What Is The Difference Between Realtors And Real Estate Agents?

Definition of "What is the difference between realtors and real estate agents?"

Are you stepping into real estate, contemplating a home purchase or a sale? Understanding the subtle differences between a realtor and a real estate agent can be the compass guiding you through the journey. Without any further ado, let’s unravel the differences. 

Real estate agents: your practical allies

First and foremost, meet the real estate agents - the pragmatic facilitators of your property transactions. These professionals hold the keys to local real estate nuances, aiding buyers and sellers.

Their role involves:

  • Guiding you through the intricacies of the market.
  • Locating suitable properties.
  • Ensuring the transactional wheels turn smoothly.  

Beyond the basics, a real estate license is a fundamental requirement, signifying their adherence to state-specific regulations and laws. First, check your state’s educational requirements to become a real estate agent. Then, follow the steps required in the state of your interest.  

Realtors: adding a layer of commitment

Now, let’s talk realtors. Yes, they are real estate agents, but with an additional layer - membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Established in 1908, NAR has grown into one of the largest trade associations, boasting a membership of over 1.5 million real estate professionals. The association is headquartered in Chicago and operates with a mission to provide resources, education, and support to enhance the success of its members. Despite the recent NAR commission lawsuit, many real estate agents choose to become realtors. This affiliation signifies a commitment to a Code of Ethics. While this commitment is commendable, it’s crucial not to let it overshadow practical considerations. 

The Code of Ethics: a standard, not a superpower

The difference between a realtor and a real estate agent is marked by the Code of Ethics, a set of 17 professional conduct guidelines. It includes promises to prioritize your interests, be honest in advertising, and treat all parties fairly. However, it’s essential to recognize that adherence to this code doesn’t guarantee a flawless transaction.

Licensing: the foundation of legitimacy

Crucial to both realtors and real estate agents, licensing is the foundation of legitimacy in the real estate profession. A valid license ensures that these professionals have undergone the necessary training, possess the requisite knowledge of real estate laws, and adhere to the regulatory standards set by the state.   

Making your choice: practical considerations

When making your decision, consider your needs and priorities. A realtor might align with your values if you value a professional who has pledged to adhere to a Code of Ethics. Still, it’s crucial to balance this with the practicalities of your real estate journey. The benefits of hiring a real estate agent should be considered. 

Choosing between a realtor and a real estate agent is a nuanced decision. A realtor might be the right fit if the additional commitments resonate with you. On the other hand, if you seek assistance without diving into these commitments, a licensed real estate agent can still provide valuable support. 

Final thoughts

In conclusion, the distinction between realtors and real estate agents comes down to membership and commitment. Realtors are real estate agents who've opted to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR), adhering to a specific code of ethics and higher professional standards. While this commitment is commendable, it's essential to note that realtors and real estate agents play crucial roles in buying and selling properties. Realtors offer an additional layer of ethical commitment, but whether that's necessary depends on individual preferences and priorities. So, when looking for reasons to hire a real estate agent or navigating the real estate market, consider the level of commitment you desire. Realtors provide an extra layer, but competent real estate agents can also guide you effectively through the process without the formal membership. It's about finding the right fit for your specific needs in buying or selling property.

image of a real estate dictionary page

Have a question or comment?

We're here to help.

*** Your email address will remain confidential.


Popular Real Estate Questions

Popular Real Estate Glossary Terms

Maybe you’re studying for your real estate exam, or you heard the word from your real estate agent and didn’t know what it means. Whichever your reason, we’ll go ahead and ...

An official indicating intensity of land use in a zoned urban area. ...

Request of a local government's planning body to alter the zoning requirements based on a justifiable reason. ...

Small piece of carpet often placed under a door or at an entrance to a doorway. ...

The rate, usually expressed annually, charged on money borrowed or lent. The interest rate may be variable or fixed. The higher the risk, the higher the interest rate. Mortgage interest ...

payment of a debt before its due such as a mortgage payment or insurance premiums. ...

In everyday discourse, the term specifications describe various properties and features. They can be attributed to products, services, objects, and industries, such as real estate. What do ...

The geographic moving of an individual from one region to another usually because of a change in employment. Relocation normally involves the complete moving of the individual's ...

The term agricultural property means a type of land that has been designed or is permitted to engage in agricultural activities. Also referred to as agricultural land, agricultural ...