Have you ever met with several real estate agents, trying to find the perfect person to sell your home, and noticed some of them classified as REALTOR® instead of just agent or broker? Have you thought to yourself, “Well real estate agents and REALTORS® are the same thing”?
This is a common misconception. People use the terms real estate agent and REALTOR® synonymously, but the truth is, they are not the same. But why should you take a title into account when deciding who will sell your home?
Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. While both must be licensed to sell real estate, the biggest difference is that a REALTOR® must take that extra step of becoming a dues paying member of the National Association of REALTORS® and pledge to uphold the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. The NAR ethics code separates REALTORS® from non-member real estate agents.
Leslie Lowery with the Leslie Lowery Team at Your Castle Real Estate, became a REALTOR® at the start of her career in the industry, in the year 2006. Since then she has attended numerous Code of Ethics trainings and continued her membership in the local board of REALTORS®.
A REALTOR® must adhere to the Code of Ethics which includes 17 articles and Standards of Practice. This REALTOR® Code of Ethics is enforced by local real estate boards, and is much more strict than those state rules governing agents who only hold a real estate license.
Here are 17 things that as a REALTOR® I promise to do, which non-affiliates don’t:
- Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of my own and to treat all parties honestly.
- Refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts about a property; and to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
- Cooperate with other brokers/agents when it’s in the best interests of my client to do so.
- Disclose if I represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if I myself am a principal in a real estate transaction, that I am licensed to sell real estate.
- Avoid providing professional services in a transaction where I have a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
- Not collect any commissions without the seller’s knowledge nor accept fees from a third party without the seller’s express consent.
- Refuse fees from more than one party without all parties’ informed consent.
- Not co-mingle client funds with my own.
- Attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and give everybody a copy of what they sign.
- Not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
- Be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which I am unqualified.
- Engage in truth in advertising and marketing.
- Not practice law since I am not a lawyer.
- Cooperate if charges are brought against me and present all evidence requested.
- Agree to not bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
- Not solicit another REALTOR’S® client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
- Submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.
For more information, see the National Association of REALTORS® website here: