How is a Realtor Different from a Real Estate Agent?

December 10th, 2021 by Administrator
real estate

A homeowner usually wonders whether to hire a Realtor or real estate agent to help with the process of buying, selling, or even renting their home. Although many people use the term Realtor and real estate interchangeably, you must understand that they both are different industry specialists.

Here we’ll discuss how Realtors and real estate agents work and what to consider when hiring either professional.

What’s a real estate agent?

A professional real estate agent helps people buy, sell, or rent a property. They can work on the residential or commercial sides of the industry and represent either the buyer or the seller.

These agents have several responsibilities, including:

  • Offering guidance to sellers when valuing and preparing their property for sale
  • Marketing and presenting a property to potential purchasers
  • Providing insight to potential buyers
  • Negotiating a deal for either purchasers or sellers
  • Filing required papers, such as purchase offers, counteroffers, agreements, and other transactions

The licensing requirements for real estate agents vary from state to state. In general, to hold an active license, agents must complete a real estate course, pass a real estate exam, meet background check requirements, and obtain sponsorship from a real estate broker.

What is a Realtor?

Realtors are experts who facilitate or supervise the sale, purchase, or rental of properties. Real estate agents and Realtors share many responsibilities; however, being a Realtor requires membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR). If agents are not members of NAR, they can only be licensed to practice in their state of residence.

While not all real estate agents are Realtors, Realtors can be either brokers or agents. Depending on how they choose to operate, their duties may include:

  • Serving as a broker by supervising a team of real estate agents and representing clients
  • Assisting with the sale of real estate by guiding sellers in the preparation of their home, listing, marketing, and answering buyer’s inquiries
  • Representing both sellers and buyers within the same agency

Realtor requirements vary from state to state and may differ depending on whether the Realtor works as an agent or broker. Moreover, licensed Realtors need to follow the NAR Code of Ethics.

Here are a few tips to consider when choosing any of them:


Apart from working for and with you, a real estate agent should know about the industry from the inside. A professional with experience can guide you through the process so that it runs efficiently and effectively. Also, you should consider their core values.

Negotiating skills

Your representative should act as a buffer between all parties involved. As a middleman, they should advise you objectively and act in your best interests during the negotiation process.

Knowledge of the local area

Your agent should have comprehensive knowledge of the local neighborhood, including crime rates, vicinity to essential amenities, comparable properties, and price range. They should also know whether the set prices are reasonable based on the types of properties and the local markets.

Professional network

A real estate professional should refer you to other experts like staging companies, appraisers, or property inspectors.

The Bottom Line

There are many real estate professionals who specialize in various aspects of the industry. Whether you work with a professional real estate agent or a Realtor, both will guide you through the complex process of buying or selling your property.