How Real Estate Professionals Operate

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Realtors vs. Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents, home appraisers, property managers, real estate counselors, and brokers can become Realtors by joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
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The term Realtor is a registered trademark used to refer to an individual who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In the United States, a licensed real estate agent helps clients buy and sell commercial or residential properties. However, not all real estate agents are Realtors, and not all Realtors are necessarily real estate agents. Home appraisers, property managers, real estate counselors, and real estate brokers can be members of the NAR and earn the title of Realtors.

Each state in the U.S. has its own requirements for obtaining a licensed real estate agent. Most states require a minimum of 30 to 90 hours of classroom instruction in real estate fundamentals from an accredited college, university, or technical school [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. After completing real estate school, the applicant must pass an official exam that covers real estate standards and practices, national real estate law, and laws that affect the specific state. A real estate agent pays an annual fee for their license, which must be renewed every one or two years [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. Some states require a specific amount of continuing education to renew a license.

Only half of all licensed real estate agents in the U.S. are NAR members or Realtors. To become a member of the NAR, an individual must join their local real estate board or association. Real estate associations are often organized by county or region. You can find your local board in the phone book or by searching the NAR website. After joining the local board, membership is automatically extended to the national organization.

New NAR members must take an online course on the ethics code and pass an exam. Current members are required to take an online ethics refresher course every four years. Membership in a local real estate board or association requires an annual fee that covers membership dues for the NAR and state-level real estate associations.

To be eligible for membership, individuals must agree to adhere to the NAR’s strict code of ethics and standards of practice. The official ethics code is revised annually to reflect the latest issues in real estate law and practice, and its core message is to “treat all parties honestly” [source: National Association of Realtors]. Although the primary duty of a buying or selling agent is to their client, Realtors promise never to mislead or withhold information from anyone involved in the real estate transaction, including the other real estate agent and their clients.

The NAR ethics code distinguishes Realtors from non-member real estate agents. Although ethical principles are included in many state education and licensing programs, the NAR code obligates Realtors to follow the code of ethics and standards of practice discussed earlier. Becoming a Realtor is partly about capitalizing on the positive reputation of NAR members. The idea is that consumers will choose to work with a real estate agent who has sworn to treat all parties fairly and honestly.

The NAR provides its members with the advantage of a unified voice to urge state and federal governments to enhance legal safeguards, similar to other trade organizations. NAR members can network and gain knowledge on the best practices for their communities through local associations. Additionally, Realtors can refine their skills and increase their likelihood of success in this fiercely competitive industry through annual conferences and continuing education courses. Moving on, let’s examine the specific ways in which a Realtor can assist someone who wishes to sell their home.


1. What do realtors do?

Realtors are licensed professionals who help individuals buy, sell, or rent properties. They provide guidance and advice on the real estate market, assist with negotiations, and handle the legal and financial aspects of transactions.

2. How do realtors get paid?

Realtors typically earn a commission on the sale or purchase of a property. This commission is usually a percentage of the total sale price and is split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent.

3. What qualifications do realtors need?

Realtors need to complete a certain number of hours of real estate courses and pass an exam to obtain a license. They also need to stay up-to-date on industry regulations and trends through continuing education courses.

4. How do realtors find clients?

Realtors often rely on referrals from past clients, networking with other professionals, and advertising their services online and in print. They may also work with real estate agencies that provide leads and marketing support.

5. What should I look for in a realtor?

You should look for a realtor who has experience in the type of transaction you are interested in, has a good reputation in the industry, and communicates effectively with you. It’s also important to find someone who is familiar with the area you are interested in buying or selling in.

6. Can I work with multiple realtors at the same time?

Technically, you can work with multiple realtors at the same time, but it’s not recommended. This can lead to confusion and conflict, and it’s better to choose one realtor to work with exclusively.

7. How do realtors determine the value of a property?

Realtors use a variety of tools and methods to determine the value of a property, such as comparing it to similar properties that have sold recently, assessing the condition and features of the property, and analyzing market trends.

8. How do realtors help buyers negotiate a deal?

Realtors help buyers negotiate a deal by providing market data and analysis, advising on offer amounts and terms, and presenting offers to the seller’s agent. They also work to resolve any issues or contingencies that arise during the negotiation process.

9. What is the role of a realtor in the home buying process?

Realtors help buyers navigate the home buying process by providing guidance on financing, identifying suitable properties, negotiating with sellers, and coordinating the legal and financial aspects of the transaction.

10. How do realtors market properties?

Realtors market properties through a variety of channels, including online listings, print advertising, open houses, and networking with other real estate professionals. They may also use social media and targeted marketing campaigns to reach potential buyers.

11. How do realtors handle legal and financial aspects of a transaction?

Realtors work with attorneys, lenders, and other professionals to ensure all legal and financial aspects of a transaction are handled properly. They may review contracts, coordinate inspections and appraisals, and assist with the closing process.

12. How do realtors stay up-to-date on industry trends and regulations?

Realtors stay up-to-date on industry trends and regulations through continuing education courses, attending conferences and seminars, and networking with other professionals in the industry. They also read industry publications and stay informed about local and national real estate news.

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