What Is the Purpose of the National Association of Realtors (NAR)?
What is the National Association of Realtors? If you’ve ever dealt with a real estate agent in the US, chances are you have heard about the NAR. It’s even highly likely that you personally dealt with one of its members. Perhaps you closed on a home with someone who identified, not just as a real estate agent, but as a REALTOR®. This interaction would have been probable because the National Association of Realtors is the largest trade association in the country, with over 1.5 million members.
According to the NAR’s website, the organization represents and empowers ”residential and commercial brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors, and others engaged in the real estate industry.” The NAR is much more than just a membership organization. It offers continuous training and support to its members as well. Moreover, it functions as a real estate industry think tank, producing its own market insights and research into the latest real estate trends.
What really sets the NAR apart, though, is its emphasis on a coherent mission statement and a strict code of ethics for all members. The NAR’s website defines its mission ”to empower REALTORS® as they preserve, protect and advance the right to real property for all.” Why does this matter? Because it makes all members accountable to the mission statement, which aims to ”further clients’ best interests.” The NAR keeps fairness and a consumer-centered approach at the heart of its mission.
A Very Short History of the NAR
The National Association of Realtors wasn’t always known by its current name. It was founded as the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges in May 1908. It had just 120 members at the time. According to Investopedia, the original organization’s aim was to ”standardize real estate practices.” The Association adopted its code of ethics shortly after forming, in 1913.
The NAR trademarked the name REALTOR in 1950, although the term had been in use since 1916. Ever since the trademark registration, only members of the organization can call themselves “realtors” in the United States.
Education and Professional Development
One of the most important benefits the NAR offers its members is continuous education and professional development opportunities. In fact, not only are education courses offered to NAR members, but they are a requirement for anyone who wants to keep their membership, with different states enforcing different requirements for realtors to continue their education.
The courses offered by the NAR include:
- Designations and certifications that confirm a realtor’s ”experience and expertise in various real estate sectors,” according to the NAR.
- Commitment to Excellence courses that focus on best practices, customer service, and data privacy literacy.
- Code of Ethics training, which all realtors must complete every three years. This specialized training emphasizes the realtor’s area of expertise (e.g., residential, commercial, or appraiser practitioner).
- Realtor L.E.A.D courses specifically designed for realtors who either already are or want to become leaders of real estate organizations. These are practical courses based on real-life examples and scenarios and are meant to equip realtors with leadership skills.
- Virtual and online courses that are especially suited to realtors with daytime commitments. The online courses are self-paced and can be completed within an individual timeframe. Virtual courses are live and provide a great option for those unable to attend courses in person.
Research, Reports, and News
The NAR also performs a valuable service to the entire real estate community with its research and reporting work. According to the NAR website, the “NAR produces and analyzes a wide range of real estate data that can help guide your business and your clients.” Its housing market trend reports are eagerly awaited by all real estate professionals in the US because they consistently offer accurate assessments and predictions of housing market trends.
Staying on top of industry news and stats helps real estate professionals do their jobs well. Agents inevitably serve clients better when accurately informed about the current state of the housing market. Although local housing market conditions always vary, maintaining awareness of the bigger trends enables agents to steer their clients in the right direction. For example, a realtor who knows the housing market is slowing down will know how to manage client expectations better.
The NAR offers specialized financial management training to all realtors via its Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness. According to the Center, they provide ”a resource designed to help you understand your financial planning options and prepare for the future.” The Center educates realtors about budgeting options, real estate investing, and even retirement planning.
The Realtor Alliance
According to the organization’s website, the “NAR advocates every day for federal, state, and local policy initiatives that protect REALTORS® and the public.”
Any real estate professional starting out on their professional journey should consider the networking events and subdivisions of the NAR. These include:
- REACH: This networking organization facilitates relationships between real estate executives from over 85 countries.
- Young Professionals Network: They connect ”tomorrow’s leaders today.”
- Second Century Ventures: This group focuses on ”powering innovation in real estate technology.”
Awards & Grants
The NAR rewards ”outstanding members” with awards and grants, such as the Distinguished Service Award, 30 under 30 Award, Good Neighbor Awards Program, and the prestigious REALTOR® of the Year Award.
You can access tons of free content on the NAR’s website, including marketing advice, but members also take sales and marketing courses to round out their training.
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