What Makes a Real Estate Agent a REALTOR®?
By Frank Hough, November 2nd, 2018.
What makes a real estate agent a REALTOR®? The terms are often used interchangeably, but they mean awfully different things. It was something that even I didn’t understand very well early in my career.
A REALTOR® is someone who is part of the National Association of REALTORs®, the largest trade organization in the United States. Not all real estate agents are REALTORs®, in fact many agents aren’t part of the trade organization.
Why would someone elect (and pay) to be part of the National Association of REALTORs®? Well first and foremost they kind of own the MLS. When a brokerage chooses to be part of the National and Local REALTOR® associations they gain access to the MLS.
Most consumers would see this as the “back-end” of the MLS. The “front-end” of the MLS that consumers see is actually something called an IDX feed. This IDX feed pulls information in from the MLS and propogates listing data.
A second and very important reason why agents become REALTORs® relates to a code of ethics. The National Association of REALTORs® has a strict code of ethics that all REALTORs® are required to follow.
This code of ethics puts standards of practice in place for REALTORs® regarding their duties to clients, customers, the public, and fellow REALTORs®.
All real estate agents are obligated to follow state laws. In Minnesota our real estate laws are laid out in chapter 82 of the state statutes. However, only REALTORs® are obligated to follow the code of ethics.