The terms ‘realtor’ and ‘real estate agent’ are often used identical. But what people don’t know is that the two are different. Sure, they are both real estate agents, but not all agents are realtors.
Difference Between Realtor and Real Estate Agent
All realtors are real estate agents but all real estate agents are not realtors. In general, a real estate agent is someone who aids in buying and selling properties for clients. They are required to pass a real estate license examination.
On the other hand, a realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors apart from being a licensed real estate agent. As a member of the NAR, realtors are required to uphold the Realtor Code of Ethics. This sets the standards of how realtors should interact with clients and co-realtors and how they conduct their business.
While being a member of the NAR requires a certain degree of conduct, the NAR does not have any authority to remove an agent’s license. Its scope is only limited to concerns regarding membership of the realtor to the NAR. In other words, when a realtor goes against the Code of Ethics, they can be stripped of their membership or be liable for fees.
Becoming a Realtor
There are certain steps and requirements in order to become a realtor. Here are a few things you should know.
- There are two main prerequisites to become a realtor, namely, that you are a licensed real estate agent, and your firm is a member of the Realtor Association.
- Once your firm is a member of the Realtor Association, all real estate agents and brokers under them can already join the NAR.
- A firm can choose which Realtor Association to join in their state. Each state has a number of associations. Once an association is chosen, the firm should now elect a designated realtor who will serve as the point person for any NAR-related issues.
- Each realtor should have completed a course in consumer ethics.
When an agent becomes a realtor, there are also things they should do in order to keep their status. One of those things is to have additional educational units that focus on consumer protection. Apart from this, they also pay membership dues in their realtor association. This is also another way for them to retain their membership.
Because a realtor is part of the NAR, they enjoy these benefits:
- Information and educational materials regarding real estate and consumers
- Training opportunities to improve skills
- Network of realtors that are expected to help and support each other
- Legal assistance
- Local and national conference opportunities
- Discounts in materials and equipment needed by real estate agents
Overall, there is a big difference between untrained or uncertified real estate agents and certified realtors as far as membership and Code of Ethics is concerned. However, being a realtor is also not a guarantee of having a successful transaction. It is also possible to have a realtor that is not good at their craft, thus giving bad service and assistance.