Many people use the terms real estate agent and Realtor® interchangeably, thinking that they’re synonymous with each other. However, the industry thinks differently, even if they serve the same purpose in real estate transactions. Here’s a closer look at the distinctions between the two.
What Is a Real Estate Agent?
For starters, a real estate agent is a person who is licensed to assist buyers and sellers in the transaction of property. To become one, you have to pass the state’s licensing examination after completing 30 to 90 hours of state-approved coursework that covers laws and best practices.
Some states require a certain age, educational attainment, and ongoing certifications to continue practicing as a real estate agent in an area. Moreover, they have to renew their licenses every one to two years.
How Are They Different From Realtors?
A Realtor, on the other hand, is technically a real estate agent—but with additional requirements. They have to take and pass a course on the Code of Ethics, which distinguishes them from their fellow agents. When they become members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), it means that they have an impeccable conduct record, no pending or recent case of bankruptcy, and a trustworthy reputation on top of their valid license. That’s because the NAR is a highly recognized trade association that works hard to protect its affiliates through more stringent standards than those found in regular guidelines.
For Realtors to maintain their affiliation, they have to pass the NAR Code of Ethics course every four years. They also have to uphold the 17 Articles of the code in their practice, wherein every article dictates how they should conduct business. For instance, the first rule explicitly states that they must be honest with all parties regardless of their interests in the transaction. Honesty is a prevalent theme in most of the 17 articles, and a Realtor should strictly adhere to such or risk the possibility of losing their membership and incurring heavy penalties.
Although Realtors are not entirely different from real estate agents, the reputation and value that come with the package make them stand apart from the crowd.
Whether your path involves becoming a real estate agent or a Realtor, you can take your career to new heights with the professionals at EXIT Realty Upper Midwest. With offices in North and South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois, they’ll train you to reach your goals and grow your wealth with residual income. Call (651) 505-3570 or visit them online for more information on career opportunities.