Real Estate Agent vs. REALTORĀ®

Posted by on Friday, May 3rd, 2019 at 8:54am.

So what is REALTOR® anyway?

Have you ever wondered why Real Estate Agents are commonly referred to as REALTORS®?  There are many terms used to identify a Real Estate Agent that can add some confusion; managing broker, a broker associate, exclusive buyers agent etc.  First and foremost a Real Estate Agent can be a REALTOR®, a managing broker, a broker associate and an exclusive buyers agent, but not all can be called a REALTOR®.   In order to be a REALTOR® the agent must be a member of a NAR- National Association of REALTOR® (notice the trademark?) and subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. It pays to know the difference when you decide to hire someone to assist you in buying or selling a home.  

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which includes 17 articles, is what sets a REALTOR® apart from a Real Estate Agent.  To many consumers, this is the part that matters, and it should.  If you're wondering why the Code of Ethics matters to a consumer I’ve listed them below. The overall message is that we are honest, put others interests in front of our own, and run our business with morals, ethics and a sense of dignity.

NAR's Code of Ethics was adopted in 1913 and was one of the first codifications of ethical duties adopted by any business group. “The Code ensures that consumers are served by requiring REALTORS® to cooperate with each other in furthering clients' best interests.”


  1. Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
  2. Refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts about a property; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
  3. Cooperate with other brokers/agents when it's in the best interests of the client to do so.
  4. 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, that they are licensed to sell real estate.
  5. Avoid providing professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
  6. Not collect any commissions without the seller's knowledge nor accept fees from a third party without the seller's express consent.
  7. Refuse fees from more than one party without all parties' informed consent.
  8. Not co-mingle client funds with the agent's own.
  9. Attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
  10. Not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
  11. Be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
  12. Engage in truth in advertising and marketing.
  13. Not practice law unless the agent is a lawyer.
  14. Cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
  15. Agree to not bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
  16. Not solicit another REALTOR'S® client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
  17. Submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.

So now that you know what you know… what will you do?  Will you hire a REALTOR® that has invested in their business, takes their job and clients seriously, has joined NAR and pledged to be ethical, honest and fair?  Seems like a no brainer to me… but hey, in full disclosure I’m a REALTOR®. 


Email me with any questions or concerns you may have about this topic or the Denver Real Estate market:


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