Most everyone knows that C.P.A. is a professional accounting designation, and that M.D. is a professional in medicine, but did you know that “Realtor” is the symbol of a professional in the real estate business?
Many people use the term Realtor synonymously with ‘real estate agent’ or ‘salesperson’. This assumption is incorrect. Not every real estate agent is a Realtor. Realtor is a designation that applies to one who pursues continuing education, abides by a strict Code of Ethics, stands for private property rights, and opposes discrimination in housing.
You may be aware that Realtors are required to hold a state real estate license, but there are many other designations that a well educated Realtor can hold. To become a licensed real estate agent, one must meet minimum requirements outlined by state statutes. The applicant must furnish satisfactory proof to the Real Estate Commission that he or she has received a degree from an accredited degree granting college or university with a major course of study in real estate, or from any private occupational school that has a certificate of approval. The applicant must have completed 48 classroom hours in real estate law and contracts. Additional experience and/or course work is required to obtain a broker’s license, as well as an additional full day exam.
To renew a real estate license, the Colorado Real Estate Commission requires that an active agent take 24 hours of continuing education every three years.
The trend toward higher education among the real estate profession is growing as Realtors see the benefits that increased education can have for their customers. Once a person has obtained a real estate license, the next educational level which is not required, but is highly desirable, is the Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) designation. Real estate agents can earn the nationally recognized GRI designation after successfully completing a rigorous program of course work including law, finance, investment, taxation, valuation, ethics, land use, and construction.
Other professional designations include Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Counselor of Real Estate (CRE), and Masters in Real Estate (MRE). When people see these designation, they will be able to identify them with real estate professionals who have a commitment to excellence in real estate.
In addition to gaining advanced education, Realtors are professionals who promote the good of the real estate industry, as well as look out for the clients they serve.
A Realtor organization is based upon a Code of Ethics to which each member agrees to adhere. Within the Code are provisions that govern fair housing, professional conduct, and advertising.
Realtors also work as a “watchdog” for legislation that negatively affects private property, property taxation, and real property rights in relation to buying and selling land and homes. This was most recently demonstrated by Realtors’ successful efforts to pass a state law in Colorado mandating disclosures and explanations to consumers regarding the relationships between brokers and consumers in real estate transactions.
Realtors are the true professionals in real estate. When you are considering buying or selling real estate, look for the “Realtor” designation.