You’ve heard of real estate agents. Maybe you’ve heard of REALTORS®. If you’re like most people, you probably use them interchangeably, thinking that they’re the same thing.
But they’re not!
Around 90% of buyers and sellers used some sort of real estate professional in 2012, and we strongly recommend you follow suit. There’s too much at stake not to leave it to the professionals. So your next question may be, “Do I get a real estate agent, or a REALTOR®?”
First Off–What’s The Difference?
A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of REALTORS®, the largest trade group in the country. The biggest difference is the NAR’s code of ethics that all REALTOR® have to follow. It is an in-depth code that is enforced by the NAR. Realtors who break the code can be fined or have their licenses taken away.
Real Estate Agents
On the other hand, agents aren’t part of the NAR and don’t have an ethics code to follow. Agents are still licensed to sell property, but are not held accountable by any organization.
Realtors are real estate agents and brokers who have joined the NAR, or the National Association of REALTORS®.
To become a REALTOR®, professionals must join their local NAR chapter and pay a one-time application fee, then a yearly membership due.
The fee pays for lobbying efforts, marketing, and resources like Code of Ethics training, webinars, and other classes so that REALTORS® are always continuing their education.
To be approved by the NAR Board you must:
Hold a valid real estate license
Be active in the real estate business
Have no official sanctions against them for unprofessional or immoral behavior
Have no recent or pending bankruptcy