Why Choose a REALTOR®

Home buyers and sellers often ask “What is the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®?” There are a number of important reasons why using a REALTOR® is important for receiving the professional, ethical and responsible service you desire in a real estate transaction.

Many people incorrectly use the term REALTOR® in a generic way to refer to all real estate agents. However, all agents are not REALTORS®. REALTOR® is a trademarked word and should only be used when referring to a member of the local, state and national real estate professional associations (like Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association). The term “real estate agent” is a generic term and refers to a sales agent who is responsible to a real estate broker and who is licensed by his or her state real estate commission to assist the broker in the business of buying, selling, exchanging, appraising, and managing property. A REALTOR® is an real estate agent who meets all these requirements, and more.

A REALTOR® is a real estate professional who subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics and high professional standards. The Code of Ethics contains rules of fairness and honesty that govern conduct and provide access to arbitration and dispute resolution. It provides a guide for long-term business success by helping to operate a real estate business smoothly and without obstacles.

Many REALTORS® seek additional professional development through education and earn the right to use REALTOR® designations. These designations are important when clients seek to find a REALTOR® who has specific training and certification in areas such as: residential properties, property management, real estate brokerage, and land consulting. Designations include “ABR” (Accredited Buyer Representative), “CRS” (Certified Residential Specialist), GRI (Graduate REALTOR® Institute) and others.

Choosing the Right REALTOR®

Consulting a professional REALTOR® in the buying and selling of your most important investment is a wise decision. Spend quality time interviewing several REALTORS® at various firms. The following guidelines may help you to find a REALTOR® who best meets your needs.

  • Choose your agent with care. Talk to friends, relatives, or co-workers who have utilized a REALTOR® ‘s services. What kind of service did they receive? Would they choose that same REALTOR® again?
  • Visit an open house to observe REALTORS® in action and judge their expertise.
  • Consider choosing a REALTOR® who holds professional designation.
  • Reference the real estate section of your newspaper and local homes magazines to review listings of homes in your price range. Also visit www.REALTOR.com, which contains an free searchable database of local REALTOR® listings.
  • In speaking with various REALTOR® firms, get a feeling of how well that firm knows the area you wish to explore — the neighborhood/community its school system and the businesses operating within the vicinity.
  • What is that REALTOR® ‘s qualifications? What is that REALTOR®’s specialty area? What professional courses or training sessions has he/she recently attended?

Taking these suggestions into consideration should provide you a pathway in finding the REALTOR® that best suits your needs, and one who can help you find that “perfect home.” The Hampton Roads REALTORS® Association is the Center For Real Estate in Southeast Virginia, serving over 3,000 REALTORS® and related businesses. HRRA serves residential, commercial, management, relocation, new homes, and appraisal specialist.