Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent: What is the Difference?

 realtor vs real estate agent

We often use the terms real estate agent and realtor without giving it much thought. However, there are differences between these roles. Understanding the distinction between Realtor vs real estate agent helps you decide which you should partner with before buying or selling a home. But, how do you choose?

In this article, we’ll be covering the following:

Key Points

  • Firstly, what are real estate agents and what do they do?
  • The requirements of a real estate agent
  • The difference between listing agents and buyer’s agents
  • The difference between a realtor vs. real estate agent
  • The requirements to become a realtor
  • And lastly, how to choose between a realtor and real estate agent.

Without further ado, let’s begin by defining what a real estate agent is.

What Is a Real Estate Agent? 

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who help people buy, sell, or rent property. Meanwhile, they bring together buyers and sellers to coordinate a sale and are paid commission on the property sold. Real estate agents are sponsored by either a real estate broker or agent. 

A real estate agent has many responsibilities, such as: 

  • Facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers 
  • Negotiate offers and counteroffers between parties 
  • Advise clients on necessary provisions to complete a property sale

Requirements To Become a Real Estate Agent

The requirements for becoming a Realtor vs real estate agent vary by state, but usually include the following for an agent:

  • 18 years of age or older 
  • Legal United States resident 
  • Completion of state’s required pre-licensing class 
  • Passing of state’s real estate licensing exam 
  • 30 to 90 hours of classroom instruction on real estate fundamentals 

Additionally, to maintain their license, real estate agents must complete continuing education credits and pay the annual licensure fee. 

Listing Agents vs. Buyer’s Agents

Real estate agents fall under two categories: listing agents and buyer’s agents.

Listing agents represent sellers and provide guidance on the most successful way to sell your home. They are experts on setting sale prices and increasing property value.

Additionally, they are also in charge of marketing your home online via MLS sites and other real estate channels. 

In the case of buyer’s agents, they represent property buyers. They search the market for homes that meet their clients’ needs. Additionally, buyers agents can also assist in scheduling home appraisals and inspections. 

What Is a Realtor vs Real Estate Agent?

A Realtor is a real estate professional who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors. However, only about one-half of real estate agents are technically Realtors.

After becoming NAR members, the following can also be referred to as “Realtors”: 

  • Home appraisers
  • Property managers 
  • Real estate counselors 
  • Real estate brokers 

Requirements To Become a Realtor 

Other than being a NAR member, the requirements include: 

  1. Valid real estate license 
  2. Current activity in real estate 
  3. Record free of unprofessional conduct 
  4. No recent or pending bankruptcy filing 
  5. Local NAR’s chapter membership
  6. Adherence to NAR’s strict code of ethics 

To maintain NAR membership, Realtors are required to complete an online refresher course every four years and maintain their membership fees.

Real estate professionals seek the Realtor status to advance their reputation, widen their network, and improve their skills in the real estate market. The NAR ethics code distinguishes a Realtor vs real estate agent.

How To Choose Between a Realtor vs Real Estate Agent

Now that you know the differences between a Realtor vs real estate agent, who should you choose?

The short answer is both. Realtors’ and Real Estate Agents’ are invested in your success, and will be honest with you throughout the entire process. For a list of the best realtors and real estate agent’s nearest you, look no further than FastExpert! At FastExpert, we connect you with the best real estate agent to meet your needs. Contact us today! 

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