The terms Realtor and real estate agent are often used interchangeably, but in reality, they are not the same thing. Some real estate agents are not realtors, and when the time to purchase a home arrives, knowing the difference can be essential. Here are the primary differences between a real estate agent and a Realtor.
Top real estate agents are licensed to assist homebuyers and sellers in the transfer of property in their home states. Realtors are qualified to do the same thing, but they have also taken the time to become members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR is one of the largest trade organizations in the United States, and the word Realtor is actually trademarked. A Realtor can be a real estate agent, broker, buyer’s agent, broker associate, and much more.
A Realtor must also subscribe to a specific code of ethics set forth by the NAR.
Educational and Licensing Requirements
Real estate agents are required to meet certain educational standards in the state where they wish to be licensed. Such standards are usually not very strict, and in most cases, a college degree is not required. Agents must then take state-approved courses and apply for and successfully pass the state licensing examination. Once they pass the examination, they may apply for a real estate license. Some states require agents to continue their education to some degree through the life of their careers.
A realtor must also pass the examination and apply for a license, but they are also required to pass a NAR Code of Ethics course every four years to remain certified.
NAR Code of Ethics
Adopted in 1913, the NAR Code of Ethics is strictly enforced by local real estate organizations. These codes Realtors adhere to are more stringent than those for real estate agents, and for some people, they can be confining. Even though the NAR has its own code of ethics, non-Realtors are required to follow certain conduct codes as well.
The NAR Code of Ethics consists of 17 articles. Each article is important and must be adhered to. One of the most important articles is the first, which states Realtors must be fair to all parties involved in a transaction. If a person violates an article, they could lose their certification. Realtors are not bound to the 17 articles, but they can also lose certification if they violate the ethical code of their home state.
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