Real Estate Agent vs REALTOR®: Understanding the Difference Between The Two

Dated: September 2 2023

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When navigating the world of real estate, you'll often come across two terms that may seem interchangeable but hold distinct differences: real estate agent and REALTOR®.

While both professionals play crucial roles in the industry, understanding their dissimilarities can help you make informed decisions when buying or selling property and ultimately who you wish to hire.

Real Estate Agent: A real estate agent is a licensed professional who assists clients in buying, selling, or renting properties. These agents have completed the necessary education and training required by their respective state to obtain a real estate license. Their responsibilities include:

  1. Facilitating Transactions: Agents help clients with property transactions by listing properties for sale, conducting property searches, and representing clients during negotiations.

  2. Market Expertise: They possess knowledge of local real estate markets, including pricing trends, neighborhoods, and property values.

  3. Paperwork and Documentation: Agents handle the extensive paperwork involved in real estate transactions, ensuring that all legal requirements are met.

REALTOR®, on the other hand, is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTOR® (NAR) as well as a state and local association. To become a REALTOR®, an agent must adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards set by the National Association of REALTOR®. This code goes beyond the legal requirements and emphasizes professionalism, integrity, and client advocacy. REALTOR® have the added responsibility of:

  1. Code of Ethics: REALTOR® pledge to follow the NAR's Code of Ethics, which includes duties to clients, the public, and to their fellow REALTOR®. This commitment ensures that clients are represented with the highest level of integrity.

  2. Advocacy: REALTOR® advocate for their clients' best interests throughout the buying or selling process, aiming to provide exceptional service and transparency. REALTOR® also advocate for you with your local, state & federal officials with some investing into the Political Action Committee (PAC).

  3. Community Involvement: Many REALTOR® actively participate in community initiatives, demonstrating their dedication to both the industry and the communities in which they serve.

In summary, while all REALTOR® are real estate agents, not all real estate agents are REALTOR®. The key distinction lies in the adherence to the NAR's Code of Ethics and commitment to professionalism. When choosing a real estate professional, it's essential to consider whether you'd prefer someone who has taken that extra step to join the ranks of REALTOR® and uphold the ethical standards set by the industry.

In conclusion, whether you decide to work with a real estate agent or a REALTOR®, both professionals play crucial roles in guiding you through the complex world of real estate transactions. Understanding the difference between the two can help you choose the right expert who aligns with your needs and values, ensuring a smooth and successful real estate experience.

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Jonathan Lindley

Meet our real estate professional, Jonathan Lindley, who has been in the industry since 2005. With nearly 2 decades of experience, Jonathan has successfully completed hundreds of transactions in vario....

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