership sets the tone for business conduct for REALTORS®. Working with a REALTOR® who subscribes to the Code of Ethics is a good business practice.
If you are looking for an honest, fair, and experience REALTOR, give me a call!