Soldier to Soldier Hawaii

The Differences Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent

The Differences Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent: Decoding Real Estate Titles

The terms “real estate agent” and “realtor” are often used interchangeably, causing confusion for prospective home buyers and sellers. While they have similarities, it’s essential to understand their differences. If you’re planning on entering the real estate market, understanding these titles can help you choose the right professional for your needs. Let’s delve into the differences between a realtor and a real estate agent.

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a professional who has earned a real estate license to help clients buy, sell, or rent all types of real estate. To become a real estate agent, individuals must complete a certain amount of coursework and pass a state examination. The precise requirements vary from state to state.

Real estate agents can assist with the entire buying or selling process, including marketing properties, coordinating open houses, handling negotiations, and closing deals. They can represent both buyers and sellers in the transaction.


A Realtor, on the other hand, is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR is a trade association in the United States, and it has over 1 million members. To become a Realtor, a real estate agent must adhere to the association’s strict Code of Ethics.

The NAR’s Code of Ethics requires Realtors to promote the best interests of their clients, cooperate with other agents and brokers, and treat all parties involved in the transaction honestly. Realtors can face disciplinary action from their local NAR board if they fail to uphold these ethical standards.

Key Differences

Here are the key differences between a real estate agent and a Realtor:

  • Membership: All Realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors. Being a Realtor means the agent has taken an extra step to become a member of the National Association of Realtors and has agreed to adhere to the NAR’s Code of Ethics.
  • Ethical Requirements: While all real estate professionals are expected to conduct their business with integrity, Realtors are explicitly bound to the NAR’s Code of Ethics, which includes duties to clients, the public, and other Realtors. These rules are enforceable, and violators can face penalties.
  • Education: Both real estate agents and Realtors must meet the licensing requirements of their state. However, Realtors also have access to additional training and education opportunities through the NAR.

When choosing a real estate professional to work with, remember that both real estate agents and Realtors can assist you with buying, selling, or renting property. Consider their experience, local knowledge, customer service, and reviews in addition to their title. And whether you choose to work with a real estate agent or a Realtor, make sure they understand your needs and can guide you towards your real estate goals.

Celester Thomas

Company Blog – Soldier to Soldier Hawaii Realty