When Is a Real Estate Agent a REALTOR®?


A real estate agent is a REALTOR® when he or she becomes a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, The Voice for Real Estate®, the world’s largest professional association.

The term “REALTOR®” is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and abides by its strict Code of Ethics.

The NAR Code of Ethics was adopted in 1913 and is strictly enforced by local real estate boards. The standards are much more restrictive and confining than state guidelines that govern all agents.

Founded in 1908, NAR has grown from its original nucleus of 120 members to 1.4 million today. Working for America’s property owners, the National Association of REALTORS® provides a facility for professional development, research, and exchange of information among its members.

Real estate agents must meet certain age and education requirements in the state where they want to work. Agents must then attend state-approved education courses and apply for and pass the state’s licensing exam. They can then apply for a real estate license. Some states have ongoing certification requirements. A REALTOR® must meet all of these standards, but must additionally pass a course on the NAR Code of Ethics and every four years thereafter to maintain certification.