The words REALTOR® and real estate agent are often used interchangeably. But they are not actually the same. There are many similarities, but also some significant differences. Whether you are buying or selling a home, both a REALTOR® and a real estate agent can help you with this process. Is one preferable over the other? Here’s a breakdown of the two so that you can make an informed decision between a REALTOR® vs. real estate agent.
What is a Real Estate Agent?
A real estate agent is a licensed professional who has completed the necessary requirements to represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions in a specific state. To become a real estate agent in most states a person must complete 30 to 90 hours of education in real estate from an accredited college, university, or technical school. An agent must also pass an official exam on the standards, practices, and laws of real estate.
What is a REALTOR®?
A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). In order to become a member of the NAR, a real estate agent must take a course on real estate ethics and pass an exam. After completing this requirement, a real estate agent can join their local real estate board or association by paying the required fee, which automatically results in membership with the national association. The NAR has a strict code of ethics that all members must adhere to in order to maintain membership. Refresher courses are required every four years as well. The term REALTOR® is trademarked and should always be capitalized with the trademark symbol.
REALTOR® vs Real Estate Agent: Which Should You Work With?
When it comes down to it, a REALTOR® is a real estate agent and then some. As part of the NAR’s code of ethics, a REALTOR® must “treat all parties honestly” meaning they will never withhold information or mislead anyone involved in a real estate transaction, including buyers, sellers, other real estate agents, mortgage lenders, or any other parties.
That’s not to say that a real estate agent is out to deceive anyone. It just means that they have not gone to the same lengths as REALTORS® to learn about ethical practices in the real estate business. Real estate transactions involve large sums of money, often in the form of mortgage loans, that carry a significant amount of risk to buyers, sellers, and lenders. All parties involved should want to work with a REALTOR® to ensure that ethical practices are taking place.
Advantages of Working with a REALTOR®
There are many advantages to buying and selling your home with the help of a REALTORⓇ, such as:
- Free Access to MLS (Multiple Listing Service). As members of the NAR, REALTORS® have free access to MLS listings so that they can list your home on as many realty websites as possible. They can also provide you with access to all of the homes available in your desired location and with your preferred criteria.
- Insist on a home inspection. A REALTOR® will insist that a home inspection is done on any house or property that is being sold so that no one buys a home with potentially hidden problems that is not worth the asking price.
- Give an honest evaluation of a home or property. A REALTOR® will also give you an honest evaluation of any home or property you are considering. It is against their code of ethics for them to withhold information or coerce a buyer into purchasing a home that is not up to quality standards.
When it comes to a REALTOR® vs a real estate agent, you can see where the advantage lies.
The Pamela Walters Group is Made Up of REALTORS®
Every agent in the Pamela Walters Group is a certified REALTOR®. We hold ourselves to the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. When you work with us to buy or sell a home, we ensure that all transactions are fair for all parties involved. We work hard to find you the home you’re looking for, or to sell your home for the best price, all with honest practices.