What’s the Difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor?

So, what is your understanding between a real estate agent and a Realtor? A lot of people thought that these terms are interchangeable. However, it is the best time to correct that wrong perception. Not all real estate agent is considered a Realtor. Although both the real estate agent and Realtor have a license to sell a property, they have distinctions from each other.

People in the industry are certain that there is a difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor. However, they are also aware that these distinctions are quite a secret in the industry. A lot of consumers did not know that the distinctions and many are not even aware that there is even a uniqueness between them. This article will explain the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor.

Understanding their Distinction

The biggest distinction between a real estate agent and a Realtor boils down to their certifications. You may have experienced several times wherein the two terms were used interchangeably, and you were wondering whether there really is a distinction between them. Simply put, although they carry out the same jobs, the two are governed with unique standards as set up by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). To help you understand them, you should take some time to learn the common roles of a real estate agent and a realtor.

What does a Realtor do?

A Realtor can act as a real estate or commercial broker, appraiser, salesperson, counselor, or property manager. In the US, one has to be a member of NAR to become eligible. Moreover, Realtors need to complete certain coursework, take a licensing exam and pass it and agree to comply with the code of ethics of NAR. This code of ethics demands that Realtors should always put the interests of their clients into priority.

The term “Realtor” is always presented capitalized since NAR has labeled the term. This can be an insignificant difference between agent and Realtor, however, it can be useful to point it out. It was in 1916 that NAR created the term “Realtor” to make members discern themselves from the non-members, and eventually obtained copyright and trademark.

NAR shared that around half of the real estate agents in the US are licensed Realtors. A lot of agents are persuaded to take this path because they have seen the organization actively working to secure the interest of the members. Essentially, although it is not a necessity to become a Realtor, a lot of agents see this path as very favorable

Here are some things that you need to remember if you want to qualify as a Realtor:

1. Find out and join one of the many local chapters of NAR in your state.

2. Settle the necessary fees to become a member of the association.

3. Take the online course on the NAR’s Code of Ethics and make sure you pass it.

4. Always adhere to the standards of practice of NAR during the entire period of your career.

5. Maintain your certification by retaking the online course every after four years.

What does a Real Estate Agent do?

On the other hand, a real estate agent assists people in buying or selling a residential or commercial property. This agent has the option to either become a specialist in being a listing agent or a buyer’s agent. Being a buyer’s agent, the real estate agent concentrates on helping owners acquire and search property while being a listing agent, the real estate agent extends services to sellers in listing their property. Just like a Realtor, a real estate agent has to finish some coursework before they get the eligibility to serve. However, the exams and classes that should be taken by the real estate agents may vary depending on the state.

Furthermore, a credible real estate agent should have enough knowledge concerning the local laws and the current trends in the market. Negotiations are the essential role of the real estate agents since they act as a mediator between the buyer and the seller. Here are some things that you need to remember if you want to qualify as a real estate agent:

1. Find out the education and age requirements in your state, as these can differ per state.

2. Register yourself in accredited real estate education courses either online or in person.

3. Forward an application, along with the necessary paperwork, to take a licensing exam.

4. Make sure you get at least the minimum score required by the state when taking the licensing exam.

5. Gather experience by working with a real estate broker.

6. Start practicing being an agent by applying for your license.

7. Keep going with your education and do not forget to renew your certifications whenever needed.

Can Real Estate Agents be Considered Realtors?

Taking into consideration their responsibilities and skills, it is reasonable to say that real estate agents and Realtors are the same. But in what area do they differ from each other? A real estate agent does not need to be a Realtor to sell or buy a property. However, real estate agents can't become Realtors without attending NAR.

Here are their common distinctions:

  • Education

Although it may vary per state, real estate agents are often asked to complete 30 to 90 hours of classwork from a qualified institution before getting a license. Licensing requirements can vary by state. Moreover, real estate agents should pay a licensing fee which is payable every year. They need to renew their license every year or every after two years, depending on what is asked by the state. Some states even require the agents to finish a specific number of progressing education courses before the agents can process the renewal of their license.

A Realtor, on the other hand, is basically a real estate agent who already finished a pre-licensing course and also passed the exam. NAR Code of Ethics Different from the real estate agents, Realtors work under the governance of the NAR Code of Ethics, which stipulates the guidelines and rules they must follow when transacting with other Realtors, clients, and the public.

How to Join NAR?

People who are planning to join NAR should first join one of the more than 1,400 local real estate associations of NAR. There will be a one-time application fee as well as a prorated membership fees after the membership is approved by the Board of Directors. NAR demands that their members should have a real estate license, no official sanctions due to unprofessional behavior, no pending or recent bankruptcy, and should be active in the real estate industry.


At this point, we are hopeful that you already know the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor. It is needless to say that the real estate industry is booming, with skilled professionals who are grasping expertise in their unique niches. So, whether you are planning to seek the help of a real estate agent or a realtor or simply rely on yourself in finding a house, it is helpful to recognize the essential jobs carried out by these professionals.

Posted by VIP Realty on
Email Send a link to post via Email

Leave A Comment

e.g. yourwebsitename.com
Please note that your email address is kept private upon posting.