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Agent vs. Realtor: What’s the Difference Anyway?

The words “Realtor” and “real estate agent” are often used interchangeably, but in truth, they’re vastly different. All Realtors are real estate agents, but not all agents are Realtors, and when it comes to buying or selling a home, that can have a major impact, both on the final results and the experience as a whole. So… agent vs. Realtor… what’s the difference?

What Is a Real Estate Agent?

real estate agent showing a home

The term “real estate agent” refers to anyone with a professional license to help people buy, sell, or rent various types of properties. To become licensed, these individuals are required to take a certain number of hours of classes and trainings and pass a two-part test on both federal and general real estate laws.

The agent vs. the broker

If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, you might’ve also heard the term “real estate broker” at some point, too. This designation is earned after additional training has been taken and a broker’s exam passed. As a step beyond the “agent”, “brokers” have additional knowledge in ethics, contracts, taxes, insurance, and real estate legal issues.

What Is a Realtor?

realtor working with clients

Actually, the proper term is Realtor®, as it’s a trademark of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). To use the title of “Realtor®”, an agent must belong to the NAR—and follow additional codes of ethics and businesses practices.

In short, Realtors® are held to a higher standard of work and education, and in particular, their specifically outlined Code of Ethics.

What is the Code of Ethics?

The Code of Ethics laid out by the NAR outlines specific duties and obligations of agents to their clients, as well as the behavior of Realtors towards fellow agents. The most important rule of the Code, however, is that a Realtor® must always put the interests of the client above their own.

Other articles of the Code include being honest and straightforward with clients, being fair to all parties, and practicing competent business practices—including declining to provide services for which they are unqualified.

How does the Code of Ethics affect client service?

Anyone can be an agent. But to be a Realtor®, that agent swears to uphold a higher standard of business, one that puts the client—and their best interests—before anything else. That agent cannot withhold information. They cannot exaggerate or falsely promote properties. They can’t skimp on negotiating for a buyer because they want to make more commission on a higher price tag.

In short, a Realtor® is going to do what’s best for you, first and foremost, and that makes a big difference.

Agent vs. Realtor®: Which Is Better?

agent vs. realtor for cients

So, agent vs. Realtor: what’s the bottom line?

While both agents and Realtors® are required to undergo a certain amount of training and testing, only Realtors® are held to a higher standard of business ethics. With an agent, you’re getting education and maybe experience. With a Realtor®, you’re getting a guarantee that that agent’s going to go the extra mile to meet your real estate goals.

So, which is better, the agent or the Realtor®?

Looking for a Realtor® in Central Ohio?

Looking for not just an agent but a Realtor® who’s going to get the job done the best way possible? Then it’s time to contact me and my team. Whether you’re buying or selling in or relocating to Central Ohio, we’re here to ensure your real estate goals are not just met, but exceeded.

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