Realtor vs Real Estate Agent – What’s the Big Deal?
by Brandon Swafford
Many times, the term “Realtor” is loosely thrown around when referring to real estate agents, but they are not one in the same. So why is it a big deal to work with a Realtor?
To become a real estate agent, an individual must meet the state requirements to become licensed. This involves meeting an age and education requirement, passing a real estate class with a specific number of classroom hours, passing a state exam to obtain a license, and then connecting with a licensed broker as a sponsor.
To become a Realtor, an individual must do all of those things and a few extra steps. They must apply to become a Realtor with their local chapter, pass a Code of Ethics testing, pay yearly associated fees and dues from their own pockets, and continually uphold the standards of integrity outlined in the Code of Ethics and Professional Standards. Realtors are also required to take additional testing periodically to maintain their Realtor status.
The word “Realtor” is actually a trademarked name owned by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR is the largest trade association in the United States, comprised of more than 1 million real estate agents nationwide known for their extreme integrity, vast connections, experienced skillsets, and negotiating leverage. According to the NAR, only about half of real estate agents are Realtors. Because the NAR looks to protect the interest of Realtors and homeowners through state and federal involvement in politics, Realtors are highly regarded among their communities and clients. Many laws protecting property owners have been implemented because of lobbying Realtors.
So why is it important to use a Realtor over just a real estate agent?
- Realtors are held to a high level of accountability by the NAR for being honest, sincere, and professional.
- Realtors have deep professional connections through their local and national boards that help them have an edge for their clients.
- Realtors are required to periodically take and pass the Code of Ethics test so they stay fresh on upholding honesty, fairness, and professionalism.
In summary, choosing to work with a Realtor is all about having confidence on your side. At all costs, no matter who you work with in your real estate ventures:
- Choose someone whom you can trust.
- Choose someone who will educate you through the process.
- Choose someone who is patient and explains contracts to you.
- Choose someone who looks out for your best interest.
- Choose a Realtor.
Happy house hunting.