The first step in the home buying process for 43% of people is to look online for properties for sale followed by contacting a real estate agent. Whether you are looking for a real estate agent before or after looking at properties, the step is essential.

During your search, you might find that some professionals call themselves agents while others are named realtors. What is the difference between a realtor vs. real estate agent?

Keep reading to find out.

Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent

Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent

When it comes to a realtor vs. real estate agent, the differences boil down to the certifications needed for each. Some people use the terms interchangeably, but each job is held to a different standard despite their similarities.

To get a better understanding of a licensed real estate agent vs. realtor, we’ll take a closer look at the specifics of each.

What Is a Real Estate Agent?

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A real estate agent obtains a real estate license to assist people in buying and selling properties. These professionals can work with commercial and residential properties if they are specialized in doing so.

Agents can practice with a focus if they prefer it. For example, a real estate agent might work for buyers or become a listing agent. Hiring a real estate agent with a specialty will be more beneficial.

Becoming a real estate agent involves passing a state examination after taking the required coursework. When you find a real estate agent, check for the licensing requirements in your state to see if they are certified.

What Is a Realtor?

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A realtor is a real estate agent that is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR is a trade association, the largest in the United States, that has certain requirements for real estate agents to join.

Real estate agents need a valid license and an immaculate professional record. A realtor in this organization has the benefit of a good reputation that can attract more clients.

Realtors must adhere to a Code of Ethics so consumers will know that they are working with agents who are vetted and have sworn to uphold certain professional standards.

It’s not required for a real estate agent to become a realtor, but some agents choose this path to become a better choice for consumers.

Real estate agents are not required to abide by a Code of Ethics or 17 additional articles that realtors must abide by. The Code of Ethics is an enforceable set of guidelines, more limiting than state guidelines.

The 17 articles are 17 ethical duties that realtors promise to abide by. Here are some of them to get an idea of how a realtor works:

  • Promote client interest and not their own
  • Cooperate with brokers if necessary
  • Keep personal and client funds separated
  • Remain truthful in marketing and advertising materials

A realtor is a safer bet to hire when looking to buy or sell your home.

Ready to Buy or Sell a Home?

When it’s time to buy or sell your home, you need a professional real estate agent on your side. The question is, are you going to hire an agent who is also a realtor under the NAR?

By understanding the differences between a realtor vs. real estate agent, you should know that a realtor is the better option. A realtor will have your best interests in mind and follow specific guidelines.

For more articles on housing and real estate, check out the other posts on our website.

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