Charleston-area real estate brokers Corwyn Melette and Marshall Walker are both Realtors, but they also see value in becoming Realtists.

Realtors, a trademarked term, are members of the National Association of Realtors. Realtists, also trademarked, are members of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers -- a group founded in 1947 to represent black real estate professionals who were denied entry to white associations.

So why do Melette, who is black, and Walker, who is white, want to form a local chapter of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers in the Charleston area today?

"It's an additional resource for real estate professionals," said Melette, who is an officer of the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors and broker-in-charge at Complete Action Real Estate Services.

He said affiliation with NAREB can provide additional educational and business opportunities.

In particular, the Federal National Mortgage Association, also known as Fannie Mae, has been working to include more minority-owned businesses in the marketing of lender-owned properties. That's a large slice of the real estate market these days, and Melette said NAREB's relationships with federal agencies can be helpful.

"That's certainly one factor that's resulted in some interest (in NAREB)," he said. "Of course, you don't have to be African-American to be a member."

Walker, who is also a member of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, said he joined both groups "to help educate myself about what's available."

Melette said enough local real estate professionals, about a dozen, have expressed interest in forming a chapter of NAREB.

"The rest is mostly paperwork," he said.

Reach David Slade at 937-5552.