Real estate agent vs. Realtor: What’s the difference?

Real estate agent vs. Realtor

The terms “real estate agent” and “Realtor” are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two:

  • Real Estate Agent:
    • A real estate agent is a licensed professional who assists buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. They can help clients buy, sell, or rent properties and provide various real estate services.
    • Real estate agents are required to complete specific education and training, pass a state licensing exam, and maintain their license by fulfilling continuing education requirements.
    • They may work as independent agents or be affiliated with a real estate brokerage firm.
  • Realtor:
    • A Realtor is a specific type of real estate agent who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a professional trade association. In the United States, “Realtor” is a trademarked term and should be capitalized when used to refer to a member of the NAR.
    • Realtors adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice set forth by the NAR. These ethical guidelines promote honesty, integrity, and fair treatment of all parties in a real estate transaction.
    • Not all real estate agents are Realtors, as membership in the NAR is voluntary. However, many real estate professionals choose to become Realtors to distinguish themselves as practitioners who uphold higher ethical standards.

In summary, all Realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors. Realtors have chosen to be members of the National Association of Realtors and are committed to upholding its code of ethics, while real estate agents, in general, assist clients in buying and selling real estate. When working with a real estate professional, whether they are a real estate agent or a Realtor, it’s essential to choose someone with whom you feel comfortable and who has the knowledge and experience to meet your specific needs.

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