The terms real estate agent and Realtor are often thought to be synonymous. However, in order to use the official designation and distinction of being a REALTOR®, a sales associate must be a member of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).
The National Association of REALTORS® is North America's largest trade association. It represents more than 1.2 million members.
The National Association of REALTORS® offers institutes, societies, and councils for its REALTORS® and its members are heavily involved in every aspect of the residential and commercial real estate industry.
Because the National Association of REALTORS® is a self-regulating entity, its members are sworn to adhere to a very strict code of ethics and standards of practice. Being a REALTOR® is an important distinction because membership affords an opportunity for a wide network of professionals who facilitate each others' professional development. The National Association of REALTORS® collectively conducts research, the results of which are made available to each member REALTOR®.
The National Association of REALTORS® is an historic organization founded in 1908. It began with 120 members. The National Association of REALTORS® is made up of residential and commercial REALTORS® who are:
National Association of REALTORS® members participate in more than 1,700 local associations and boards. The organization claims 54 state and territory associations of REALTORS®.
The National Association of REALTORS® is a powerful entity when it comes to dealing with government and lawmakers. The organization is committed to "the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system and the right to own real property," according to the NAR's Website.