Although all Realtors are licensed by the California Bureau of Real Estate, not all real estate licensees are Realtors. So, what’s the difference?
Members of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors are also members of the California Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. The National Association of Realtors was founded in 1908, the same year the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors was founded.
By being a member, a Realtor subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics, developed by the National Association of Realtors and originally adopted in 1913. Realtors pledge to provide fair treatment for all parties involved, protect the right of individuals to own property and keep abreast of changes in real estate practice through continuing education and interaction with other professionals.
The first line of the original 1913 Code of Ethics requires as a duty to clients to “Be absolutely honest, truthful, faithful and efficient.” The starting point for the original Code of Ethics was the Golden Rule, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them,” and is still a part of the code’s preamble to this day. Realtors are the primary watchdogs of private property rights and advocates for homeownership benefits.
Realtors, as members of the local, state and national professional trade associations, have access to a vast array of educational programs, research and resources.
Many Realtors have earned professional designations or specialty certifications requiring intensive study. For example, Realtors who have obtained the Certified Buyer Representative and Certified Residential Specialist designations have been trained in all aspects of serving as buyers' and sellers' representatives in real estate transactions.
If you'd like to work with Realtors who are familiar with environmental issues of homeownership, international transactions or who work primarily with elderly clients, you might want to find Realtors who are designated as Green, as a Certified International Property Specialist or as a Senior Real Estate Specialist, respectively.
As a member of the California Association of Realtors, your Realtor can tap into numerous resources, like immediate access to full-time, staff real estate attorneys who can provide objective up-to-the-minute counsel. Your Realtor also receives up-to-date information on a wide variety of legal, financial and economic issues and has access to associations with more than 100 years of experience in real estate. And, if things don't work out, your Realtor can offer arbitration as a choice instead of lengthy and expensive legal proceedings.
The Santa Barbara, California and national associations of Realtors have served as the unsurpassed proponents of integrity, professional standards and private property rights fortification within the real estate industry since 1908. Be sure your agent is a Realtor.
— Ed Fuller is a real estate broker with San Roque Realty Inc. and president of the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 805.687.1551. The opinions expressed are his own.