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Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor: What’s The Difference

Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor: What’s The Difference?

We often hear the titles real estate agent and Realtor interchangeably. However, there are a few key differences between the two roles. 

In today’s blog, let’s explore the differences between real estate agents and Realtors, including how you can choose the best career path for you.

What Is A Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent is a professional who is licensed to assist others in buying, selling, or renting real estate property. An agent is often the person who brings buyers and sellers together. Typically, those who meet with an agent communicate what they’re seeking in a new property. The agent will then find properties that best match the client’s wish list. 

When selling a property, real estate agents are also responsible for staging and showing the home or commercial property. This is often done through private tours and open house events. Additionally, agents typically provide marketing services for their clients, such as listing properties online, on social platforms, or in print media.

An agent acts as a representative of their clients throughout the process, acting in their client’s best interest at all times. Additionally, agents aid their clients through various paperwork and communication, often between sellers, buyers, renters, and other agents. We also assist our clients during the negotiation and closing stages.

signing contracts

What Is A Realtor?

Essentially, the biggest difference between Realtors and real estate agents is that Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Additionally, Realtors aren’t necessarily real estate agents. The title of Realtor can extend to other real estate professionals, such as property managers, home appraisers, and real estate brokers.

How Can A Real Estate Agent Become A Realtor?

There are National Association of Realtor requirements that must be met for real estate agents to become a Realtor. According to the NAR and Investopedia, agents must:

  • – Have a current real estate license
  • – Be active in the real estate industry
  • – Have a clean record (meaning zero reports of unprofessional activity)
  • – Not have filed for bankruptcy recently

If agents meet those requirements, they can start the process of becoming a NAR members. This involves joining a local real estate association. Then, agents must pay a one-time application fee followed by annual dues every year. Additionally, Realtors must adhere to the NAR’s strict code of ethics to retain their membership and Realtor title.

keys to the house


Is It Worth Becoming A Realtor?

Well, the boring answer is that… it depends. One of the many benefits of becoming a Realtor is that you become part of a national community. This provides Realtors with a network of hundreds of resources to tap into all across the country. 

It can also be argued that there is some prestige behind the Realtor title. Since Realtors have to follow a strict code of ethics, it might add some trustworthiness amongst potential clients.

However, if all the above steps seem like a chore or if you simply aren’t willing to pay the one-time fee or annual dues, becoming a Realtor may not be the pathway for you – at least not at the moment. 

In many cases, home buyers or sellers probably won’t know the difference between agents and realtors. And, you can strengthen your own reputation by putting forth ethical practices on your own.

But, before you even decide, you need to get your real estate license! This is the most important piece of becoming a real estate professional. Luckily, our real estate school can help you do just that. Then, you can decide which path is right for you.

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