Many people will use the terms Realtor® and real estate agent interchangeably. However, these two jobs are not the same, and there are some important differences between them that any savvy homeowner or businessperson should know.
The Registered Trademark
Both estate agents and Realtors® have obtained licensing to sell properties. Realtors® take their training and abilities one step further than the usual estate agents you might come across. These professionals are members of the National Association of Realtors®. This association is part of the reason why the term Realtor® is a trademarked one. The NAR is the largest organization of its kind in the United States.
In addition to the training one must go through in order to become a qualified Realtor®, a codified set of ethics is also involved. The Realtor® Code of Ethics includes 17 articles that outline the underlying business and professional practices in the trade. Any Realtor® wishing to become an officially licensed member of NAR must agree to this set of codes.
Expanded Business Opportunities
It makes sense that a Realtor® can be a standard real estate agent. However, a professional in this field can wear several hats in order to expand their prospective markets. You may hear about Realtors® who can also work as managing brokers or exclusive agents for specific buyers. The special licensing, training, and membership in the NAR afforded to qualified Realtors® means one title can include several job opportunities.
The academic training that standard estate agents and Realtors® receive is similar in most respects. Both kinds of professionals must meet particular requirements for age and education levels for the state in which they want to work. These standards are not extremely strict, but there is an extra step for Realtors®. Every Realtor® needs to understand the NAR Code of Ethics once every four years. State guidelines govern estate agents, but the Code of Ethics for Realtors® is enforced at the local boards. These standards are a lot more confining than any state rules.
Putting You First
Any estate agent working for you wants to help you get the purchase or sale of your dreams, and a true professional wants to do the job well. However, this is the first and most important rule of the Realtor® Code of Ethics. All certified Realtors® must make a pledge to put the interests of their clients ahead of their own.
Realtors® and real estate agents may perform similar duties on the surface. In many cases, an estate agent may be just what you need to complete a purchase or sale. However, when you want a designated broker with in-depth market knowledge strict codes, a Realtor® could wear the right hat for the job.