What Does the “R” Stand For?

Jerry Martin and Realtors

Have you seen it?... It’s the “R” on your REALTORS®’ lapel, business card, sign or web page. It is the REALTOR® logo and it has significant history and meaning in the real estate world!

Only REALTORS® can display the logo as it signifies that these real estate brokers are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), an organization that is 1.3 million members strong in the U.S. Nearly 21,000 of those members are Washington REALTORS® and belong to local associations throughout the state.

But, believe me… there is a lot more behind that “R”!

Ethics and the Code

More than just identifying a member of an Association, the “R” means that the brokers wearing it voluntarily agree to abide by a Code of Ethics that defines high standards of industry professionalism!

In 1913, NAR's Code of Ethics was one of the first codifications of ethical duties adopted by a business group and it established duties to clients and to other brokers. As a living document, the Code has had ongoing review and revisions for more than 100 years to stay relevant. Today, the Preamble to that Code makes the statement:

“The term REALTOR® has come to connote competency, fairness, and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations.”

Advocates for Property Owners

Who is it that advocates for policies and issues to help strengthen the ability of people to own, buy and sell real property? It is often the group displaying the “R.”

In 1908, when the national association was first formed, its founders aspired not only to establish a Code of Ethics, but also to promote state licensing laws and to have a collective influence on issues that impact real estate such as community planning and taxes on property.

More than a century later, REALTORS® remain a powerful force contributing to policies at the federal, state and local levels of government.

I recently returned from our nation’s Capital where about 9,000 REALTORS® from across the country-including members from Thurston County and others from Washington State-met with lawmakers regarding our priorities that include housing inventory and affordability and the National Flood Insurance Program. We also urged Congress to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in the federal Fair Housing Act.

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics includes a commitment to provide equal professional services regardless of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Community Givers

As president of Washington REALTORS® this year, I have traveled the state and country and have met thousands of our members-proudly wearing their REALTOR® “R” pins-who are deeply involved in serving their communities.

There are many REALTORS®* who are active in charitable events and volunteer efforts. Some serve on non-profit boards and as elected officials. Giving back to the communities we sincerely care about is an integral part of our passion and what we do every day.

So, when you are looking for a skilled real estate practitioner, look for the REALTOR “R”. It is a symbol of professionalism, advocacy, volunteerism and a dedication to assist and protect those for whom home ownership is a big part of the American Dream.

I was the owner of a large real estate franchise in our region and to this day, every broker in those offices proudly displays their “R” and understands what it means…we wouldn’t have it any other way!

*Note: Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®; look for the REALTOR® logo when choosing your broker. It indicates they belong to the National Association of REALTORS® and pledge to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics.

The Olympian
As featured in The Olympian Sunday, June 17, 2018.

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