Perhaps the question we at DCAR get asked the most is “What is the difference between DCAR and GCAAR?”

We understand it can be confusing, especially given the awkwardness of DC’s lack of statehood (for now, anyway), so we want to try to clear all that up for you.

Local, State and National Associations

REALTORS® associations are split up into a three-tiered system. In short, to be a REALTOR®, you must be a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). In order to become a member of NAR, you must join a state and local/regional association, in this case the District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® (DCAR) and the Greater Capital Area Association of REALTORS® (GCAAR), respectively. All DCAR members have some form of membership with GCAAR.

(Getting confused by all the acronyms? Our glossary might be helpful.)

Let’s break it down a bit more:

  1. NAR is the top level, which encompasses the entire United States. There are more than 1.2 million REALTORS® in the country, each of whom is a member of NAR.
  2. The next tier is the state association. Usually self-explanatory, this distinction is somewhat confusing when it comes to DC. DCAR is a state association, made up of more than 2,800 REALTORS®, that represents DC. NAR recognizes 54 state associations: the 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  3. The final tier is the local or regional association. While this association is traditionally smaller than the state association, things are a bit different here. GCAAR represents DC and Montgomery County, and it boasts a membership of nearly 10,000, making it considerably bigger than DCAR is.

In other words: If you are a licensed REALTOR®, you are a member of NAR, and at least one state REALTOR® association (such as DCAR) and at least one local REALTOR® association (such as GCAAR). If you are unsure of which REALTORS® association(s) you are a member of, please reach out to your primary local association, or log in to your NAR account.

It’s confusing, but if you have any questions, please reach out to us and we’ll do our best to answer them.

Who Does What?

All REALTOR® education for DC members is handled by local REALTOR® associations, such as GCAAR, as is new member orientation. For class information and scheduling, please see GCAAR’s education calendar.

DCAR does public policy-based work for the District. Our mission statement is: The District of Columbia Association of REALTORS® advocates, protects and promotes the interests of our members and the public we serve.

GCAAR does public policy work for Montgomery County, while MR does the public policy work for the rest of Maryland. Fighting for REALTOR®-friendly legislation in DC, meeting with DC Councilmembers, maintaining a presence at the Wilson Building, etc. — that’s all DCAR. However, GCAAR spreads the information and policy work collected by DCAR to its membership.

To learn more about what exactly it is that we do, we have information on that here.

Who Do I Go To?

If you have an education or membership question, you should reach out to GCAAR. If you have a DC legislation or policy question, get in contact with DCAR. If you just aren’t sure, contact either of us and we’ll get you pointed in the right direction. After all, we’re here to help!