National Association of Realtors
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is made up of residential and commercial realtors who are brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, and counselors, and others working in the real estate industry. NAR began as the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges in 1908 with a membership of 120. In 2003 its membership numbered over 840,000, making it the world's largest professional association. Members belong to one or more of 1,700 local real estate associations and boards and 54 state and territory associations. NAR headquarters are in Washington, D.C.
NAR provides a national facility for professional development, research, and exchange of information among its members, the public, and government. More importantly, it plays an influential role in shaping public policies at the local, state, and national level that affect real property. Through its legislative and lobbying efforts, NAR seeks to protect the real estate industry from what it considers burdensome legislative and regulatory changes and to advocate for legislative and regulatory changes that enhance the conduct of real estate business. At the national level, NAR analyzes federal issues and lobbies Congress and regulatory agencies.
The 1998 NAR legislative agenda included rewriting federal law that governs the disclosure of closing costs at the time a real estate purchase is completed. In addition, NAR supports federal legislation that would give persons more rights to contest a government "taking" their property through the power of eminent domain.
NAR also participates in the political process through its Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC). This committee, currently one of the largest trade association PACs, contributes campaign funds to federal political candidates and encourages members to volunteer for candidates. The committee also educates voters on issues that affect home ownership and real estate.
Apart from political involvement, NAR seeks to make its viewpoint known through legal advocacy. The NAR Legal Action Committee provides financial support to legal cases that seek establish a favorable precedent for real estate brokerage or that seek to preserve the rights to own, use, and transfer real property. The NAR also participates in lawsuits involving real estate by filing amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs in cases that will set legal precedent.
The NAR has established a code of ethics to enhance the professionalism of its members. In addition, it has created NAR sections, professional institutes, societies, and counsels that allow members to communicate with others in their particular real estate specialty. These specialty groups include Counselors of Real Estate, the Commercial Investment Real Estate Institute, the Institute of Real Estate Management, the Real Estate Brokerage Managers Council, the Residential Sales Council, the Real Estate Buyers Agent Council, and the Appraisal Section. Education and certification in these specializations enable members to receive professional designations, identifying them as highly qualified specialists to business associates and the public.
In 1998 NAR launched a national consumer education initiative called the "Public Awareness Campaign" to inform the public about the significant role played by realtors in real estate transactions. Also, in 1998 NAR created the National Realtors Database System (NRDS), an internet database that gave members the opportunity to update their own records online. In 1997 the NAR established REALTOR.com, its official Internet site. In 2003 REALTOR.com featured more than 1.5 million property listings that were viewed by millions of consumers.
National Association of Realtors. Available online at <www.realtor.org> (accessed July 28, 2003).