Above: First Board of Directors for National Association of Realtors, 1909
Why do Realtors exist in today’s home sale market? What was their purpose in being created and how did real-estate regulations even start?
Well, needless to say, things haven’t always been regulated in real estate. In the days before the beginnings of government reform for real-estate (let’s think Manifest Destiny era), a fair-deal could easily be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Consumers were taken advantage of by swindlers who could use language barriers to their advantage, squatter’s rights were a very real issue, and unsuspecting victims were often sold only a home, and not the land, allowing others to perpetually steal properties out from under their rightful owners. Even the government’s ability to hold property, such as the world’s first National Park- Yellowstone, was a daunting task.
In effort to stop the unlawful management of property sales in America, The National Association of REALTORS® was founded as the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges on May 12, 1908 in Chicago. With 120 founding members, 19 Boards, and one state association, the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges’ objective was “to unite the real estate men of America for the purpose of effectively exerting a combined influence upon matters affecting real estate interests.”
Reform has continued to progress ever since. Gone are the days of peddling land on a street corner. Minnesota even got in on the action, with Charles N. Chadbourn of Minneapolis, coining the term REALTOR® in 1916.