Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent: What’s the Difference and Which One Do You Need?

Real estate is a complex industry that involves buying, selling, leasing, and managing properties. One of the most common terms used in this industry is “realtor” and “real estate agent.” Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. In this article, we will explore the differences between a realtor and a real estate agent and how they can impact your home buying or selling experience.

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What is a Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who helps clients buy, sell, or rent properties. They work under a licensed brokerage firm and have completed a certain amount of real estate education and passed a state licensing exam. Real estate agents are not required to be members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) but can choose to be if they wish.

A real estate agent can help you with a variety of tasks related to real estate transactions, such as:

  • Finding properties that meet your criteria
  • Negotiating offers and counteroffers
  • Providing guidance on pricing strategies
  • Preparing and reviewing contracts
  • Coordinating inspections and repairs
  • Facilitating the closing process

Real estate agents work on a commission basis, which means they only get paid when a transaction is successfully completed. The commission is typically a percentage of the sale price of the property, and it is split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents.

What is a Realtor?

A realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR is a trade association that represents real estate professionals in the United States. To become a realtor, an agent must join the NAR and abide by its strict code of ethics and standards of practice.

The NAR was founded in 1908 and has since grown to become the largest trade association in the country, with over 1.4 million members. Realtors have access to a wide range of resources and benefits, including:

  • Continuing education and training programs
  • Legal and regulatory updates
  • Networking opportunities
  • Marketing and advertising tools
  • Discounts on products and services

Realtors are held to a higher standard of professionalism and ethics than non-member agents. The NAR code of ethics requires realtors to:

  • Put their clients’ interests first
  • Disclose any conflicts of interest
  • Protect confidential information
  • Refrain from making false or misleading statements
  • Avoid discrimination in all forms
  • Cooperate with other real estate professionals

Realtors are also required to complete regular ethics training and are subject to disciplinary action if they violate the code of ethics.

What is the Difference Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent?

The main difference between a realtor and a real estate agent is that a realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors, while a real estate agent is not. This means that realtors are bound by a strict code of ethics and are held to a higher standard of professionalism than non-member agents.

Another difference between the two is that realtors have access to a wider range of resources and benefits than non-member agents. This includes access to continuing education and training programs, legal and regulatory updates, marketing and advertising tools, and discounts on products and services.

However, in terms of their job duties and responsibilities, realtors and real estate agents are very similar. Both can help you buy, sell, or rent properties and can assist with a wide range of tasks related to real estate transactions.

Which One Should You Choose?

When choosing between a realtor and a real estate agent, there are several factors to consider. If you value professionalism, ethics, and access to additional resources and benefits, a realtor may be the right choice for you. However, if you are comfortable working with a non-member

agent and do not require the additional benefits offered by the NAR, then a non-member agent may be a good fit for your needs.

Ultimately, the most important factor when choosing a real estate professional is their experience and expertise in the local market. Look for an agent who has a proven track record of success in your area and who has experience working with clients who have similar needs and goals as you.

It’s also important to find an agent who you feel comfortable working with and who you can trust. Buying or selling a home can be a complex and emotional process, so it’s essential to have an agent who can guide you through the process and provide the support and advice you need.

Conclusion

In summary, a realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and is held to a higher standard of professionalism and ethics than non-member agents. While both realtors and real estate agents can help you buy, sell, or rent properties and can assist with a wide range of tasks related to real estate transactions, realtors have access to additional resources and benefits.

TL;DR When choosing a real estate professional, it’s essential to consider their experience, expertise, and personality, in addition to whether they are a realtor or a non-member agent. By doing your research and finding the right agent, you can make the home buying or selling process as smooth and stress-free as possible.


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