When you’re buying or selling a home, you are probably working with a real estate professional. That person may be a REALTOR® or a real estate agent. Though the terms are similar, they mean different things, and that difference may be important in the purchase or sale of your home.
A real estate agent is someone who has earned a real estate license in his or her state. He or she may be a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker. Everyone who earns a real estate license must take a minimum number of required classes and pass a test. Associate brokers and brokers must meet additional requirements.
A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Through that association, the REALTOR® has agreed to uphold the standards of the NAR and its code of ethics. As a member of the NAR, the REALTOR® has access to additional training and education and has the privilege of posting listings on REALTOR.com, one of the most visited real estate listing websites. In fact, one in three visitors to REALTOR.com is a serious buyer. The site helps REALTORS® sell homes, and it can also help buyers and sellers find the right REALTOR® for their needs.
All REALTORS® are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. Make sure you know which one your real estate agent is, and decide what type of professional you want to work with – someone who holds a real estate license, or someone with a real estate license who has pledged to uphold the NAR’s standards and code of ethics.
Marti Reeder is an associate broker and a REALTOR® for John L. Scott, Kent-Covington. She is a three-time winner of Seattle Magazine’s “Five Star Real Estate Agent” award, a six-time winner of the Kent Reporter’s “Best of Kent” award in the real estate agent category and the winner of numerous John L. Scott president’s awards. She is also serving as the vice president of the South King County Women’s Council of REALTORS® for 2014. For more information about Marti, visit Marti-Realtor.com. For more information about the NAR, visit REALTOR.com or REALTOR.org.