What does it mean for the NAR industry?

By Ciprian Morariu Published: April 3, 2024

NAR industry

Are you an aspiring real estate agent or broker? If you are considering a career in real estate but are new to the industry, it is important to cover the ground in terms of knowing about it. 

From understanding the different roles and job titles to learning about the industry’s rules and regulations, there is a lot to learn. 

Many aspiring and new professionals often make the common mistake of using common job roles and titles interchangeably, especially the likes of real estate agents, brokers, and realtors. 

Although an agent and a broker share many common job responsibilities, there is a significant difference between the two job roles. 

Similarly, a broker and a realtor also share some key duties, but they are distinctively different due to their unique eligibility and qualifying criteria. 

NAR or the National Association of Realtors is the biggest trade association in the USA with over 1.5 million members of real estate professionals.  

It has members who are associated with 54 states along with 1000+ national and international affiliations. 

Apart from licensed realtors, other related real estate professionals such as home appraisers, inspectors, property managers, and attorneys are also members of NAR.  

In this article, we are going to dive deeper into the history and origin of the National Association of Realtors, plus talk about its role in the real estate industry. 

What is the NAR

NAR, founded in Chicago in 1908, is today one of the largest trade associations in the country and a leading authority and guiding force for real estate professionals.   

The founding purpose of the NAR was to unify real estate professionals and establish a common standard for discussing, resolving, and promoting matters of real estate.  

The NAR Code of Ethics, established in 1913, is among the first established and codified standards of professional conduct for any group. 

Among the functions of NAR is to provide real estate professionals with the skills and knowledge for career development. The term REALTOR is used only by those real estate practitioners who are members of NAR.  

In case you are wondering, the word REALTOR is used in all caps as it is a registered trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Authority. 

This trademark serves as a stamp that an individual is more than just a working professional in the real estate industry, they are a licensed member of the NRA with a code of ethics.  

What NAR does

Real estate is a fast-paced and ever-evolving industry that goes through changes and updates constantly. 

To keep up with the emerging trends, changing needs, and evolving environment dynamics, the NAR establishes the operating principles, standards of practice, and general guidelines for transparent and efficient real estate practice.

In the simplest of definitions, the sole purpose of the NAR is to help real estate professionals advance, progress, and succeed in the industry. 

Let us look at some of the key roles of the NAR in the real estate industry: 

  • Provides certification and training to real estate professionals and helps them expand their knowledge and develop new skills.
  • Establish a code of ethics and conduct for promoting ethical, transparent, and fair real estate practices in the industry.
  • Provide the most comprehensive and up-to-date real estate data in the country to real estate agents, brokers, and realtors who are a member of the NRA. 
  • Promotes the rights and interests of consumers in the real estate industry by advocating public policies for fair housing, low interest rates, and housing insurance. 
  • Conducts research on market updates, industry trends, and emerging technologies to anticipate and prepare for the future. 
  • Provides a centralized, secure, and up-to-date database of real estate listings called the Multiple Listing services along with housing market updates and key industry insights. 
  • Helps provide expert testimony for the record and represent the interests of the real estate industry in the House of Representatives and Senate. 

Why join the NAR

Many aspiring salespeople, brokers, and realtors often face a common question - why join the NAR and what exactly are the benefits of joining?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) membership is not mandatory and it is a personal (and professional) choice of an individual to join the NAR. 

However, for some brokers, joining the NAR becomes an important stepping stone to reach the next level of your career. 

In fact, many aspiring realtors start planning and preparing for their NAR membership in advance to avoid any unwanted hassles or last-minute issues. 

Being a member of NAR brings with it several benefits. 

  • They get networking opportunities with fellow professionals at the state and federal levels. By participating in these events, they can expand their knowledge, add new connections, and discover new prospects for business growth.  
  • NAR members gain knowledge and insights on the market and industry trends as the NAR equips its members with educational resources. These include research, courses, training materials, legal counsels, and best practices. 
  • Members of the NAR get exclusive access to the Multiple Listings Service database for finding properties and houses for sale or purchase. By having access to the MLS, it becomes easier for you to find and filter properties based on location, price, and features. 

Additionally, members of the NAR also get discounts, offers, and promotional deals on insurance, rentals, and other purchases. 

How to join the NAR

To become a member of the National Association of Realtors, one must withhold and exhibit the highest standard of professionalism, integrity, and honesty. 

Then comes the additional set of eligibility requirements as established by the NAR. 

Firstly, you must have an active, state-authorized real estate salesperson or broker’s license. 

To obtain your real estate license, you will need to complete pre-licensing education from a state-accredited college or course provider. 

There are several in-person real estate license schools or online course providers from which you can choose any state-approved course provider. 

The duration of the pre-licensing course lasts between a few weeks to months. 

During your training, you will be taught about the fundamentals of real estate, including topics such as - real estate principles, real estate law, real estate finance, ethics, and regulations, among other foundational subjects. 

Secondly, you must have at least two years of valid industry experience working under a licensed senior broker or a brokerage firm. 

After you have fulfilled the above eligibility requirements, then you can proceed to the next step and submit the necessary paperwork and proofs to become a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). 

Note that you have to pay an annual fee of $156 to join and maintain your membership with the NAR. 

Disadvantages of joining the NAR

Yes, there are significant benefits to becoming a member of the country’s exclusive association of real estate professionals. 

However, there are also some cons that are worth mentioning to help you make an informed decision, especially if you are considering whether or not to join the NAR. 

1. Joining the National Association of Realtors requires an annual membership fee: 

This means you will have to incur additional financial expenses every year to keep your membership active. The membership fee might be considerable for newly licensed agents who have already invested significant money in getting their real estate license. Having an additional recurring expense might be burdensome for some agents. 

2. Keeping up with the stringent code of ethics: 

To become a member of the NAR, you must agree and adhere to the highest standards of ethical conduct. The strict code of ethics established by the NAR might be too complex and difficult for some professionals to adhere to. Sticking to the austere rules might clash with your personal values or belief systems in some cases. 

As discussed, joining the National Association of Realtors is not a mandatory requirement to advance in your career. 

There exist alternative opportunities in the form of many other associations and organizations for real estate professionals. 

You can also join other local and state-level associations such as the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) or the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) to name a few. 

Many of these associations and member’ only institutions also provide similar benefits and advantages to real estate agents, salespeople, and brokers. 

Some of them also provide access to the Multiple Listing Service which can help you find potential opportunities. 

The Bottom Line

Whether you want to join the NAR or not is a personal call, but it certainly has its share of advantages and disadvantages which we have covered already. 

In the end, it is not a mandatory step you must complete to advance in your career. However, if you do want to be a part of it, be prepared to adhere to a strict code of conduct and ethical guidelines. 

We hope the information provided in this article will help you make an informed decision about why or why not you should join the National Association of Realtors.