The Difference Between a REALTOR® and a Real Estate Agent
The Hall County Board of Realtors Annual Banquet was held this week at the Chattahoochee Country Club on Lake Lanier. Such a beautiful venue, I literally start to relax as I pull into the parking lot there. Several of us gathered after the banquet and talked about what a big and exciting deal it used to be to dress up to go collect what were then called Million Dollar Club Awards. Back in the day, we even rode around with Million Dollar Club tags on the front of cars. Thankfully, several years ago, someone smarter than us realized how preposterous 'Million Dollar Club' sounded. I feel sure that the general public, unaware as to the criteria it took to attain this sales award, and in reality, our real estate clients, customers, and consumers thought we were bragging about making a million dollars. And we wonder why consumers, when polled, have experienced negative thoughts when it comes to REALTORS® and real estate agents. That recognized level of sales is now referred to as The Circle of Excellence Award.
As to the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®: A REALTOR® adheres to a strict REALTOR Code of Ethics. Our Code of Ethics contains 17 Articles and various underlying Standards of Practice. I'm not claiming all REALTORS® are morally or ethically better than unaffiliated real estate agents. We are all, REALTORS® and real estate agents alike, held to the same legal standards. What REALTORS® do:
#1) Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
#2) Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts; and are obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
#3) Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so.
#4) Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, disclose that they are licensed to sell real estate.
#5) Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
#6) Shall not collect any commissions without the seller's knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller's express consent.
#7) Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties' informed consent.
#8) Shall not co-mingle client funds with their own.
#9) Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
#10) Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
#11) Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
#12) Must engage in truth in advertising.
#13) Shall not practice law unless they are a lawyer.
#14) Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
#15) Agree not to bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
#16) Shall not solicit another REALTOR'S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
#17) Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) was founded in 1908 and has more than one million members. I am proud to be part of a firm, The Norton Agency, that ONLY engages REALTORS® to list and sell real estate. The image here depicts that of National Association of REALTORS®, and I'm proud to display it, letting the world know I'm a REALTOR.