Realtor

What Is a Realtor?

A realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a professional association. The NAR defines the term realtor as a federally registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the association and subscribes to its code of ethics.

Key Takeaways

  • A realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a professional association.
  • Professionals who may hold the title of realtor include agents who work as residential and commercial real estate brokers, salespeople, and property managers.
  • Realtors are expected to be experts in their field.
  • They must follow the NAR’s code of ethics, which requires agents to uphold a certain standard of duty when working with clients.
  • Compliance with the code of ethics became a requisite for membership in 1924.

Understanding Realtors

Professionals who hold the title of realtor include agents who work as residential and commercial real estate brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors, and other real estate professionals.

The term realtor is a registered trademark. As of October 2021, there were 1,564,547 realtors. That broke down as 68% real estate agents, 20% real estate brokers, and 13% associate brokers. Realtors must belong to both a local association or board and a state association.

Realtors are expected to be experts in their field and must follow the NAR’s code of ethics, which requires agents to uphold a specific standard of duty to clients and customers, the public, and other realtors.

Among its many requirements, the code of ethics says that realtors "shall avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or the transaction.”

The code also states that realtors “shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”

Furthermore, realtors must “pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client” while treating all parties to the transaction honestly.

1,564,547

The number of realtors as of October 2021.

Guidelines for Using the Realtor Trademark

The NAR maintains stringent rules on the use of the realtor trademark. Professionals who hold membership as a realtor or realtor-associate on a member board are licensed to use realtor trademarks in connection with their name and the name of their real estate business.

The realtor trademark is prohibited from being used as part of the legal corporate name of members of the association. According to the NAR, this is done to avoid the legal issues involved with a corporate name change if a member were suspended or expelled from the association and lost the right to use the trademark.

Furthermore, the NAR’s guidelines state that if a qualified member uses the realtor trademark as part of their name, it must appear in all capital letters and be set off from the member’s name by punctuation.

The NAR does not use the realtor trademark with descriptive terms or as a description of the vocation the way terms such as real estate broker, agent, and licensee are used. The association also says that realtor trademarks are not to be used as a designation of the licensed status of a professional.

When Was the National Association of Realtors Started?

The NAR was founded as the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges in 1908. At the time, it had 120 members, 19 boards and a single state association.

What Is the Realtor Code of Ethics?

The Code of Ethics & Professional Standards is a set of rules focused on fair and honest behavior that members pledge to abide by. They concern the manner in which clients must be treated and conflicts should be handled. The Code of Ethics holds members to a high moral standard.

How Are Real Estate Agents Different From Realtors?

Real estate agents are individuals who are licensed by their state to help people buy and sell real estate. Realtors are real estate agents who have opted to become members of the National Association of Realtors. NAR members have access to a wealth of training, tools, and data to help them provide their clients with a completely professional experience.

Article Sources
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  1. National Association of Realtors. "About NAR."

  2. National Association of Realtors. "Preface to the Code of Ethics & Arbitration Manual."

  3. National Association of Realtors. "Quick Real Estate Statistics."

  4. National Association of Realtors. "How to Join NAR."

  5. National Association of Realtors. "2022 Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice."

  6. National Association of Realtors. "Use of the MARKS With a Member’s Firm Name."

  7. National Association of Realtors. "Membership Suspension Information."

  8. National Association of Realtors. "Use of the MARKS With a Member’s Name."

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