What is a REALTOR®
The main thing that distinguishes a REALTOR® from someone who's merely licensed by the state to sell real estate is the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which requires REALTORS® to put their clients' interests first at all times.
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics was first adopted in 1913 as a voluntary document outlining the professional duties of membership. The code became mandatory in 1924, four years after the Texas Association of REALTORS® was formed. This was an era before licensing was required in many states. Today, the Texas Real Estate Commission is the licensing authority for agents and brokers in Texas.
Holding a real estate agent's or real estate broker's license does not make someone a REALTOR®. Membership in the National Association of REALTORS® entitles licensees to use the term REALTOR® on their business cards and in their marketing materials.
Hiring a REALTOR® means you've retained someone who is committed to continuing education, professionalism, and integrity. The vast majority of REALTORS® participate in a local multiple listing service (MLS), which gives you a distinct advantage whether you're selling your home or looking for that special property
What a REALTOR® Can 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® is already familiar with current real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities, and may be aware of local zoning changes that could affect your decision to buy.
- 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.