Realtor® ABCs

The Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® (NVAR) serves over 12,000 state-licensed real estate professionals as their local Realtor® association.

What does the word "Realtor®" mean?


The word Realtor® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies an individual as a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

When an individual member joins the Northern Virginia Association of Realtors® (NVAR), he or she is agreeing as a condition of membership to follow the rules that govern members' professional conduct. These rules include, but are not limited to:

  • The Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice of the National Association of Realtors®
  • NVAR Entrycard Rules and Regulations that govern the use of the lockbox system
  • NVAR Bylaws
As a voluntary trade association, NVAR develops and maintains rules that go beyond the minimum standards required by law. NVAR members are committed to working together to create a higher standard of integrity and service for the industry.

Be sure to employ a Realtor® for your real estate transactions! Further, our members’ mission is to deliver exemplary service to their clients: YOU!

Find an NVAR Realtor® here!

What is the difference between a real estate agent, a Realtor®, and a broker?

You may find real estate professionals’ various titles a little confusing. Sometimes consumers use these titles interchangeably, but there are some important differences between the roles of the various professionals, as well as different requirements for using particular titles.

Titles for Real Estate Professionals

The real estate profession is regulated by state governments, which have different requirements for earning a license. In general, though, the titles you may come across include:


Real estate agent: Anyone who earns a real estate license can be called a real estate agent, whether that license is as a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker. State requirements vary, but in all states you must take a minimum number of classes and pass a test to earn your license.

Realtor®: A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.

Real estate broker: A person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required by state laws and has passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers can work alone or they can hire agents to work for them.

Real estate salesperson: Another name for a real estate agent.

Real estate associate broker: Someone who has taken additional education classes and earned a broker’s license but chooses to work under the management of a broker.