Is it okay to use the terms realtor and real estate agent interchangeably?
Most of the general public don’t perceive a difference between the two. But industry experts know there’s a huge difference between them and the services each one offers.
If you’re a first-time home buyer or seller, it’s especially important to know the differences between various real estate professional titles.
Here’s everything you need to know to understand the realtor vs real estate agent question.
Licensing and membership
The real estate industry in the US is regulated by the State Government.
Then, each state has its own requirements for licensing Realtors or real estate agents. Generally, though, both Realtors and real estate agents are licensed to trade in real estate.
Who is a real estate agent?
This is any real estate professional who is licensed to assist people in buying and selling property.
Licensed real estate agents have to complete a certain number of classes by the state. They also have to pass an official exam covering real estate practices and laws.
Depending on the state, applicants must complete 30 to 90 hours of training from an accredited institution before taking the test.
A real estate agent license is typically renewed every 2 to 4 years.
A realtor is a real estate agent who is a registered and active member of the National Association of Realtors.
To become a member of this association, agents must have a valid real estate license, a clean record of professional conduct, and have no current or previous bankruptcy proceedings.
Being part of this association is the main difference between a realtor and a real estate agent.
Realtors are bound by a code of ethics which they must uphold at all times.
Why the Realtor Code of Ethics matters
It’s a major plus if the real estate agent you’re working with is part of this association. First, the NAR’s code of ethics is revised annually. This is meant to keep members updated on the latest in real estate law and practice.
NAR members have a good reputation.
Realtors also take an oath never to mislead or withhold information from the parties involved in a real estate transaction. Finally, NAR members are obliged to uphold the code of ethics when carrying out real estate transactions.
It’s presumed that consumers will prefer to work with an agent who has promised to treat all parties fairly.
Realtor vs Real estate agent: How to decide between the two
It all comes down to a matter of preference.
But regardless of who you choose to work with, be sure to weigh your options. Have a list of at least three different agents in mind. Then, ask them for recent references from previous clients.
How do they respond to your inquiries?
An agent who gives thorough and in-depth responses to all your queries is likely to be a good choice.Ask those you’re considering for a detailed plan on how they intend to help you find the perfect home or quickly sell your home.
If you’d like more insight on the Realtor vs real estate agent question, feel free to contact us. We’d be delighted to help!