Top of Mind

We dig into some of the tough questions associations are facing right now.

You asked, and we’re answering. We know association executives face complicated scenarios every day. Here are two of the recent hot-button questions we’ve received surrounding membership and Code of Ethics training.

Q: A nonprincipal licensee with ABC Realty is a primary member of an association in a different state. She also has a license in my state, but that license hangs with XYZ Realty, a completely different firm. She wants to join our association under her license affiliated with XYZ Realty. Does her broker need to join our association first, or is this considered a secondary membership?

A: It’s important to understand that both membership policy and the Designated REALTOR®, or DR, dues formula are written from the standpoint of an individual belonging to a single firm. When someone belongs to more than one firm, each firm is treated the same, with the exception that the National Association of REALTORS® never expects to be paid more than once. The reasons for this are not arbitrary, as a licensee’s eligibility for REALTOR® membership, as well as his or her ethical obligations, run through the supervising broker.

In the above scenario, ABC Realty and XYZ Realty are different firms with different principal brokers, with the licensee working for both. Therefore, if she’s looking to join your association with regard to her license affiliated with XYZ Realty, she would not be a considered a secondary member with regard to her affiliation with ABC Realty. A principal broker of XYZ Realty would need to join your association as the Designated REALTOR®, and state dues would be collected, while NAR dues would not.

Keep in mind that a REALTOR® belonging to two separate firms will still only have one M1 number, so inputting this information correctly into M1 can often be tricky. If you need assistance with this, you can always contact 1-800-868-3225 or

Q: I’ve read that only those courses and equivalencies provided by a local, state, or national REALTOR® association can satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement for this latest cycle, but that local associations can partner with a third-party training provider to create a course that satisfies the requirement. What does partnering with a provider entail, and must my association accept equivalent courses taken from other associations or their partnered providers?

A: Partnering with a provider means a local or state association of REALTORS® has vetted a course provider and confirmed that its course meets NAR’s mandatory minimum criteria and learning objectives prior to members taking the course.

Consistent with current NAR policy, members who take a course at a different association of REALTORS® will satisfy the Code of Ethics training requirement. If members take a course through a partnered provider of an association in their own state or a neighboring state, an association must accept it for the Code of Ethics training requirement. If a course is taken from a partnered provider outside of those limits, it is up to each local association whether it chooses to accept it.

Ready to Govern Forward?

As a reminder, the date to provide 2023 directors to the National Association of REALTORS® is Sept. 15, a date that may require some adjustments in processes. Failure to meet this deadline will result in forfeiture of those allocated seats. For resources, visit, or if you have questions about implementation of the Govern Forward changes, please email


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