Last Updated on April 7, 2024

What Does REALTOR® Mean? | Real Estate Definition

By Alan F Macdonald

What is a REALTOR®?

Not to be confused with a real estate agent, a REALTOR® is someone who sells real estate and is also a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) in Canada, or a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) in the United States. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. That said, I’ve never seen a residential real estate agent in Edmonton who wasn’t a REALTOR® as this membership provides with access to MLS and other benefits.

REALTOR® is a membership trademark used by both CREA in Canada and the NAR the United States to designate a licensed member.

Real Estate Agent Explaints REALTORS®

There are over 100,000 REALTORS® in Canada and more than 700,000 REALTORS® in the United States, but not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. Very often, the public refers to any real estate agent as a REALTOR®, but only members of CREA or the NAR can actually call themselves REALTORS®. Originally it was claimed by the industry that the word realtor was short for ‘real estate operator’.

Why Does It Matter?

REALTORS® are all subject to codes of ethics and privacy as well as a pledge and principles of competition that are written to protect clients, customers and the professional associations that govern REALTORS®. Some parts of the code vary from province to province or state to state, but the goal is to make sure all REALTORS® follow the rules for reasons of accountability, privacy, disclosure and documentation. Since all REALTORS® are part of an organization with the ability to govern member behavior, the safety of clients and customers of REALTORS® is maintained.