What does it mean to be a REALTOR?


By Hugo Torres

Somewhere in the Twitterverse someone asked the question.

“What does it mean to be a REALTOR today?”

I’ve come across similar questions before but on this given day the urgency evoked in the “today” gave me pause and caused me to reflect. For years, I’ve talked about the virtues of working with a professional who takes on the responsibilities set forth in the REALTOR code of ethics. Outlined statistics that prove that consumers who contract a member of the NAR will typically fare better in their real estate goals. Promoted by the lobbying power of our association to enact positive change at the state and national levels.

What does it all mean though? More important, what does it mean for the real estate consumer today?

Interestingly enough, the overwhelming majority of conversations I’ve had about the importance of being a REALTOR have been with other real estate professionals. In over 10 years as a member of this industry I’ve seldom talked to a buyer or seller who has directly asked me in depth questions on the meaning of the “R” pinned to my shirt collar that tells the world my profession.

It could be that everyone already knows what being a REALTOR is all about. Have the commercials and print advertising educated them all over the years?

Perhaps the “R” is now synonymous with real estate and anyone who wears it simply tells those around that she/he is free to ask questions about the current market?

Either of those propositions could be true. That is unlikely, though. Moreover, the romantic in me feels that the question needs an answer and I too want to understand the meaning of a REALTOR.

Modern times seem to be witnessing an erosion in the practice of principles. Some in my industry are taking short cuts and cloaking themselves in the glitz of their high levels of production. They then claim this allows them to circumvent the rules and ethical promises they once pledged. They are well-known real estate agents and will continue to be successful because the machinery of marketing has already taken hold.

These agents are not my heroes.

I became a real estate sales professional and began my business because I wanted to provide a service to my community and in the process make a comfortable living. To accomplish this goal I derived a mission statement and adopted the REALTOR code of ethics. These two set of ideals act as a guiding light when I make decisions affecting those who I welcome as client-friends.

I model myself after those agents who have built upon themselves an ethical business and whose clients return to them year after year. Fellow agents flock to these men and women for advice and counsel.

Therefore, being a REALTOR today means holding an unwavering belief that professional challenges can be answered solely by key fundamental ideals. Like our Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, I believe that some truths are self-evident and that true professionals abide by them with intelligent zeal.

The public may not always ask the question when they encounter the “R”. Marketing may be working but I’m betting that staying true to a code will earn their ultimate trust. That goal is what brings meaning to what I do.

Link to Code of Ethics:

July 3, 2014

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