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Is It Important For An Agent To Be A REALTOR?

Written by on Thursday, 12 December 2013 2:02 pm
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According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the word REALTOR® is a registered mark that applies only to members who ascribe to its Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. Through the national, state and local associations, members receive educational and ethics training which can result in better business practices in serving consumers and communities.

Realtors can also obtain certifications in counseling, property management, and other specialties based on criteria such as years of practice, continuing education and testing.

But is a Realtor any better equipped to sell homes than any other licensed real estate professional? Real estate professionals are educated, trained and licensed by state-approved agencies – not the NAR.

If licensure and state oversight is the standard of practice as a real estate professional, any licensee is as qualified to sell real estate as any Realtor. This fact puts pressure on the NAR and its subsidiaries to deliver value for the hundreds of dollars required of members to stay current.

In recent years, the NAR has been battered by declining membership, a drawn-out battle with the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, the rise of third-party marketplaces Zillow and Trulia and franchisors that provide competing member such as Keller Williams and Realogy, and testy cabals formed by some of its most influential and dissenting brokers such as The Realty Alliance.

The result is the dilution of the power and effectiveness of the world’s largest trade organization. No longer does a licensee require membership to the NAR in order to have access to the valuable local multiple listing service, a ground rules cooperative that allows licensees to share and sell each other’s property listings. Practitioners can advertise their listings to consumers on third-party online services besides those sanctioned by association or broker-allied websites, which often have less traffic and name recognition at the local consumer level.

The word Realtor has become part of the lexicon and does little to distinguish licensees to consumers. And NAR’s carefully-crafted-to-say-nothing-memorable television ads fail to empower Realtors or clarify why consumers should prefer them over other licensees.

Is it important for an agent to be a REALTOR®? The answer depends on how the NAR handles these challenges moving forward.

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  About the author, Blanche Evans

4 comments

  • Comment Link Pārcelšanās pakalpojumi Monday, 16 December 2013 1:03 pm posted by Pārcelšanās pakalpojumi

    I have to agree to Mark here. NAR is doing a great job.

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  • Comment Link Thingy Monday, 16 December 2013 3:30 am posted by Thingy

    First, REALTOR is always capitalized as part of the trademark (but I can't access the trademark symbol to accompany the word). As far as REALTORS being "better" than just real estate licensees, that's a lot of bunk. I have been both, and the only reason I am a dues-paying REALTOR is because my chosen broker is a member so I have to be also (closed union shop). I was a good, ethical, educated agent back then, before I was a REALTOR, and still am. I have worked with several rather unethical and lackadaisical REALTORS in my 12+ years as a licensee, who think they can buy a reputation with the title of REALTOR. I am not a fan of Unions in general, and I would certainly not pay several hundred dollars annually just to have the title if I had a choice (yes, I know I have a choice of brokers, but I don't know of any more locally that are not REALTORs; my former broker is no longer located in my state). And I'm not interested in getting a broker license for myself, which would allow me to be a non-REALTOR if I so choose. So my opinion: No, it's not that important for an agent to be a REALTOR.

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  • Comment Link Mark Burns Sunday, 15 December 2013 5:15 pm posted by Mark Burns

    I think you missed pretty much the whole point of being a Realtor®; the code of ethics that members agree to abide by. The standards of Realtors® are above that of a licensee. They (NAR, state, and local associations) police their own through grievance, professional standards, and arbitration processes; beyond what is already codified in the law.

    I don't know of another group or trade organization (of real estate licensees) that lobbies and supports the rights of property owners like NAR. They fight for issues that affect homeowners. The mortgage interest deduction is a good example.

    Home building, residential sales, mortgages financing, and related services represent 15% of of GDP ($2 trillion a year). NAR and the countless smaller associations under their wing support the American Dream. It may seem self-serving but the bottom line is our economy would be in a lot worse shape if we didn't have laws in place that NAR has helped create and preserve over the past 100 years.

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  • Comment Link Mark Burns Friday, 13 December 2013 8:02 pm posted by Mark Burns

    I think you missed pretty much the whole point of being a Realtor®; the code of ethics that members agree to abide by. The standards of Realtors® are above that of a licensee. They (NAR, state, and local associations) police their own through grievance, professional standards, and arbitration processes.

    I don't know of another group or trade organization (of real estate licensees) that lobbies and supports the rights of property owners like NAR. They fights for issues that affect homeowners. The mortgage interest deduction is a good example.

    Residential sales, home building, and related services represent 15% of of GDP ($2 trillion a year). NAR and the countless smaller associations under their wing support the American Dream. It may seem self-serving but the bottom line is our economy would be in a lot worse shape if we didn't laws in place that NAR has helped create and preserve over the past 100 years.

    Report
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