Did you know that there is a difference between a REALTOR®, and a real estate agent? When I first became a real estate agent I thought that if you were a real estate agent you were also a REALTOR®. I was wrong, there’s a big difference.
The real estate industry in Colorado is regulated by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA). There are licensing requirements and common law obligations that must be adhered to in order to hold a real estate license, but there is not a code of ethical standards in which real estate agents must uphold. In short, this means that if you are dealing with an unethical real estate agent who is not a REALTOR®, your only recourse may be to file a complaint with DORA or the courts.
A REALTOR®, in comparison, is a real estate agent who chooses to subscribe to and follow a strict code of ethics and standards of practice as developed by the National Association of Realtors. If a REALTOR® is accused of violating the Code of Ethics they agree, as a condition of membership, to arbitrate contractual disputes and specific non-contractual disputes. New REALTORS® must take an ethics course and pass an ethics exam, and continuing REALTORS® take an ethics refresher course every four years. In short, REALTORS® are real estate agents who want to play by the rules, treat all parties honestly, and submit to disciplinary action if found to be in violation of these ethical standards.
Choosing to work with a REALTOR® also means that you are working with a professional who strives to remain informed on issues affecting real estate and, as knowledgeable professionals, they willingly share the fruit of their experience and study with others. REALTORS® acknowledge that cooperation with other real estate professionals promotes the best interest of those who utilize their services. If you are looking for a real estate agent with integrity, you will find it in a REALTOR®.
Being an honest and reliable person and professional is important to me. I take my commitment to professional and ethical business very seriously and that is why I am a REALTOR® and serve on the Professional Standards Committee of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors.