Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent, And Why You Need One

Written by Donna Kerr on August 27, 2019 · Leave a Comment


Why Using A Realtor Is A Smart Move

You probably think being a real estate agent and a Realtor is the same thing. Who could blame you? The two terms are often used interchangeably. But like margarine and butter, they’re very different. Let me explain!

First of all, I can understand why people tend to overuse the term Realtor. Think about it: Why use three words when one seems just fine? To people outside the industry, Realtor seems like convenient shorthand to refer to people who buy and sell real estate. Yet, while Realtors and real estate agents are both licensed to sell real estate, they assume different roles with clear distinctions. Let’s take them one at a time.


Real estate agents 

To qualify for a real estate license, agents must complete a certain number of classes and pass a state exam. State licensing requirements vary, but applicants generally complete between 30 to 90 hours of classroom instruction from an accredited college, university or technical school. 

After the classroom requirements have been met, applicants must also pass an exam that covers national as well as state and local real estate law, standards and practices. After receiving a license, real estate agents must pay an annual licensing fee and renew the licenses every year or two, depending on state requirements. In some states, agents may have to complete a certain number of continuing education courses to renew their licenses.


That sounds like a lot, right? So how could requirements for becoming a Realtor possibly be that different? Well, I’m a Realtor, and I can tell you that working with a Realtor as a home buyer or seller is a step up! That’s because the requirements to become and remain a Realtor are more rigorous. For you, that means added assurance that the person you are trusting to sell your home is experienced and highly ethical.

A Realtor refers to a licensed real estate agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors, the largest trade association in the U.S. The term is trademarked, so if you’re not a Realtor, you could get in deep trouble for calling yourself one! 

To become a Realtor, you must fulfill and maintain all your state real estate license requirements PLUS be actively engaged in the real estate business, have no record of official sanctions involving unprofessional conduct, and have no recent or pending bankruptcy. The owners or partners of a real estate firm must be Realtors themselves in order for any real estate agents they employ to qualify to become a Realtor. All agents at the Donna Kerr Group are Realtors.

As Realtors, we must follow a strict code of ethics laid out by the National Association of Realtors. Members receive an orientation to the code, which outlines duties to clients and customers, and agree to abide by it. Realtors are required to be fair and honest in their dealings with customers and other agents. Let me explain that a bit more.

In essence, Realtors must pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own.

Realtors must not exaggerate, misrepresent or conceal material facts about the property. For, example, if I or one of the agents who works at my firm is aware of a crack in the foundation of a home we are selling, we must investigate and disclose it to you!

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As Realtors, we must cooperate with other agents when it’s in your best interest as our clients.

As a Realtor, you can count on me and my agents not to discriminate against you based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.

And there’s more! You can read the full 17-article code of ethics here. If you as a client feel a Realtor has violated one or more of the articles, you can file an ethics complaint through the local association of Realtors.

So, when shopping for or selling a house, it makes good sense to choose a Realtor to know you’re in good hands. Even better – choose the DKG Group!