Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent – What’s the Difference?

I am sure it’s common when you are researching home buying and selling, to hear the terms Realtor and real estate agent thrown around. What’s the difference between the two, is there a difference or are they the same? They are different and the difference is important to note. We are going to break it down for you so you as a home buyer or seller are informed when making a decision on who to have as your agent.

What is a real estate agent? They are someone who has gone through all of the necessary education and licensing to help you as a client buy or sell homes. Each state has different requirements for what has to be done. In Colorado it means taking the necessary education classes, passing the state and national exam, paying your dues and continuing your education every three years to maintain your license. Real estate is continuously changing so staying up to date on your courses is a must.

What is a Realtor? A Realtor IS a real estate agent but someone who has gone above and beyond when it comes to their education. All Realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors. Just as a real estate agent does, they take their classes, pass the exams and get their license. But once that is done, they go even further with their education, mainly focusing the remaining of their eduction on conducting fair and equal service for all.

While the jobs of each are essentially the same, Realtors are held to a much higher standard than a real estate agent is. These standards are upheld by the National Association of Realtors (or NAR). States each have their own as well; in Colorado it is the Colorado Association of Realtors. Even though they are completing the same job, helping you as a client buy or sell a home, Realtors have the extra knowledge and accreditation to make sure your sale is handled with the highest level of professionalism and honesty. Realtors are held to NAR’s code of ethics which is changing year by year to stay up to date with the current laws and ethics within real estate.

When you are searching for an agent, it’s important to keep these things in mind. We want you to go into this process feeling as comfortable as you can in knowing that your agent has all of your best interests in mind. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they are a Realtor or not! This is a fair question. Buying or selling your home is a big deal and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly by anyone. You take pride in your home and your chosen agent should do the same.

Following NAR’s code of ethics is something that we don’t take lightly and we strive to implement in all of the transactions that we handle for our clients. If you want more information on this topic, you can visit NAR’s website here to learn even more!