The Letter R
February 24, 2012, by Michele Gila
A letter that stands on its own can mean a great deal depending who you are. In my world, R stands for Realtor®. Yes, that is the symbol for Registered Trademark; the term Realtor means a very specific type of professional practitioner.
“Under all is the land.” These are the very first words of the preamble to the Realtor® Code of Ethics, set forth by the National Association of Realtors®. “Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization.” Perhaps you weren’t aware that to be able to use the word Realtor® for my business, I must subscribe to and adhere to this ethical code. You might also find it interesting that Portland was one of the very first cities to establish a Realtor® Association, just 100 years ago and it remains one of the largest Realtor® Associations in America today.
It may be of interest to understand that the word Realtor has only two syllables. We work with Real Property, which is also known as Realty though sometimes mistaken as reality. So, we adopted the word Realtor, as opposed to a Realitor, since we work with Realty not reality, though usually we work with both!
Back to the R and the Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics was adopted in 1913 to provide more accountability, beyond that of an ordinary real estate sales person. Many citizens can be real estate licensees, but to call yourself a Realtor® you are subscribing to the Code of Ethics as your governing principles, and you are held accountable. To date, the code includes 17 Articles with 88 Standards of Practice. All of which can most easily be embodied in the Golden Rule which is quoted in the Preamble to the Code of Ethics, “Whatsoever ye would that others should do to you, do ye even so to them.” We have duties to clients and customers, duties to the public, and duties to our fellow Realtors®. By holding membership in our Association, we adopt these duties voluntarily, which go well beyond the mandates of government.
So look for that letter R in matters involving real estate. “Realtors®, therefore, are zealous to maintain and improve the standards of their calling and share with their fellow Realtors® a common responsibility for its integrity and honor.”