If you are considering buying or selling a home, you will probably want someone to help you through the process. But, who should you turn to? A Realtor or a Real Estate Agent?
The Difference Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent
Are all licensed real estate agents realtors?
In order to earn a real estate license in any given state, a person must complete the required number of educational hours and pass the state licensing exam. E&O coverage (errors and omissions insurance) is required and in addition, continuing education is required on an annual basis. However, while the terms realtor and real estate agent are often used interchangeably, there is actually a difference between them. Not all agents are realtors. “Realtor” is a trademarked term used to refer to a real estate agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association in the United States. So to make it super simple, the difference between a realtor and and real estate agent is simply being a member of the National Association of Realtors.
Should I care if my agent is a member of NAR?
Let’s start with the basics. What is the purpose of a trade association, like NAR? Once you understand the purpose, you’ll be able to decide whether a real estate agent’s status as a Realtor is important to your transaction.
The purpose of a trade association is to bring together members of an industry to develop policies that benefit the industry, to ensure the industry is promoted in a positive light and to lobby the government on behalf of the industry through political action committees like RPAC, the REALTORS(r) Political Action Committee. In fact, 42 cents of every dollar spent on NAR dues goes to lobbying efforts, and NAR is the largest direct financial contributor to federal political candidates.
Some consumers do benefit from the work of trade associations, but it is important to know that the purpose of any trade association’s activities (NAR included) is the machination of positive industry PR, the squelching of negative coverage of the industry, and powerful lobbying action toward achieving political movement in favor of the industry and those working within it.
Should the difference between a realtor and a real estate agent actually matter when buying or selling a home?
If an agent is qualified to do the job, do you really care if he or she is a member of NAR? For most savvy people, finding an agent with a proven track record is much more important than being a member of an industry association. The difference between a realtor and a real estate agent comes down to membership, not experience, or qualification.
If you’re looking for a top agent, do your homework and find someone who has done more than a deal or two. Look for experts who can help you. While we aren’t members of NAR, our agents ARE in the top 1% and are here to help.
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