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Realtor FAQ

Membership in the local, state, and national associations of REALTORS® means you have access to a vast array of benefits. Below, you'll find answers to some of the frequently asked questions about REALTOR® membership. Be sure to explore all of VARealtor.com, Realtor.org, and your local association's websites to make sure you're taking full advantage of your REALTOR® membership.



IN THIS SECTION:

Becoming a REALTOR® member
NRDS number
Licensing in VA
REALTOR® license plates
Equal Housing posters
REALTOR® trademark

How do I become a member of the Virginia Association of REALTORS®?

Membership begins with your Local Association of REALTORS®. Ask your broker to which Local Association of REALTORS® he or she belongs. Then call the Association's office and sign up for the next new member orientation program, where you can learn the exact process for joining. (If you're already a Realtor® and moving into Virginia, you can select your Local Association from the online directory.)

Some Associations may allow you to join the Realtor® family immediately, simply by completing an application form and paying the nominal Realtor® organization dues.

Join us as soon as you can. Your payoff in increased information and professionalism will be tremendous!

For more information on real estate license requirements, contact the Virginia Real Estate Board at (804) 367-8526.

What's in it for you? Plenty...

But we don't expect you to believe us until you take a good look at what the Virginia Association of REALTORS® family can offer you. Obtaining your real estate license took time, intelligence, commitment and was your first step on your journey toward a successful career in real estate.

Why stop there? It only makes sense for you to continue building on what you've worked so hard to achieve.

Did you know the term Realtor® is a registered mark of the National Association of REALTORS® and can only be used by members of the Realtor® organization? All three levels of the Realtor® organization - local, state and national - are here to help you succeed as a real estate professional. Just as you serve your clients, the Realtor® organization exists to support its members. Nowhere else can you join a premier trade association that truly represents the interests of the real estate professional.

The Virginia Realtor® advantage...

As your business advocate, VAR's job is to help make your business successful, through the services and information you need, like...

Governmental Advocacy
Your voice is heard by Virginia's legislators through lobbying efforts that encourage laws that protect private property rights, limit government intrusion, and maintain an open marketplace, thus enhancing your ability to do business successfully.

Risk Management
We work to reduce your potential risk through programs like the popular Legal Hotline, legal action fund, professional standards training, continually updated standard forms, and representation of Realtors® at the Real Estate Board and Appraiser Board. 

Education and Professional Development
VAR can help you achieve your career goals. Our user-friendly modular format for the Realtor® Institute (GRI) program allows members to study for the GRI designation in one-day classes. Our annual Legislative & Education Conference (Get Active) and Annual Convention (The Real Show) offer tremendous continuing education opportunities, networking, emerging issues forums, and other benefits.

Communications and Information
Through communications and marketing, VAR works to inform and educate members and the general public about real estate-related issues. This includes statewide media relations, market research, compilation of home sales statistics, and member communications through Commonwealth magazine, Commonwealth Online, Capitol Connections, and more.

Non-Residential Services
Members specializing in appraisal, property management, relocation, and commercial sales can take advantage of VAR's four Specialty Groups. Each provides services tailored to your specialty, including education, legislation involvement, and networking opportunities.

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Q. I've noticed I need my NRDS ID number to access some services. Where do I find it?

A. If you've already received a copy of the Commonwealth magazine, look for your member number on the address label. It is the nine digit number located directly above your name. If you do not have a copy of Commonwealth magazine nearby, please contact your local association.


Q. Can I change my address directly in NRDS?

A. VAR, NAR, and your local Association upload all member information from a single source: NAR's National REALTOR® Database System (NRDS, for short!). To ensure that changes are made at all three levels, you should send your address change directly to your Local Association, who will upload those changes to both National and State. You can change your own record information through the NRDS page on the NAR site.

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Q. How do I renew my real estate license?

A. The Virginia Real Estate Board can assist you in the process of renewing your real estate license. You can renew through the VREB site or by call (804) 367-8526.


Q. I am licensed in another state and wish to be licensed in Virginia. Can I apply through reciprocity?

A. Yes. Applicants for a salesperson’s license must pass the Virginia portion of the examination and submit verification of completion of 60 hours in the principles of real estate or verification of experience (actively engaged as a salesperson for 12 of the 36 months preceding application for licensure), and submit letters of certification from other jurisdictions where licensed. Applicants for a broker’s license must pass the Virginia portion of the examination, submit verification of experience (actively engaged as a salesperson or broker for 36 out of 48 months preceding application for licensure) and submit letters of certification from other jurisdictions where licensed.

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Q. How can I get a REALTOR® License Plate through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles?

A. These are available through the Virginia DMV. You will be required to present your NAR Association Membership Card.

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Q. How do I get a new Equal Housing Opportunity Poster?

A. These are available through the HUD site. Contact HUD's Branch at (800) 767-7468 or e-mail HelpDesk@HUDuser.org to obtain a copy of the poster.

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Q. Have you checked your company name for compliance with NAR rules regarding use of the REALTOR® trademark?

A. As a REALTOR® member, you may use the REALTOR® mark adjacent to your name or your firm's name only if the appropriate separating punctuation is also used. For example, “John Doe, REALTOR®” is correct, but “John Doe REALTOR®” is not. Similarly, “Blackwell, Inc., REALTORS®” is correct, but “Blackwell, Inc. REALTORS®” is not. Also, NAR strongly encourages the use of terms such as Realty, Real Estate or the like in the formal firm name. While “Jim Smith, Inc., REALTORS®” is acceptable, “Jim Smith Realty, Inc., REALTORS®” is preferable. Finally, the REALTOR® mark may not be used in the firm name. Therefore, “Blackwell REALTORS®, Inc.” is an improper use of the mark, but as we stated before, “Blackwell, Inc., REALTORS®” is fine.

The point here is to highlight that the term REALTORS® is distinct from the practice of real estate, but is emblematic of membership in an association to which not all real estate practitioners belong. It is for this reason, for example, that it is improper to use the mark as a synonym for real estate broker or agent. “Dokes, Inc., REALTORS®/Builders” is clearly improper, as it implies that REALTORS® is a profession. On the other hand, “Dokes, Inc., REALTORS®, Real Estate Broker/Builders” is proper use. When in doubt, substitute the word “Member” for “REALTOR®” and if it makes sense, you're probably using the term correctly. Try it on the two “Dokes, Inc.” examples above and you'll see what we mean.

For more on correct trademark usage, go to NAR's Membership Marks Manual.


Q. May I use the word "Realtor" as part of my website domain name?

A. Associations may use the term as part of their websites, but individual Realtors® or firms may not.  For example, FairfaxExitRealtor would not be a proper use of Realtor® in a domain name according to NAR association counsel Mike Thiel. For example, if the name of the firm is Exit Real Estate Results, a proper use with the firm name would be ExitRealEstateResultsRealtors.com or even FairfaxExitRealEstateResultsRealtors.com (Fairfax is acceptable because it relates to the firm name and possibly distinguishes between different Exit Real Estate Results offices, and is not describing REALTORS®). The domain name FairfaxExitRealtor is improper because it is neither the name of a member or a member's real estate business.

The Realtor® marks must always be used in such a way as to identify a member of the Association. The rules indicate there are two acceptable ways in which the term Realtor® (or REALTORS) may be used in a domain name. First would be with the member's name to identify that individual as a member.

There are various ways in which a member's name may be used with the term Realtor® in a domain name, for example, johnsmithrealtor.com, jsmithrealtor.com and realtorsmith.com. The second way in which the term Realtor® may be used is with the name of a member's real estate business. For a firm with the name ABC, they could use ABCrealtors.com.

CLICK HERE to access VAR's Legal Resource Center.

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