So, do you know the difference when it comes to hiring a Realtor vs. real estate agent? Both terms — Realtor and real estate agent — are used frequently. But the question often arises: Are they the same or are they different?
While both terms reflect someone licensed to sell residential or commercial real estate, there is one rather large difference. A Realtor — which is a trademarked term — denotes a real estate agent who has taken the additional step of membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As a member of the NAR, members have access to a wide variety of professional tools such as: 
  • The Realtor Benefits Program
  • Member Value Plus Program
  • NAR Library
  • Realtors Property Resource
  • NAR Research and Statistics, and much more
The NAR’s website, www.nar.realtor, contains a wealth of information. Other categories on the website include: 
  • News
  • Blogs & Videos
  • Research & Statistics
  • Member Benefits
  • Education
  • Events
  • Political Advocacy
  • Law, Ethics & Policy
  • Business Specialties and more.

All of these resources and tools help Realtors provide the highest level of service to their clients. 

America’s largest trade association

The NAR is reported to be America’s largest trade association – an organization made up of professionals from a specific industry. (Feel free to use that as a trivia question to stump your friends.) The group represents more than 1.2 million members composed of residential and commercial Realtors along with brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and many others involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. Realtors pay a small annual fee to maintain membership in the professional organization.
Moreover, there are approximately 1,200 local associations and 54 state and territory associations of Realtors. So, no matter how you look at it, one thing is perfectly clear — Realtors keep America “moving!”

Strict Code of Ethics

The NAR also prides itself on its Code of Ethics & Professional Standards, which helps separates a Realtor vs. real estate agent. The code is made up of 17 articles, 71 supporting standards of practice and 131 explanatory case interpretations. Members are required to successfully complete periodic training on the Code of Ethics as a condition of membership. The code is also broken down into three categories: 
  • Duties to Clients and Customers
  • Duties to the Public 
  • Duties to Realtors
To become a licensed Realtor or real estate agent takes a true commitment to the profession. Most states require 30 to 90 hours of real estate classroom instruction from an accredited college, university or technical school. When that has been completed, you are also required to pass an exam covering a variety of real estate topics such as standards and practices and real estate law.
According to the NAR’s Code of Ethics, “The term Realtor has come to connote competency, fairness and high integrity resulting from adherence to a lofty ideal of moral conduct in business relations. Accepting this standard as their own, Realtors pledge to observe its spirit in all of their activities whether conducted personally, through associates or others, or via technological means.”
As the saying goes, “You learn something new every day!” And now you know the difference between Realtor vs. real estate agent! The Olear Team benefits from local and national NAR membership, ensuring that our clients receive the very best service and most up-to-date information from our team of agents.