Do you know if your real estate agent is a REALTOR®?

Wait, what? Aren’t those just different terms for the same thing?

A lot of people think so, but the terms are not synonymous. Here’s the difference: All Texas REALTORS® are licensed real estate agents or brokers. However, not all real estate agents or brokers are Texas REALTORS®.


Once someone becomes licensed as a real estate agent in Texas, that person can voluntarily join an association of REALTORS®. If she doesn’t, she can’t call herself a REALTOR®. Not legally, anyway.

OK. So what?

REALTORS® promise to follow a professional code of conduct that is more stringent than what’s legally required… For example, though federal fair-housing laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, and disability, the REALTOR® Code of Ethics also forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Through their local, state, and national associations, REALTORS® also get involved in issues important to residential and commercial real estate consumers. REALTORS® are fighting hard to maintain the mortgage-interest deduction that lowers millions of people’s federal income-tax burden, for example.

Those are just two reasons to make sure your real estate professional is not only a licensed agent or broker but a Texas REALTOR® as well.