Realtor© vs. Real Estate Agent - What's the Difference

Realtor and Real Estate Agent If you've been in the market for a new home, you've probably heard these terms used interchangeably — and incorrectly so. Like surgeons to doctors, all Realtors© are real estate agents, but only specialized real estate agents are Realtors©. Confused? Let's take a closer look. They Both Start with 'R,' so How Different Can They Be? About as different as a peach and a riper peach, both Realtors© and real estate agents must fulfill rigorous requirements before they can practice. All agents, including Realtors©, must pass a state exam and earn a license to conduct real estate business in that specific state. From here, if an agent wishes to become a Realtor©, they must join their local real estate association or board and become an official member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). In the United States, approximately half of all licensed real estate agents are NAR members, and, therefore, Realtors©. So, It's Just Like Signing up for a Newsletter, Right? Think again. There's much more to becoming a Realtor© than adding your name to a long list of members. For starters, new NAR members must enroll in an online NAR ethics course and pass the exam. To keep Realtors on top of their game, the NAR requires members to complete a refresher course every four years. In addition, Realtors© must pay annual membership dues for all local and state NAR organizations. New NAR members must take an online course on the ethics code and pass an exam. Current members are required to take an online ethics refresher course every four years. Membership in a local real estate board or association requires an annual fee that covers membership dues for the NAR and any state-level real estate associations. The most distinguishing requirement for Realtors© is that they must adhere to a strict 17-rule code of ethics. Each rule is legally binding, and breaking one will likely result in legal action and the loss of the right to practice as a Realtor©. These ethics are designed to protect home buyers and ensure the utmost professionalism in real estate negotiations. For example, Realtors© must not exaggerate, fabricate or conceal material information and must find out all they can about the property before trying to sell it. Other clauses pertain to management of funds, conducting business with multiple sellers, discrimination, relationships with competitors, and legal procedures in the event of a code breach. Is Becoming a Realtor© Worth It? That's a tough one. Let's sum up the advantages and disadvantages. Advantages:
  • Can gain insight from other NAR members and network with board members
  • Can hone their skills through online courses and annual conferences
  • Can help influence state and federal real estate laws and regulations
  • Are more attractive to buyers and sellers who understand the distinguishing mark of a Realtor©
  • Are bound by a strict code of ethics with severe repercussions if violated
  • Must pay annual membership fees
There you have it. If you put a Realtor© and a non-Realtor real estate agent side by side, there's no way to tell which one runs a better practice. There are no doubts that many non-Realtors who outperform Realtors©, and vice-versa. However, educated home buyers and sellers recognize that Realtors© possess broader, more up-to-date knowledge often and commit to doing business openly, honestly, and selflessly. And that gives them a pretty big advantage. Source ( characters / words),    

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