Real Estate Agent vs Realtor: What’s the Difference?

Real estate agent vs realtor: discover the key differences as well as their roles in the home buying or selling process. Learn more on our informative blog.

Are You planning on buying or selling property and want to understand the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor? While these terms can often be used interchangeably, there are key differences you should know about between them- in this article, we’ll look at what real estate professionals really do as part of the transaction process and their respective roles within it.

We’ll highlight the benefits of working with both real estate agents and Realtors, how to become a licensed agent in the real estate industry, what additional requirements exist for Realtors, and the code of ethics followed by these professionals.

Key Takeaways

Real estate agents must have a professional license in order to buy, sell, or rent real estate, and are expected to adhere to good ethical standards

A Realtor is a licensed real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and is held to a higher standard as someone who follows this code of ethics. They also have access to exclusive networking opportunities and more.

Real estate professionals of all types are generally paid a commission, or percentage of the total sale price of a home. While some negotiation might be possible with some individuals, the fee is generally around 5-6% of the total sale price.

Not all real estate agents are realtors, but all Realtors are real estate agents. There are some benefits to working with a Realtor over a real estate professional, but both are very capable of helping you with your property transaction

At the end of the day, the most important question is whether you’re working with an honest, dependable professional who is experienced in your area and will put your needs above all else.

Understanding Real Estate Agent Professionals

real estate agent vs realtor differences and similarities

Real estate transactions can be complex and the best outcome often requires the guidance of a licensed professional. Whether you’re working with a real estate agent or Realtor, it’s essential to understand their role in the process. Real estate professionals may specialize further; while we don’t have time to get too deep into it in this article, a specialized type of real estate professional you might encounter is a buyer’s agent. Others include seller’s agent, rental agent, listing agent, closing agent, and more.

Differentiating Between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor

While both real estate agents and Realtors are licensed to represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions, there are important distinctions between the two.

A Realtor is an active member of the National Association of Realtors, which requires completing a specific number of transactions and ethics coursework after obtaining a real estate license. If this person is an active member in good standing with the NAR, they pay membership dues, have multiple years of experience under their belt, and must adhere to a strict code of ethics.

A real estate agent is also a licensed professional who is expected to follow a code of ethics, but it is somewhat less strict, enforcement may be more difficult, and unlike Realtors, real estate agents are expected but not necessarily required to follow the same standards regarding cooperation with other agents.

For these reasons, clients can expect the highest level of professionalism, ethical standards, and up-to-date education when opting for a licensed Realtor.

Role in Property Transactions

Above all else, the main responsibility of both real estate agents and Realtors is to ensure the best possible deal for their clients while avoiding potential pitfalls.

Real estate professionals work with clients to understand their needs, preferences, and budget, and then use that information to identify properties that meet those criteria. Other services they provide include helping clients navigate legal paperwork, negotiating offers, and coordinating inspections and appraisals.

At the end of the day, while there are clear advantages to working with a Realtor, it’s a good idea to select a professional who has the most experience in your local market, and who you feel comfortable working with through the property transaction process.

Becoming a Real Estate Agent Professional

real estate agent vs realtor becoming a professional

To start, one must complete pre-licensing education and pass an exam, and continuing education is often required to maintain licensure. Real estate professionals can work independently or for a brokerage firm. Aspiring agents should choose a mentor who can guide them through the intricacies of the local market and provide invaluable advice based on experience.

Qualifications, Steps, and Licensing Requirements to Become a Realtor

To become a real estate agent, one must meet certain qualifications.

  • Most states require individuals to be at least 18 years old
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Research your state’s requirements for pre-licensing education. This often entails completing a certain number of hours of coursework in real estate principles, practices, and law.
  • Pass a background check
  • Complete pre-licensing education courses
  • Once you’ve finished the education requirements, you’ll need to pass a licensing exam that tests your knowledge of property transactions, ethics, and other relevant topics.
  • Continuing additional education is also necessary to maintain a valid license.

Real estate agents work under the supervision of licensed brokers and can assist clients in buying, selling, or renting properties. While licensing requirements vary from state to state, obtaining proper certification is critical for those who wish to pursue a career as a real estate professional.

Becoming a Realtor is an accomplishment that involves meeting certain additional requirements for membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Membership in NAR, the largest trade association for real estate in the United States, comes with access to exclusive networking opportunities and resources. However, keep in mind that being a Realtor entails adhering to the NAR’s code of higher standards of practice that go beyond state licensing requirements. While working as an independent agent or joining a brokerage is possible after obtaining your license, becoming a Realtor requires dedication to upholding professional standards and ethical practices.

How Real Estate Agents and Realtors Earn Money

real estate agent vs realtor how do real estate agents earn money

Real estate agents and Realtors earn money through commission on the sale or purchase of a property. Commission rates can vary based on the type of property and location. As NAR members, Realtors pay dues to the organization, which may impact their commission rates.

Commission-based Payment System

Real estate professionals earn money through a commission-based payment system, which means they only get paid when they successfully sell a property. The commission is usually a percentage of the sale price, and it is split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent.

Real estate agents and Realtors may also earn money through referral fees or by offering additional services to their clients. It’s important for clients to understand how their chosen agent or Realtor earns their income before entering into a business relationship with them. By doing so, clients can avoid any misunderstandings about costs or fees and ensure that they are working with a professional who is transparent about how they will be compensated.

Negotiating Payment with Clients

When it comes to negotiating payment with clients, real estate agents and Realtors typically earn money through a commission-based payment system. This means that they only get paid when they successfully sell a property, and the commission is usually a percentage of the final sale price.

It’s important to note that agents and Realtors may negotiate their commission rate with clients, but it usually falls within the 5-6% range. In addition, some agents may also charge additional fees for services such as advertising or staging a property for open houses or viewings. Before hiring an agent or Realtor, make sure to understand the payment structure and any additional fees that may be involved.

Working With a Real Estate Agent vs Realtor

Real estate agent vs realtor professional standards

Benefits of Working with a Real Estate Agent

Partnering with a real estate agent has a lot of advantages over trying to manage your property transaction on your own. They bring a wealth of education and knowledge of the market to the table and are able to provide personalized services including paperwork, handling of any legal aspects, negotiation on behalf of their clients, and more.

While there are no rules about clients handling their own property transactions, hiring a licensed professional will bring peace of mind and take much of the stress off your shoulders.

Benefits of Working with a Realtor

Working with a Realtor can be highly advantageous for clients looking to buy or sell property. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors and must adhere to a strict code of ethics, which gives them an edge over other real estate professionals. With access to a wider range of resources and exclusive listings, Realtors can provide valuable market data and expertise in areas such as negotiations and contract preparation.

Additionally, their larger network of contacts including mortgage lenders, home inspectors, and contractors can ensure that all aspects of the transaction are handled smoothly.

It’s important to choose someone who has experience in your desired market and understands your unique needs when working with an agent or Realtor. Consider factors such as communication style, availability, and fees before making your decision. Ultimately, whether you decide to work with an agent or Realtor will depend on your specific situation and preferences.

Understanding the Code of Ethics

real estate agent vs realtor ethics and principals

Differences in the Code of Ethics for Agents and Realtors.

Real estate professionals are held to high ethical standards, but Realtors have an additional set of guidelines that they must follow. Real estate agents are required to follow the state regulations for licensing, but the NAR code of ethics is significantly more strict and much easier to enforce.

The ethical requirements for members of the National Association of Realtors include prioritizing client interests while upholding honesty and integrity in all transactions, being transparent with advertising practices, and avoiding potential conflicts of interest.

By choosing to work with a Realtor, homebuyers, and sellers can have absolute trust in the integrity of their transaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a buyer’s agent and a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who represents buyers, sellers, or both in real estate transactions. A buyer’s agent is a type of real estate agent who works specifically with buyers to help them find and purchase a property, not a real estate salesperson.

While not all real estate agents are buyer’s agents, all buyer’s agents must be licensed real estate agents. When working with a buyer’s agent, they have a legal obligation to represent your best interests as the buyer, making sure you get the best deal possible.

What are the pros and cons of obtaining a real estate agent?

While there are potential cons to consider, such as commission fees, there are also many benefits to obtaining a real estate agent, such as bringing expertise in the housing market, handling negotiations, and assisting with paperwork and legal requirements, making the process smoother for buyers and sellers.

While not all real estate agents are buyer’s agents, all buyer’s agents must be licensed real estate agents. When working with a buyer’s agent, they have a legal obligation to represent your best interests as the buyer, making sure you get the best deal possible.

What type of license is required to become a real estate agent or broker in Oregon

To become a real estate agent or real estate broker in Oregon, you must have a valid real estate license. This requires completing 150 hours of pre-license education and passing both the state and national licensing exams.

Brokers in Oregon have additional requirements, including more coursework and experience. It is important to ensure you meet all the necessary qualifications before beginning your career as a real estate agent or broker in Oregon.