What's the difference between real estate agents and realtors?

What's the difference between real estate agents and realtors?

Both are licensed, but a Realtor has gone one step further. Real estate agent and realtor are two terms that are frequently used interchangeably, although they don't mean the same thing. Both must have a license to sell real estate, but there are some significant differences. Realtors are not all real estate agents.

What's the Difference Between a Realtor and an Agent?

Realtors Real Estate Agents
Must pass agent licensing requirements in their state Must pass agent licensing requirements in their state
Must additionally pass the NAR Code of Ethics course Aren't subject to additional requirements
Are members of the National Association of Realtors members Are not NAR members
A real estate agent has a state license to help people buy or sell homes. Realtors are brokers who have taken it further by joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Requirement for Realtors

In addition to being a real estate agent, a Realtor can also be a managing broker, a broker-associate, or an exclusive buyer's agent. The Realtor Code of Ethics, which consists of 17 unique articles and other underlying Standards of Practice, distinguishes them from other organizations. The word "Realtor" is a trademarked phrase, and the NAR is the largest trade organization in the United States.

The NAR Code of Ethics

Local real estate boards strictly enforce the NAR Code of Ethics, created in 1913. The criteria are significantly stricter and more limiting than the state laws that control agents. Agents promise to uphold and abide by more than just a set of regulations because their brokers forced them to join the Association. There is no proof that all Realtors are morally or ethically "better" than independent real estate brokers, but the business is trying to control them with the Code of Ethics. The same legal requirements apply to "real estate agents" who are not members of NAR.

The 17 Articles

Each 17 Articles is important, but the first one stands out above the others. It serves as the foundation for all that a Realtor does. The need is that a Realtor is honest rather than that they must be fair to all parties, such as a listing agent when acting as a buyer's agent. Realtors must promise to prioritize their client's needs before their own. The 17 principles that a Realtor must uphold are as follows:
  1. Put the needs of buyers and sellers before their own and be honest with all parties.
  2. Avoid highlighting, misrepresenting, or hiding important details about a property. When circumstances ostensibly call for it, investigate and disclose.
  3. When it is in the client's best benefit to do so, work with other brokers or agents.
  4. Indicate if they are a principal in a real estate transaction or a representative of a family member who owns or is intending to purchase real estate.
  5. Refrain from rendering professional services in a transaction if the agent has an interest—current or potential—in which they are unaware.
  6. Without the seller's specific permission, neither should you collect commissions secretly nor accept payments from third parties.
  7. Reject fees from multiple parties without the full permission of all parties.
  8. Do not mix customer money and personal funds.
  9. Make an effort to ensure that every written document is simple to comprehend and guarantee that everyone has a copy of anything they sign.
  10. Do not discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or country of origin in any way or for any reason.
  11. Be capable of adhering to professional rules of conduct and declining to render services for which they are unqualified.
  12. Adopt a sincere marketing and advertising stance.
  13. If the agent is not a lawyer, do not practice law.
  14. If they are accused, they should cooperate and provide all needed proof.
  15. You consent not to criticize rival businesses and refrain from filing baseless ethical complaints.
  16. Do not solicit the customers of another realtor or meddle with a business arrangement.
  17. Instead of using the legal system to seek redress, submit disputes to arbitration.

Requirements for Agents

Although these qualifications are typically not strict, real estate agents must meet certain age and educational requirements in the state where they wish to work. For instance, a four-year college degree is never or hardly ever necessary. After that, agents must take state-approved educational courses, apply for a license, and pass the licensing test. A real estate license can then be requested. Continual certification requirements exist in some states. In addition to meeting all these requirements, a Realtor must successfully complete a course on the NAR Code of Ethics and repeat the process every four years to keep their certification.

The Bottom Line

The National Association of Realtors was established in 1908, and as of May 2021, it had more than 1.5 million members. An agent isn't a member frequently because they don't generate enough revenue to make membership worthwhile.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do real estate brokers earn?

Typically, real estate brokers receive 2 to 3 percent of the price of each home they sell. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they receive a national average pay of $61,480.

What is the cost of joining NAR?

Annual dues are $150, but exceptional assessments may raise that sum slightly.

Is a college degree or college coursework required for real estate agents?

Real estate agents are not required to have a college degree, but they must complete a set number of courses following the state rules where they live and intend to work.

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