What is a Realtor?

A real estate licensee has passed an exam; REALTORS® are real professionals.

“Selling a home is a full-time job. The average homeowner may sell three or four homes in his or her lifetime; REALTORS®, can sell hundreds over the course of a career. This experience is invaluable, and it’s part of the reason why home sellers who use a real estate professional can expect to sell their homes for 16 percent more, on average, than sellers who try to do it themselves.” (1)

1. The 2005 National Association of Realtors® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, based on more than 7,800 responses to a questionnaire mailed to a large national sample of consumers located through county deed records.

REALTORS® are experts in helping protect your interest, whether you are buying or selling a home, even after the contract is signed. Of course, a REALTOR® can offer far more kinds of guidance and information during the process.

REALTORS® devote themselves to continuous study of the most recent trends in their fields to stay abreast of industry developments in their specialized areas and better address industry issues.

Only REALTORS®, who are members of the National Association of REALTORS®, follow a time-tested Code of Ethics, where other real estate licensees may not. They are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. To be a member of NAR and a REALTOR®, a real estate agent must abide by a set of professional principles and serve clients fairly.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® Code of Ethics:  What Does it Mean for Consumers?

How does the Code of Ethics affect everyday real estate practices?

If a REALTOR® represents you, whether you are buying or selling a home, you can count on that REALTOR® to:

  1. Be honest with all parties in the transaction – not just with you, as his or her client, but also with the other real estate practitioner and his or her clients.
  2. For example, if REALTORS ® represent a buyer with a spotty credit history, they can’t be dishonest with sellers about this fact. At the same time, REALTORS ® can help their buyer clients collect and assemble information, such as credit reports and audited tax returns, to demonstrate that the buyer has addressed the problem and improved their situation.
  3. Put your interests ahead of his or her own, at all times.
  4. A REALTOR ® makes every effort to understand the housing needs of his or her client, thoroughly researches available inventory, and shares all relevant information with the buyer so that he or she can make an informed decision. This service is provided regardless of the compensation available.
  5. Disclose all pertinent facts regarding the property and the transaction to both buyer and seller.
  6. If a REALTOR ® believes information provided by a seller is questionable, the REALTOR ® is obligated to investigate. REALTORS ® should recommend that buyers consult their own experts, such as home inspectors, to address concerns. For example, if a home seller asks his or her REALTOR ® to conceal the fact that the roof leaks, the REALTOR ® cannot comply; if the seller insists, the REALTOR ® should end the business relationship with that seller.
  7. Be truthful in all communications with the public.
  8. When REALTORS ® distribute newsletters, create Web sites, or place advertisements, they must be careful not to represent other real estate professionals’ work product as their own. If recently sold or listed properties in the community are publicized, it must be clear whether the REALTOR ® was actually involved in the transaction, or whether that data came from the local multiple listing service or other source. This ensures that the public understands the REALTOR ® ’s experience and can make an informed decision when choosing real estate representation.

Copyright National Association of REALTORS®, Reprinted from REALTOR.org with permission.