According to the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO), there are over three million people with active real estate licenses in the United States. If you’re looking for someone to help you buy or sell your home, you can choose from more than a few options.

Most often, people choose either a Realtor or a real estate agent. Even though these terms are often used interchangeably, there are some differences.

But, what are the differences between Realtors vs. real estate agents? We’re here to discuss that so you can choose the right agent for your home journey.

What Is a Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent is someone who is licensed to help people sell, buy, or rent real estate. You may also hear them called real estate associates or real estate salespeople. A real estate agent can guide you through the process of buying or selling your home.

They bring together buyers and sellers and organize the transactions. This involves working with the other agent to carry offers and complete sale requirements such as home inspections.

They are paid through a commission.

Licensing is done by each state, so requirements will vary accordingly. However, there are a few common requirements across the board:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Legal resident of the U.S.
  • Complete pre-licensing education
  • Pass the state’s real estate license exam
  • Pass a background check
  • Be sponsored by a licensed real estate broker
  • Take continuing education classes

What Is a Realtor?

Many people think Realtors are the same as real estate agents. While some real estate agents are Realtors and vice versa, this is not true of every professional. The term is actually much broader than you may imagine.

Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). There are a number of different professions someone can be in while still being a Realtor:

  • Residential or commercial real estate brokers
  • Salespeople
  • Property managers
  • Appraisers

In order to become a Realtor, someone must meet certain requirements:

  • Have a valid, active real estate license
  • Active engagement in the real estate business
  • No record of official sanctions due to unprofessional conduct
  • Not recently filed or pending bankruptcy

Someone who wants to join the NAR will then need to join a local chapter and pay a one-time application fee. In the future, they’ll pay annual membership dues and must follow the NAR’s Code of Ethics.

Because of the peace of mind that can come with working with a licensed Realtor, many people find them a good choice. Working with a Realtor from can help you have a much smoother home journey.

Buyer’s and Seller’s Agents

Both the buyer and seller may have an agent, whether it is a Realtor or a real estate agent, helping them. The one who represents the seller is called the seller’s agent or the listing agent. The listing agent will help market and stage the home, as well as help set a list price.

This agent will also help negotiate the sales price, closing and other fees, and help file all required documents.

The buyer’s agent is one that finds properties to show the buyers. They make sure they meet the buyers’ wishes and price range. The buyer’s agent also helps negotiate terms and file documents.

Understand the Differences: Realtors vs. Real Estate Agents

Both Realtors and real estate agents can help you buy or sell your home. Knowing the differences between Realtors vs. real estate agents can help you make the best decision about who will help you on your home journey.

If you found this article helpful, make sure to check out our other articles too.

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