Realtor vs Real Estate Agent: What’s the Difference?

Written by Posted On Friday, 25 October 2019 04:11

When it comes time to selling your home and you don’t want to go it alone, discover the difference between realtor vs real estate agent.

Every year for the last several years, more than 5 million homes have been sold throughout the United States. That pattern is expected to continue through the year 2020 as well.

Are you thinking about selling your home soon? If so, you’ve probably been wondering what kind of professional you should hire to help you.

Should you work with a real estate agent? What about a realtor? Not sure which one is right for you?

Explained below is everything you need to know about the difference between a realtor vs real estate agent.

What is a Real Estate Agent?

A lot of people use the terms “real estate agent” and “realtor” as though they’re synonyms. That’s definitely not the case, though.

A real estate agent is someone who has obtained a license that allows them to sell properties (both residential and commercial).

A real estate agent will have completed the minimum requirements put in place by their state. This might include attending classes for a certain number of hours, passing an exam that covers state, local, and national real estate laws, and paying an annual license fee and renewing their license on a regular basis.

What is a Realtor?

The term “Realtor” has actually been trademarked by the National Association of Realtors (or NAR for short).

Legally, for someone to call themselves a realtor, they have to be an active member of this group. Being an active member means they’re abiding by the additional qualifying guidelines that the group has put in place.

All realtors are technically real estate agents because they’ve completed the minimum requirements for their state. However, not all real estate agents are realtors.

Realtor vs Real Estate Agent

Now that you understand the key differences between a realtor and a real estate agent, you might be wondering which one is a better choice for you.

There are pros and cons to working with both realtors and real estate agents. Here are some of the most important pros and cons of which you ought to be aware:

Real Estate Agent Pros and Cons

If you hire a real estate agent to help you sell your house, you can feel confident knowing that they’ve received the training necessary to sell it for a good price while also abiding by the real estate laws in your area.

As long as their license is up to date (something you should always check before agreeing to work with them), you can rest easy knowing that they’ve done the work to stay aware of any changes to the law and are unlikely to lead you into questionable territory.

Some people are wary of working with a real estate agent over a realtor, though. This, in part, has to do with their lack of professional affiliation.

If you want to work with someone who has the highest standards, it may be better for you to find someone who’s gone the extra mile to become a member of the National Association of Realtors.

Realtor Pros and Cons

On the flip side, someone who’s part of the NAR might charge you more money than someone who works as a real estate agent. If you’re trying to sell your house without spending a fortune on realtor’s fees, working with a real estate agent might be a safer option.

Of course, trying to save money could end up being your downfall.

Choosing a realtor over a real estate agent may cost you more upfront, but you may also find yourself working with a more experienced and knowledgeable professional. This, in turn, could lead to you selling your house for a higher price, which means more money for you in the long run.

Choosing the Right Real Estate Professional

Whether you choose to work with a real estate agent or a realtor, there are lots of steps you can take to ensure you’re hiring the best person to help you sell your house. Here are some essential steps every seller ought to take during the hiring process:

Consider Their Title

First, find out how they’re referring to themselves. If they’re calling themselves a realtor instead of a real estate agent, make sure they are, in fact, a member of the NAR. Then, go a step farther and make sure their membership is up to date and their license is current.

Ask About Their Experience

Next, learn about their experience. How long have they worked as a realtor or real estate agent? What kind of continuing education courses, if any, have they taken?

Consider Their Specialties

It’s a good idea to hire a real estate professional who specializes in selling homes like yours and working with buyers like you.

For example, if you’re a first-time buyer or seller, this realtor guide recommends working with a professional who specializes in assisting first-timers and holding their hand through the process.

Ask the Right Questions

In addition to asking about their license and professional affiliations, there are some other important questions you ought to ask before making a hiring decision.

For example, how quickly do they respond to messages? Do they work on a solo basis, or are they part of a larger agency?

Ask how long it usually takes for the sales process to be completed, too.

Ask for Referrals

Don’t forget to ask for referrals, as well. Any professional worth hiring will be able to connect you with several past clients who are satisfied with their work.

Which Will You Choose?

Now that you know more about the differences between a realtor vs real estate agent, what do you think? Do you know which one will be a better fit for you?

No matter what type of real estate professional you choose to hire, make sure you keep the tips listed above in mind. They’ll help you ensure you’re bringing on the best person for the job.

Don’t forget to visit the Sellers Advice section of our site today for more useful tips and tricks. We’ve got tons of information that will help to simplify the selling process for you.

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