To most consumers, the terms "real estate agent" and "realtor" are synonymous. However, a closer look will tell a very different tale; the word "REALTOR®" is a technical term that means much more than "real estate agent."
A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® ("NAR"), the largest trade association in the United States. REALTORS® place high importance on honesty and good faith in their dealings with one another and with clients. REALTORS® take an oath to abide by a stringent, enforceable Code of Ethics along with Standards of Practice, which means REALTORS® owe specific duties to clients, the public, and to other REALTORS®. Their non-member "real estate agent" counterparts do not have to abide by any such code.
REALTORS® aggressively fight for the rights of homeowners through well-run state associations and knowledgeable political action committees. If there's an issue in the legislature that will negatively affect homeowners, you can bet that REALTORS® will fight to protect homeowners. REALTORS® regularly take training courses to ensure they serve their customers and clients with the level of skill, knowledge, and attention required by today's real estate consumer.
Most importantly, REALTORS® represent their clients with zeal. Many people, in fact, are not aware of the expertise, professional knowledge, and hard work that goes into a proper real estate transaction. The Orlando Regional REALTOR Association compiled these things into a very thorough list.
At Realty Executives of Cape County, we have set the REALTOR® Code of Ethics as the bare minimum standard for how we do business. This means we train on, and abide by, the Code and Standards of Practice to the fullest extent in our dealings with clients, the public, and with other REALTORS®, and in many cases, we try to set the bar even higher.
Anyone can attempt to "DIY" a real estate transaction. Some even get lucky and get through the transaction without a hitch. But beware: there are many land mines along the path from listing to closing and beyond, and REALTORS® know what they are and how to effectively navigate through the minefield.
So get REALTOR®. And more specifically, get Realty Executives.