Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor

Difference between a real estate agent and a realtor

Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor

When it comes time for you to buy a house, you might want to enlist the help of a professional. Buying a house or business property is a big deal. Before you make that leap of commitment, though, there are a few clarifications that need to be made concerning the types of real estate professionals out there.
You’ve probably heard both the terms, realtor and real estate agent, used interchangeably. While they might sound very much the same, there’s a few key differences to each term that you should be aware of. Contrary to popular belief, “Realtor” is not just a simplified nickname for “real estate agent.” Both terms refer to a different type of person who sells real estate. While both terms indicate that the person is licensed to sell real estate, each title refers to a different type of real estate professional. Simply put, a real estate agent is someone who’s licensed to help people buy and sell commercial and residential real estate while a Realtor is someone is who is not only licensed to do the same but is also a member of a trademarked association, the National Association of Realtors. In order to become a Realtor, a real estate agent must become part of this association.
In a nutshell, you can be a licensed real estate agent and NOT be a Realtor, but all Realtors must be licensed professionals.

Requirements to Become a Realtor


You might assume that in order to become an Orlando Realtor, the professional must first be a real estate agent, but that’s not necessarily true. Real estate agents, property managers, appraisers and even real estate counselors and other professionals can become Realtors, but they must be licensed in their field by the State of Florida. To join, they simply have to locate their local National Association of Realtors office, pay the one-time application fee and then wait for approval of their applications by the Board of Directors.

Of course, there’s some prerequisite requirements prior to getting approved, some of which include the following:

  • Hold a valid real estate license
  • Be active in the real estate community
  • Have no record of official sanctions involving a breach in professional conduct
  • Have no recent or pending bankruptcy
  • Complete ethics training and continuing education requirements

Also, the principal of their organization must join first before you they can join. (The principles are basically the owners of the real estate company the real estate agent works for, such as the sole proprietor, partners and corporate owners.)

Realtor Code of Ethics

Because the National Association of Realtors is an organized association, it naturally has certain rules and etiquette that must be upheld by members in order for them to remain in the association. This code of ethics is what allegedly separates realtors from non-member real estate agents. The entire code consists of 17 articles, 131 explanatory case interpretations and 71 supporting standards. Like the Constitution and many other documents, the National Association of Realtors’ Code of Ethics is a living document that’s been changed and amended many times as necessary over the years. Basically, the Code of Ethics demands that Realtors respect one another and their relationships with clients and that they work together to further the best interest of their clients.

Why Would You Want a Realtor?

While a real estate agent can help you buy and sell property without being a Realtor, having a Realtor just gives you that extra edge. Just like enrolling as a member of any other prestigious organization does, being a member of the National Association of Realtors shows clients that the agent holds himself or herself to a higher level of standards and that they’re truly committed to your profession, a particular code of ethics and what it stands for. You can be more assured that a Realtor will go out of his or her way to protect your interests.

Get a Realtor Today!


If you’re getting ready to buy or sell a house and want to get the best financial outcome, consider contacting one of your Waypointe Realtors today!

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10 thoughts on “Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor”

  1. Thanks for helping me understand that a realtor is a member of associations aside from being a licensed professional. With that in mind, it would definitely be worth it to hire their services, especially since my mom needs to sell the house of my grandparents. It’s because she is not able to manage the property anymore that is why she decided that it’s better to sell it this year.

  2. I love that you talked about how each title directs to another type of real estate professional while both terms mean that the person is authorized to sell real estate. My best friend told me that he planned to buy a new home with sufficient space for his desired backyard, and he asked if I had any idea what could be the best option to do. Thanks to this informative article and I’ll be sure to tell him that it will be much better if we consult a realty agent as they can help him search for the property that he wants.

  3. I like that you talked about how realtors would be licensed as well as being a member of a trademarked association. With that in mind, I will be looking for a residential real estate company that has professionals like that for my peace of mind now that I want to purchase my first home ever. Knowing that they are qualified and certified will give me the confidence that the processes we will go through will all be legitimate.

  4. I want to get a piece of property, but I’m not sure how to choose it. It makes sense that I would want to work with a real estate agent to ensure that I handle it properly. That seems like a good way to ensure that I organize everything together.

  5. I’m glad you explained how to identify a realtor and a real estate agent. Recently, my parents said they want to start exploring their retirement options, so they want to hire a real estate specialist to help out, and I think they’d like to read your hiring tips first. Thank you for the advice on working with a realtor to find a property.

  6. It was fascinating to know that one should hold a valid real estate license to become a realtor. My sister is selling her house, but it’s her first time. I should advise her to seek guidance from a realtor to make the selling process smooth.

  7. Wow, this is worth reading. Thank you for sharing this article. It is very informative, great work.

  8. It’s helpful to know that we should be real estate agents before becoming a realtor. I have a cousin who wants to be a professional real estate specialist and open her own agency in the future, so I think she’d start by reading your insight about completing your training first. Thanks for the information on having a real estate license if you want to be a realtor.

  9. The article suggests that real estate agents can provide valuable guidance and expertise in pricing and marketing a property, negotiating with buyers or sellers, and navigating the legal and financial aspects of the transaction. It also emphasizes the importance of building a trusting relationship with an agent who understands the homeowner’s unique needs and goals.

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