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A difference that matters
Wednesday, October 6, 2010 • Posted October 5, 2010 10:00 PM

Many people use the word Realtor to describe someone who is a real estate agent or broker. However, you should know there is a difference between a real estate agent or broker who is a Texas Realtor and one who is not. As a Realtor myself, I believe there are significant advantages for clients who hire a Texas Realtor.

Ethical practices

All real estate agents and brokers must be licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission to assist property owners in buying and selling real property. Only those who choose to become Realtors, however, commit themselves to a higher standard of professional conduct.

This standard is known as the Realtor Code of Ethics, which consists of 17 articles that outline a Realtor’s obligations to clients and customers, the public, and other Realtors. Each article is further broken down into several standards of practice that outline conduct expected of a Realtor.

The Code of Ethics is more than a document of aspirations. It is enforced through the Realtor organization to ensure the interests of clients and the public are protected. In fact, anyone can charge a Realtor with an ethics violation, and there are procedures in place to determine if the code has indeed been breached. If so, punishments range from mandatory education to hefty fines – sometimes even suspension of membership in the organization.

Head of the class

You may have seen a business card or Web page and noticed a string of letters, such as GRI, CRS or ABR, after a Texas Realtor’s name. Those letters represent professional designations offered through the Realtor organization or affiliated institutions.

As a buyer or seller, you can benefit from a Texas Realtor’s in-depth industry knowledge and expertise that comes from attaining designations. Each represents a different type of expertise – perhaps in buyer representation, affordable housing, technological proficiency, a specialty in some aspect of commercial real estate, and others.

Working together for Texas

Having a Texas Realtor represent you in a real estate transaction is to your advantage. But even if you aren’t currently buying or selling property, you also benefit from the actions of Texas Realtors on a much wider scale. Texas Realtors work together to promote the interests of homebuyers and property owners—and nowhere is this more evident than at the state Capitol.

The 82nd legislature is around the corner, and you can bet Texas Realtors will be standing up for private-property rights and the interests of Texas homeowners. We have an active presence at the Capitol and we fight for Texas real estate consumers, property owners, and the overall health of the real estate industry in our state.

Past successes at the Capitol include property-tax relief for homeowners, limitations on eminent-domain powers of local governments, establishment of strong homestead protections, prevention of a real estate transfer tax, and restrictions on home-equity lending. I’d like to point out that limitations on home-equity lending is cited as one reason Texas has weathered the recent national real estate crisis fairly well.

A difference that matters

So, Texas Realtors abide by a strict professional code, are obliged to treat all parties fairly, pursue education beyond what the law requires, and work for your benefit at the state Capitol. I hope you’ll consider hiring a Texas Realtor for you next transactions. It’s a difference that matters—for many reasons.

To learn more about buying, selling or leasing real estate in the Lone Star State, I invite you to visit TexasRealEstate.com.—the consumer oriented site maintained by Texas Realtors.

For your real estate needs, please contact RE/MAX Genesis at 830-833-2000.

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