Some people freely interchange the terms “realtor” and “real estate agent,” especially those unfamiliar with the real estate industry. However, a Realtor is different from a real estate agent. Let’s take a look at the difference between the two.
Definition of a Realtor
First, remember that all Realtors® are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors®.
The first thing a person must do before becoming a Realtor® is to study and finish a real estate course and pass a state licensure exam. Once they have their real estate license, they can become a Realtor®
A Realtor® is a licensed member of the professional organization the National Association of Realtors®, or NAR, in the United States. Residential and commercial real estate brokers, salespeople, and property managers can join the NAR. To become a Realtor®, a person with a real estate license must complete specialized training and meet the association’s membership requirements, which include adhering to a code of ethics.
Realtors® are expected to be experts in their field. To become these experts, NAR offers its members extensive training, networking opportunities, and professional tools that can help them reach the top of their game and ultimately, move their real estate careers forward.
Realtor vs. Real estate agent
Again, keep in mind that all Realtors® are licensed real estate agents already. This means they have a professional license that allows them to operate in the business of helping people buy, sell, and rent various types of properties. Real estate agents who are not members of NAR cannot call themselves Realtors®.
While all real estate agents are professionally licensed to work in real estate, a significant factor that differentiates a Realtor® is that they must provide fair and ethical treatment to their clients and strictly adhere to the Realtor Code of Ethics. This is required to become a member of NAR. The Code of Ethics revolved around professionalism, serving the client’s interests, and protecting the public.
Currently, there are over 1.5 million Realtors® in the United States. If you want to work with one, you can find one in the directory on the NAR website.