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Homeowner Information



About Realtors®
Why Use a Realtor®?
How to Buy & Sell a Home
Mortgage Loan Resources
Homeowner & Housing Issues
Complaints Process


“Real Estate Agent” is a generic term that can be used by anyone with a license to sell real estate; however, not everyone who sells real estate can call himself or herself a REALTOR®. REALTORS® are real estate professionals who are members of the National, state, and local boards of REALTORS®, adhering to a strict code of ethics. REALTORS® encourage high professional standards through required educational programs, professional certifications, and principles of real estate sales practices.

The single, most outstanding characteristic that sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate practitioners is the willingness to accept and abide by the Code of Ethics of the National board of REALTORS®. The Code of Ethics, which was first adopted on July 29, 1913, is a living document, responsive to content changes in the law and industry. The Code has been revised several times through the years to reflect current developments in professional real estate practice. The term REALTOR® has come to represent competency, fairness and high integrity. These qualities stem from voluntary adherence to an ideal of moral conduct in real estate business practices.

A REALTOR® takes an oath following acceptance into the local, state, and national boards. The oath was established by the National Association of REALTORS® to better enforce the Code of Ethics and to direct special attention to REALTORS® who pledge to protect the individual right of real estate ownership; to be honorable and honest in all dealings; to better represent clients by building knowledge and competence; to act fairly towards all in the spirit of the Golden Rule; and to serve the community.

A REALTOR® can provide access to Multiple Listing Service (MLS) information. Using, this, members are able to cooperate with each other in the sale and purchase of homes, land, and commercial and income properties. This regulated sharing of information enables participating REALTOR® members to more effectively assist customers and clients to buy and sell property.
REALTORS® are specially trained, with education that can include:

  • national and state designation programs (including GRI, CRS, CRB, CCIM, RAM)
  • broker test review training
  • license renewal courses
  • computer software training
  • environmental education seminars, and more.


Working with a Realtor® can save you time, money and trouble. Nearly eight out of ten consumers believe Realtors® can show buyers a better selection of homes than they can find on their own, according to an independent survey of the general public released by the National Association of REALTORS®.

Seventy-eight percent of the general public believe real estate professionals offer them a broader selection of housing alternatives than they would otherwise find. Seventy-four percent agree that using a real estate broker saves time, and 70 percent agree that real estate professionals make buying or selling a home much easier.

What's the difference between a Realtor® and other real estate professionals?

While there are plenty of real estate professionals to choose from, the best bet in terms of ethical, efficient and reliable service is a Realtor®. A Realtor® is a real estate licensee who's decided to take an extra step toward professionalism and high ethical standards. That step: joining the local, state and national Associations of Realtors®.

You see, not all real estate licensees are Realtors®, although many people confuse the terms. More than 24,000 of the 37,000 active real estate licensees in Virginia are members of the Virginia Association REALTORS®, entitling them to use our registered mark, REALTOR®, after their name.

Unlike many real estate practitioners who simply hold business licenses, Realtors® have taken additional steps to become members of the local association of Realtors® and have agreed to act under and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. Whether you're buying a home or selling a home, you can be certain your Realtor® will provide you more service and more expertise. Isn't that a guarantee you want, when you're making the biggest investment of your life?

Take a look at our REALTORS® Role piece, designed to help you understand the role of a REALTOR® in your real estate transactions:

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A Realtor® is the first step in helping you understand all your options and navigate through the transaction process. Here is a helpful brochure that lays out what you can expect from start to finish.

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The Virginia Association of REALTORS® has created a Mortgage Resource Center for Virginia's consumers. This resource servces as a springboard for potential home buyers to begin to explore options for their mortgage financing.

CLICK HERE to access the VAR Mortgage Resource Center.

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The housing industry is facing monumental issues in Congress, in the regulatory agencies that govern mortgage financing, in the statehouses that are dealing with critical budget crises and declining property tax revenues, and in municipalities and counties. Each of these issues impact homeownership across the country. Here's a guide to understanding what's at stake.

NEW 2012 LAW: Agency and written brokerage (buyer broker) agreements
The 3.8% Real Estate Tax
Foreclosure Information
Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) Information
National Flood Insurance Program Information
Real Estate Tax Assessment Information
Affordable Housing
Home Valuation: What's Your Home Worth?
HARP: Home Affordable Refinance Program
401(k) Mortgage Payements (HOME Act)
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