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What is a Realtor versus a REALTORŪ?
   
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Q. What is the difference between a realtor and a REALTOR®?
 

To be a REALTOR®, a real estate licensee has to be a member of one of several professional trade associations in San Diego that has established a Realtor’s Code of Ethics.  The Greater San Diego Association of Realtors® (SDAR) is one of a handful of trade associations in San Diego and it has the largest membership base.  With membership in the trade associations comes disciplinary actions whenever the REALTOR® violates the code of ethics or the “standard of real estate practice” in the industry.  Just slightly more than half of all the real estate licensees in San Diego are members of the SDAR and can be called a REALTORS®.  Membership is increasing.  With membership comes many benefits, including continuing education, webinars, seminars and networking relationships that keep the REALTORS®  abreast of the latest real estate laws and market trends.

Real estate licensees who are not members of SDAR but working under the supervision of real estate brokers are called realtors (without capital letters and registered trademark).  A new requirement took effect on October 1 of 2007.  Persons aspiring for a real estate license are now required to complete at least three courses in real estate before they may sit on the salesperson licensing exam.  When they pass their exam and work for a brokerage firm, they remain as real estate licensees and cannot be called REALTORS® unless they have joined a local realtors association.  

The bottom-line message is: Not all realtors are alike.  They range in level of education from completion of high school to graduate, legal or medical education.  So, choose wisely who you entrust with your life savings to buy a house.