What’s the Difference between agent and Realtor®?
Hi, all! Hope you had a great week enjoying the subtle changes Mother Nature is offering up these days. This is my absolute favorite time of year and I am in seventh heaven! Last week I talked about using a Realtor® when renting a home as opposed to buying. That got me thinking that just as many people don’t realize all the varied services we provide, they may also not know the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor®, so that’s my topic today.
There are many specialties in the real estate business such as residential, commercial, property management, etc. all of which fall under the same licensure. As a licensed real estate agent I could legally practice any and all these types of services under the supervision of my broker. But I don’t because although familiar with, I am certainly not well versed in all the various capacities I could potentially practice. I specialize in one thing, residential, and leave the other arenas to professionals more knowledgeable in those fields. Could I make more money if I did everything legally under the scope of my license? Potentially, yes, but ethically I would be doing a disservice to my customers and clients if I attempted to navigate a transaction I was not well versed in. The key word here is ‘ethically’.
What many people don’t realize is every real estate licensee is an agent, however not every real estate agent is a Realtor®. Just as Kleenex® is a word many use synonymously with ‘tissue’ technically one is a patented brand and the other is a general term. Realtor® is a trademarked term reserved to those who are members of the National Association of Realtors, also know as NAR. Although all licensees must follow state laws under the Real Estate Commission, members of NAR must follow a very detailed and strict Code of Ethics & Standards of Practice. This document, originating in 1913, consists of three sections addressing the public, customers & clients, and colleagues. There is a total of 17 Articles and each have several Standards of Practice that address specific issues as our industry evolves. In other words, we hold ourselves to a standard beyond what the law outlines for us. We train periodically and take very seriously the enormous responsibility we have to ourselves, the public, and each other in our day to day practice. Therefore I would not ethically, nor in good conscious, work outside my scope of knowledge as that would violate Article 11 of the Realtor® Code of Ethics.
Those of us who proudly wear and promote the big ‘R’ do so because we believe in the importance of our industry, and do all we can to promote the public’s right to fair and ethical dealings in all aspects of real estate. So the next time you see that symbol or hear that term, rest assured you’re in good hands. Oh, wait, wrong tag line…
Until next week, take care of yourselves and don’t forget to send me those burning questions.