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Real Estate Agent vs. REALTOR

So many people ask if there is really a difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR? The simple answer is yes! These two terms seem to be used interchangeably; however, real estate professionals know that they do not mean the same thing.

So what is the difference?

This may sound like the beginning of a riddle, but trust me, it will all make sense by the time you finish reading this! All REALTORS are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are REALTORS.

Let me explain more…

The definition of a real estate agent is anyone who has earned a real estate license. He/she is able to represent a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction, in exchange for a commission.

A REALTOR is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS. According to NAR, the term REALTOR has one, and only one, meaning: “REALTOR is a federally registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.”

NAR’s Code of Ethics include:

  • Duties to Clients & Customers
  • Duties to the Public
  • Duties to REALTORS

So basically, a real estate agent and a REALTOR do the same job; however, a REALTOR must uphold the standards of the association.

REALTORS are not just agents, they are experts in their field. They are up to date and have the latest news and trends of the industry. Not only can you rely on your REALTOR’S vast knowledge, but you can also have peace of mind knowing that he/she must adhere to NAR’s strict code of ethics. You can expect your REALTOR to treat you with honesty and integrity throughout your entire real estate transaction.

For more information about the National Association of REALTORS, visit