What is a REALTOR® and Why Use One?


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John K. Glaab, CIS
The word REALTOR® is owned and copyrighted by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). The word REALTOR® and NAR logos are recognized worldwide. NAR has working agreements with real estate associations in over 60 countries, including Mexico. The Mexican Association of Real Estate Professionals (AMPI) and NAR signed a Bilateral Cooperating Agreement in November of 2006.
What does this mean for AMPI members? It means those in good standing can join NAR. They become International REALTORS with a certificate of membership and the right to legally use NAR’s logos and to call themselves REALTORS®. I have heard, “I have a business license and can sell real estate legally.” Of course that is true but those people are not REALTORS® and cannot use the term or logos.
AMPI is recognized by NAR as the official Mexican association and has seventy-four sections across the Republic. In addition to having the right to be called REALTORS, the “R” logo use is important especially to those in Mexico’s tourist zones. Buyers coming from the U.S. and Canada recognize the NAR symbol.  (Every year, NAR spends millions of dollars on its “Public Advocacy Plan” promoting its trademark and the necessity of working with a REALTOR®). The NAR logo provides a certain amount of security, when buying in a foreign country. This is especially true in Mexico where only a handful of states, at this date, have licensing.  AMPI members sign a pledge they will subscribe to the organization’s Code of Ethics, which is patterned after NAR’s.
What are the pitfalls of not using a REALTOR®? There are many. The major problem is not having the professional back ground and training needed to properly review documents and insure all is in order. Let me provide just one example. (I have seen many during my twenty-one years in Mexico.) A sale is ready to close. The listing agent is NOT an AMPI member. In reviewing the documents, the Closing Agent spots a problem and notifies the Buyer’s agent. A previous owner of the subject property had added a swimming pool. BUT, the workers social security payments had never been made. RESULT: in order to close the transaction, $US 40,000 had to be taken out of the Seller’s proceeds being held in Escrow. (When handing over funds, a Buyer should verify that funds will be deposited in an F.D.I.C. insured trust account in the U.S. or a valid “ cuenta de tercero” in a Mexican Bank.) Of course the Seller was furious on hearing the news, but the owed money had to be paid before title could transfer.
In Mexico we hear the word and see signs “Trato Directo.” I have written about this in an earlier article. It can be dangerous, resulting in major problems downstream when the new owner goes to sell.
About the Writer: John Glaab is Vice President of Marketing at the Settlement Company® He is a Certified International Property Specialist. John is a founding member of AMPI Los Cabos and a Director Emeritus of AMPI La Paz.

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