For the most part, people believe a real estate agent and a Realtor® are one in the same. In reality, less than half of the licensed real estate agents in California are Realtors®. So what distinguishes a Realtor® from a real estate agent? There a several differences. However the most significant is Realtors® have an established code of ethics each member must follow.
This year we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Code of Ethics. The code was established in the early 1900’s and though it has been revised over the years, the philosophy as defined in the preamble remains as originally written: “In the interpretation of this obligation, Realtors® can take no safer guide than that which has been handed down through the centuries, embodied in the Golden Rule, 'Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.'”
The Code of Ethics has 17 articles divided into the following areas: Duties to Clients and Customers; Duties to the Public; and Duties to Realtors®. Each article details a standard of practice Realtors® must follow in their day-to-day business. Article 1 sets the stage:
When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, Realtors® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve Realtors® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, Realtors® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.
The NAR 2012 President Moe Veissi may have said it best, “The Code of Ethics is one way Realtors® demonstrate value to home buyers, sellers and investors. Buying a home is one of the most important investments people will make in their lifetimes, so having a Realtor® who abides by a Code of Ethics can provide an added layer of security.”
You can find a list of local Realtors® under "Members" on the Alameda Association of REALTORS® website.
The Alameda Association of REALTORS® has been serving its members and the community of Alameda for over 90 years.