REALTOR® or Real Estate Agent?

Did you know there is a difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®? The terms are often used interchangeably but there is a distinct difference between the two.

While all REALTORS® are real estate agents, not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. A real estate agent is anyone who earns their real estate license by taking a certain number of pre-licensing education hours, and then passing an exam. They can be a sales person, a broker, or an associate broker.

The term REALTOR® has one, and only one, meaning: REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

The NAR is a professional organization that represents the interests of real estate agents and promotes ethical and professional standards in the industry. To become a REALTOR®, an agent must adhere to a specific code of ethics and standards of practice established by the NAR. This code of ethics requires REALTORS® to act in the best interest of their clients, promote and protect private property rights, and maintain a high level of professionalism in their dealings with other agents and the public. As REALTORS®, we’re bound to a high standard of ethics, integrity, and conduct. This is the minimum to uphold our standards while we strive to be an even better person.

Several of our local agents serve on the state level, The West Virginia Association of REALTORS® also known as the “Voice of Real Estate in West Virginia.” With a membership of over 3,300 REALTORS®, WVAR serves the diverse interest of all who specialize in residential or commercial real estate, including both established and new agents, brokers/owners, association executives, or board presidents.

On a local level, the Morgantown Board of REALTORS® is an association of approximately 400 real estate agents and nine service-related committees. The mission is to serve as the public’s liaison for all real estate needs while continuing to support, educate, and foster the relationship of its members who serve our communities. Our membership and committees volunteer, organize events to raise funds for nonprofits, and are always endeavoring to do more for our community.

Real estate is a unique industry. We work together to build up our community all while negotiating against each other on deals and competing for market share. We are also working in a professional, cooperative environment, with each REALTOR® representing our respective clients to help them find their next home and the next chapter of their lives.  The strength of our REALTOR® relationships many times may contribute to the success of the transaction. REALTORS® and other professional services will agree, there is value in working with personnel with whom you have a good pre-existing relationship. The respect we have amongst each other allows us to compete with class and with dignity. As you can see, there is much more to being a REALTOR® than just selling real estate. Until next week!

Eve Leombruno, 2023 MBOR President