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 WHAT IS A REALTOR®?

REALTORS® are licensed real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS®, The Voice for Real Estate®. REALTORS® are the most trusted source for real estate information.

The term REALTOR® is not a generic term; it is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a licensed real estate professional who is a member of NAR. The term REALTOR® is NOT synonymous with “real estate agent.” 

Please review the following three minute animated video from NAR: Are You Using 'REALTOR®' Correctly? that explains why protection of the trademark "REALTOR®" is so important and how you can tell immediately if you're using the term appropriately. -  Video

Visit the following page on NAR's website for detailed information regarding the use the term REALTOR® and its logos. Trademark Usage

There are approximately 3.2 million licensed real estate professionals in the United States, and 2.0 million of them are considered “active licensees,” but only 1.2 million are members of NAR.  REALTORS® work in both residential and commercial real estate as brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry. 

There are more than 1,400 local associations and boards and 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS®. Members join NAR through their local REALTOR® association. 

REALTORS® subscribe to NAR’s strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, which aims to protect consumers in the real estate transaction. 

The Code stipulates that REALTORS® be honest with all parties involved in a transaction, whether buyer, seller or cooperating agent. 

The Code requires REALTORS® to identify and take steps to eliminate practices which may damage the public or which might discredit or dishonor the real estate profession. 

REALTORS® must take a refresher training course on the Code of Ethics every four-year cycle. Real estate licensees who join NAR are required to take orientation classes on the Code. 

REALTORS® build communities. 

The role of REALTORS® in our communities goes far beyond the real estate transaction process of buying and selling. As local business owners and residents, REALTORS® are vested in building healthy and vibrant communities across the country, neighborhood by neighborhood.

As the leading advocates for housing issues, REALTORS® across the country participate in NAR’s Housing Opportunity Program, which provides tools and resources for promoting affordable housing at local, state and national levels. 

NAR partners with other real estate industry organizations to promote housing opportunities through the HOPE Awards (Home Ownership Participation for Everyone). The awards recognize REALTORS®, individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to increasing minority homeownership. 

The Good Neighbor Awards honor REALTORS® who have made an extraordinary commitment to improving the quality of life in their communities through volunteer work. In addition, thousands of REALTORS® volunteer time and resources in community projects organized by their state and local REALTOR® associations.  

REALTORS® add value to the real estate transaction. 

REALTORS® handle hundreds, if not thousands, of real estate transactions over the course of their careers, and can counsel and guide sellers through the process. 

REALTORS® have the expertise and experience to help sellers protect their investment and help buyers build theirs. 

REALTORS® have access to educational opportunities and training in real estate specialties that are not available to other licensees. In these courses, REALTORS® learn to develop skills in guiding clients and customers through the complex real estate transaction process. 

NAR offers advanced educational opportunities to its members that allow REALTORS® to offer a more diverse array of services with such accredited sub-specialties as buyer’s representation (ABR®), residential real estate expertise (CRS®, Internet readiness (e-PRO), and senior housing issues (SRES). 

Through membership in NAR’s affiliated institutes, societies, and councils, REALTORS® stay abreast of the most recent trends in their fields, remain well-informed of industry developments in their specialized areas, and address industry issues more effectively. 

REALTORS® are the leading advocate for private property rights, homeownership and housing issues. 

Every year, NAR leads the way on Capitol Hill and in the corridors of Washington to keep homeownership a top national priority.  

NAR’s support for the mortgage interest deduction and other federal policies helps keep housing more affordable and makes housing a great investment. Sound housing policies empower home seekers to purchase a home of their own.

WHAT CAN A REALTOR®DO FOR YOU?

The REALTOR® you work with could be one of your most valuable resources. Unlike many real estate agents who are simply licensed by their state to do business, REALTORS® have taken additional steps to become members of the local board of REALTORS® and have agreed to act under and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. Plus...

  • A REALTOR® can help you determine how much home you can afford. Often a REALTOR® can suggest ways to accrue the down payment and explain alternative financing methods.
  • A REALTOR®, in addition to knowing the local money market, also can tell you what personal and financial data to bring with you when you apply for a loan.
  • A REALTOR® can usually research your housing needs in advance through a Multiple Listing Service--even if you are relocating from another city.
  • A REALTOR® can show you only those homes best suited to your needs--size, style, features, location, accessibility to schools, transportation, shopping and other personal preferences.
  • A REALTOR® often can suggest simple, imaginative changes that make a home more suitable for you and improve its utility and value.
  • A REALTOR® is sensitive to the importance you place on this major commitment you are about to make. Look for a real estate professional to facilitate negotiation of a win-win agreement that will satisfy both you and the seller.
CHOOSE A REALTOR® TO SELL YOUR HOME
 

Once you've decide to sell your home, finding a REALTOR® is the next step in the process. In making this important decision you should understand:

  • What is a REALTOR®

  • How to evaluate an agent

  • What a REALTOR® will do for you

  • Selling on your own

If you're not in a "must sell" situation (job transfer, career opportunity, family upheaval, financial hardship), but rather in an "elective" one, you may want to consider adding on to your current home (if you need more space) or refinancing to lower monthly mortgage costs (if finances are a concern).

HOW TO EVALUATE A REALTOR®

Without any obligation, you can invite local REALTORS® to visit your home and give you a "listing presentation" about why they're the best ones to market it for you. Two to three presentations will probably give you a good opportunity for choice. A listing presentation includes having the REALTOR® review with you the reasons why you should list with that particular individual, and providing you with information that will assist you in making initial decisions about selling your home. Recent laws in every state have defined the duties of someone specifically retained as a real estate agent. Most states require a real estate agent to explain his or her role at the outset of any conversation. A professional agent will promptly provide this disclosure. 

The following are important questions to ask a potential agent:

  • Are you a REALTOR®?

  • Do you have an active real estate license in good standing. To find this information, you can check with your state's governing agency. To verify a Connecticut real estate license

  • Do you belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyer's search service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORS® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region.

  • If there's no nearby MLS, how often do you cooperate with other local brokers on a sale?

  • What have you listed or sold in this neighborhood lately?

  • Do you cooperate with buyers' brokers?

And in addition to the criteria mentioned above, there are a number of very important reasons you would typically prefer to work with a REALTOR®. Among them are the fact that they adhere to the National Association of REALTORS® highest standards of ethical conduct and professional training.

 

WHAT A REALTOR® WILL DO FOR YOU

There are many important reasons to use a REALTOR®. Some of the duties your REALTOR® will perform for you include:

  • Walking through the process of selling your home from beginning to end

  • Providing comparable information about the prices for which other properties have sold and analyzing data for you to gain a true comparison

  • Sharing information about your home through the Multiple Listing Service and on the Internet

  • Placing advertisements for your home

  • Fielding phone calls

  • "Qualifying" potential buyers to make sure they would be financially able to buy your property

  • Negotiating the sales contract

  • Complying with the disclosures required by law

  • Providing you with an estimate of the closing costs you will incur

  • Helping you prepare for a smooth closing of the transaction.  

WHY USE A REALTOR®?

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®.

But if you're still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR®, here are a dozen more reasons to use one:
  1. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power -- that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders -- banks and mortgage companies -- offer limited choices.

  2. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.

  3. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning. schools, etc. There are two things you'll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

  4. Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

  5. Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.

  6. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.

  7. Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.

  8. When selling your home, your REALTOR® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

  9. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.

  10. Your REALTOR® will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

  11. Your REALTOR® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing -- a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

  12. Your REALTOR® can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).