What is a REALTOR®
A realtor is a professional real estate agent, property manager, appraiser, or other individual directly involved in the real estate industry that is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Every realtor is also a member of one of 54 state or territory associations and one or more of over 1600 local membership associations. The most common type of realtor is a real estate salesperson or broker. As such, a realtor is licensed to help their clients purchase or sell their home. The realtor may earn other professional designations such as Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) or Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM). The realtor pledges adherence to a strict code of ethics. Realtor is a registered membership mark of the National Association of Realtors. (source: investorglossarry.com )
Here are 17 things that a REALTOR does over and above a sales agent or real estate agent (according to ABOUT.COM)
#1) Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
#2) Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting or concealing material facts; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
#3) Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so.
#4) Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate.
#5) Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
#6) Shall not collect any commissions without the seller's knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller's express consent.
#7) Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties' informed consent.
#8) Shall not co-mingle client funds with their own.
#9) Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
#10) Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
#11) Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
#12) Must engage in truth in advertising.
#13) Shall not practice law unless they are a lawyer.
#14) Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
#15) Agree not to bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
#16) Shall not solicit another REALTOR'S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
#17) Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.
Now you could work with an agent or individual that does not adhere to these rules and is NOT a REALTOR® but why would you?