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What is a REALTOR®?
A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, "The Voice for Real Estate" and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of NAR.
Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®.
We have found that there is some confusion between a licensed REALTOR® and a licensed real estate agent. The terms are often used interchangeably. Though both are licensed by the state to transact real estate, there are important differences between REALTORS® and real estate agents. This designation represents a promise to provide consumers with a level of professionalism that matches what they expect to receive from other industries and professions.
A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and must subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of NAR. These individuals belong to one or more of 1,700 local associations/boards and 54 state and territory association of REALTORS®.
In short, The Code of Ethics is a strictly enforced standard that REALTORS® are held to. It contains 17 Articles and various underlying Standards of Practice. The Standards establish a restrictive and enforced code of conduct for agents beyond those governing agents who simply hold a real estate license. While there is no evidence nor guarantee that all REALTORS® are morally and ethically better than unaffiliated real estate agents, it is an attempt by the industry to regulate conduct and, as such, deserves recognition.
REALTORS® are strong advocates for homeowners and homeownership. NAR is the only national lobbying group that looks out for the interests of homeowners. Every year, NAR leads the way on Capitol Hill and in the corridors of Washington to keep homeownership a top national priority. NAR's support for the mortgage interest deduction and other federal policies helps to keep housing more affordable and makes housing a great investment.