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5 Things Even Smart People Get Wrong About Realtors®

1. How to Say It. People want to add an invisible “a” between the two syllables and pronounce it “real – a – tor”. It’s two syllables and two syllables only – “real-tor”. Even some Realtors pronounce it incorrectly (if your Realtor does, my advice is to find another Realtor!).

2. What it Means. This one really aggravates Realtors! It does NOT mean “someone who is licensed to conduct real estate sales and leasing”. It means one thing and one thing only – that the person is a member of the National Association of Realtors. That’s it. Even @JoeSneve with the @ArgusLeader got it wrong in his July 9, 2020 article when he referenced an agent at Van Buskirk Companies as the “realtor managing the deal”. Did he mean “the member of the National Association of Realtors managing the deal”? Nope. He used the terms licensed agent and Realtor as if they were interchangeable. They are not. (By the way, Van Buskirk’s agents are NOT Realtors.)

3. Who it Represents. You don’t have to be a Realtor to conduct real estate activities, but you must be licensed. If you are licensed, you can choose to be a Realtor or not. In the Sioux Falls metro area, residential agents are typically Realtors, most commercial agents are not. (All of the commercial agents at Jim Dunham & Associates are Realtors.) Why not?
a. Dues. Realtors must pay annual dues to the Local, State and National Association of Realtors. (Talk about putting your money where your mouth is!)
b. Ethics. All licensees must abide by the law (or suffer the consequences). Realtors also have to abide by the Realtor Code of Ethics, which requires behavior above and beyond the law. Not every licensed agent wants to adhere to a Code of Ethics.
c. Education. Realtors have to take continuing education above and beyond what the law requires. Education costs time and money, and not every licensee is willing to invest in their professional development.

4. What it Means to Consumers. The Realtor organization’s mission is to “Empower Realtors as they preserve, protect and advance the right to real property for all.” I can think of no other organization who advocates for the rights of current and future property owners to ensure they are not diminished by concepts like eminent domain or “takings”.

5. What the Colors Mean. Only Realtors can use the Realtor “R” in their advertising or presentations. You’re likely already very familiar with the Realtor “R”, but did you know there are two colors? If you see the “R” in blue, it means that agent/office specializes in residential real estate. If you see the “R” in red, it represents a specialty in commercial real estate.
The next time you are looking for a real estate professional who gives back to the industry that provides their livelihood AND advocates for your rights, be sure to engage a Realtor! You can check a licensee’s Realtor status at, Member Search.

Don’t you just FEEL smarter now?!

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