By Rich Cosgrove, President Stark County Association of REALTORS®

Are you working with a REALTOR® or a real estate agent? The words are used interchangeably and both are licensed by the state, however, there is a difference between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent.

REALTOR® is a trademarked term (since 1950) and in order to be a REALTOR® one must become a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. A REALTOR® subscribes to a code of ethics which includes 17 articles, 71 supporting standards of practice and 131 explanatory case interpretations. The code of ethics promote honesty, integrity as well as transparency in business standards. For a complete list of all 17 articles, you may visit

The National Association of REALTORS® code of ethics was adopted in 1913 and is strictly enforced by local board of REALTOR® associations such as the Stark County Association of REALTORS®. Below are a few standards of practice that a REALTOR® must subscribe to:

REALTORS® must protect and promote their client’s interest above their own.

Must never knowingly misrepresent or hide facts about a property.

Must fully disclose when they have an ownership interest in property they are selling.

Must fully disclose they are a licensed agent when representing themselves to purchase a property.

A duty to disclose if they represent a family member in a transaction.

A REALTOR® can not accept any commissions without the seller’s knowledge or accept fees from a 3rd party without the sellers’ consent.

Agrees not to solicit another REALTORS® client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.

REALTORS® will be competent to conform to standards of practice and not provide services outside their scope of expertise.

The National Association of REALTORS is a 1.4 million member strong origination who has been promoting and protecting the rights of property sellers and buyers for 112 years. When you interview an agent to sell your home or to represent you when buying a home, choose a REALTOR®.

The Stark County Association of REALTORS® welcomes you to visit our website at for a complete listing of REALTORS® and Affiliate members who are sure to meet your professional needs.  The Stark County Association of REALTORS® members are honored to service the Stark, Carroll and Trumbull Counties.

If you have any questions or comments on this article, please contact me by email at


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