All REALTORS® are real estate agents. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®.

“Yeah, so what?” you may ask.

Well, let me tell you why this could be important as you pick someone to help you buy or sell your home.

In order to become a REALTOR®, a real estate licensee must be a member of The National Association of REALTORS®. He will also probably be a member of a State Association, such as the the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®, and a local REALTOR® association. In Chester and Delaware Counties, the local association is called the Suburban West REALTOR® Association. In Montgomery County, the local association is called Montgomery County Association of REALTORS®.

There are currently 1.2 million members of the National Association of REALTORS® which makes it the largest trade organization in the country. The Pennsylvania State Association consists of over 30,000 members and the local Suburban West REALTORS® Association has over 4500 members, making it the largest local REALTOR® association in Pennsylvania.

You are probably still saying, “Yeah, so what?”

Well, First and foremost, the reason you ought to pick a REALTOR® to help you with your real estate transaction is our commitment and adherence to a very strict code of ethics. Our code sets the framework for the honest and ethical enterprise between the REALTOR® and their clients, the public, and other REALTORS®.

The Association has an elaborate structure and process in place to fairly mitigate grievances between parties, whether between a member and the public or between our membership. The associations are prepared to hear your grievances, mediate conflicts, and administer sanctions on members when necessary.

We are very concerned and interested in hearing about problems you encounter during your transaction or your association with one of our members. If you think you’ve been treated unfairly, you can be assured the association will act swiftly and thoroughly on any complaint or concern.

Secondly, it is a fact that trade organizations primary purpose is support the needs of their membership. The REALTOR® associations believe that the best way to support their members is support our clients, the consumer.

The fact that we are the largest trade organization in North America provides us with a substantial amount of influence in the local, state, and national legislatures. We use our influence in government to promote legislation that benefits and supports the sale, purchase, and private ownership of real estate. Whether it be home buyer tax credits at the federal level, sales tax legislation, real estate transfer taxes, reclamation of blighted communities at the state level, or local ordnances such as use and occupancy ordnances, zoning issues, and local transfer tax issues, the appropriate association of REALTORS® is diligently monitoring activities of the government and exerting influence in a meaningful and cooperative way to be sure that the interest of real estate services consumers are adequately protected.

All of the lobbying efforts at all government levels are funded through the personal donations of REALTORS® to RPAC, the REALTOR® Political Action Committee. We believe that our efforts to benefit you, the consumer, will make it easier and less expensive for you to sell or purchase a home, which will ultimately benefit our industry. We believe that what is good for you, the consumer, is also good for us.

Finally, REALTORS® are committed to increasing and improving their skills through continuous training and skills improvement. The local, state, and national associations are committed to education and offer hundreds of courses and continuing education opportunities to meet the ever changing conditions in the real estate industry. Whenever you see letters after the REALTOR’s®, it means they’ve committed themselves to specialized education so they may serve your needs more professionally. Ask your REALTOR® what those letters mean. I am sure she will be happy to explain what she had to do to earn them.

So, when you are considering what will probably be one of the most important and substantial personal financial transactions you may ever execute in your life, do you think you could use the assistance of a committed and professional with the knowledge, experience, and commitment to protect your interests in the arcane real estate process?

Consider hiring a REALTOR®. It may be the best decision you ever make.

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