National Association of Realtors (NAR)

The largest U.S. trade association comprising realtors, institutions, councils, and societies

What is the National Association of Realtors?

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is the biggest trade association in the U.S., with more than one million members. Members of the NAR are realtors, institutions, councils, and societies that are involved in every area of residential and commercial real estate.

The NAR’s membership comprises:

  • Salespeople
  • Property managers
  • Appraisers
  • Counselors
  • Residential and commercial brokers


National Association of Realtors (NAR)


Everyone legally capable of operating in the real estate industry is connected to the association. Included within NAR’s membership are around 1,200 localized associations and boards, as well as 54 state and territory realtor associations.



  • The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is comprised of realtors, institutions, councils, and societies involved in every area of residential and commercial real estate.
  • The NAR developed a code of ethics that dictates aspects of how realtors and agencies must conduct themselves in regard to preserving clients’ interests while being transparent with the public.
  • The NAR’s primary goal is to support realtors so that they can provide clients with the best possible service.


The National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics

The National Association of Realtors’ first code of ethics was adopted in 1913, carefully crafted over the first five years of the association’s existence. The code requires realtors to comply with set standards that ensure fair and competent treatment and services for all clients.

Within the association’s code of ethics, there are:

  • Articles 1-9, which deal with how realtors are required to treat all clients and customers. The articles specify that realtors must act in the best interest of those they serve.
  • Articles 10-14, which deal with the responsibilities of realtors to the public at large. The articles explain that how they conduct themselves and the work they do with their clients must not impact the public in an unfair way.
  • Articles 15-17, which deal with the responsibility of the NAR to realtors. The articles outline a number of different responsibilities that serve to support realtors and enable them to serve their clients to the best of their abilities.


Multiple Listing Services Policies

The NAR establishes policies and oversees several hundred multiple listing services (MLSs) around the U.S. (There are some MLSs independent of the NAR, such as the MLSPIN.)

The NAR develops policies for the MLSs they oversee. When internet usage surged in the late 1990s, the NAR revised existing regulations and developed new ones so that some of the realtors’ data could be viewed on internet data exchanges (IDX), primarily through brokers’ and agents’ websites. The regulations also made it possible for data to be viewed on virtual office websites (VOWs). Both realtors and potential buyers are able to access the information; however, with VOWs, potential buyers must register.

The policies that the NAR established allowed participating realtors and agencies to remove or block access to some data. In response to this, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an antitrust lawsuit in 2005, stating that its MLS rules limited data sharing and were thus part of a conspiracy to prevent certain brokers and realtors from operating at the same level as others.

The NAR responded to the antitrust lawsuit by proposing the establishment of a singular internet listing display system that would prevent participants from excluding individual brokers from viewing information and instead make it necessary for the information withheld to be blocked for all system users.

At the end of the day, the NAR seeks to promote the success and efficacy of individual realtors and agencies. The association’s ultimate goal is to provide all real estate clients with the fairest and most efficient services.


Additional Resources

We hope you enjoyed reading CFI’s explanation of the National Association of Realtors. CFI is the official provider of the global Commercial Banking & Credit Analyst (CBCA)™ certification program, designed to help anyone become a world-class financial analyst.

The following CFI resources will be helpful in furthering your financial education:

  • Continuing Professional Education (CPE)
  • National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)
  • Real Estate Project Finance

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