San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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March 12th, 2009
The difference with a REALTOR®

Submitted by AMY DuBOSE
San Marcos Area Board of REALTORS®

Say you’re considering buying a house and your co-worker refers you to her real estate agent. Do you take the recommendation outright? Do you do your research?

Regardless, I recommend you find out if this practitioner merely holds a real estate license or is a Texas REALTOR. Wait, you say … is there even a difference?

As a consumer, you should know that there is indeed a difference. And the fact is that the difference matters.

Agent vs. REALTOR

Before a person can begin selling real estate in Texas, he must be licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) as a salesperson and sponsored by an established broker. Obtaining a license requires 210 hours of education and passing the real estate licensing exam. Within one year, the licensee must complete an additional 60 classroom hours of real estate education.

But merely holding a real estate salesperson or broker’s license from TREC does not make someone a Texas REALTOR. After earning the license, many agents elect to join their local association of REALTORS, the state-level association, and the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). Only after all these steps are taken can a person be called a REALTOR. Membership in this three-level system gives REALTORS (and their clients) advantages over agents who don’t join.

Why use a REALTOR?

REALTORS must adhere to NAR’s REALTOR Code of Ethics, which clearly identifies their responsibilities to the consumer. This code of ethics is the cornerstone of what it means to be a REALTOR. REALTORS pledge that they will treat all parties fairly and protect their clients’ interests – it’s a consumer-oriented code that holds REALTORS to a higher standard of professional behavior.

Texas REALTORS, in particular, have a long track record of working with state and local officials, as well as other regulatory bodies. These highly organized and effective efforts are focused on four main areas – keeping the cost associated with real estate transactions reasonable, preserving private-property rights; protecting consumer from proposals that make homeownership more difficult, and maintaining the overall health of the real estate economy.

If that’s not enough, Texas REALTORS are plugged into the best information and education, so they know more about the process of buying and selling real estate.

How do you find out? You ask …

To help spread the word about the benefits of working with a Texas REALTOR, we are on the airwaves! For the rest of March, you can hear a radio ad, called You Ask, designed to educate consumers on what sets Texas REALTORS apart from other real estate agents.

The ad is airing on 130 stations in many markets across the state. The spot explains that REALTORS are different from licensees who are not association members, mentions some of the key differences and encourages consumers to ask if their real estate agent is a Texas REALTORS.

You can also hear You Ask at TexasRealEstate.com. While you’re there, I invite you to browse around for more content, including three additional ads about the surprising state and health of the Texas real estate market, consumer-friendly tips and more information about Texas REALTORS.

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