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What is the difference between a realtor and a real estate agent

It is pretty common that the term “real estate agent” and “Realtor” are used interchangeably. Many people that are not “in the biz” don’t even know that there is a difference. However, we do work in the industry and wanted to share that there is a distinction between a real estate agent and a Realtor.

Real Estate Agent

A Real Estate Agent is someone who has obtained a license through the state to assist consumers in buying and selling real estate. They have also been referred to as a sales associate or salesperson. To become a Real Estate Agent and maintain a license there are minimum instructional/educational hours that are required along with tests to receive certifications (which vary by state).


A REALTOR® has not only obtained a license through the state but is also an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Meaning, that these individuals have agreed to follow and uphold a strict code of ethics and standards of practice set forth by the association. Realtors will be held to a higher standard to ensure they are working in the clients’ best interests.

The National Association of Realtors Code of Ethics is made up of 17 articles, 71 supporting standards of practice, and 131 explanatory case interpretations. It is updated every year in January. More information about standard practices can be found on the NAR website.

So both professionals can be real estate agents but only members of the NAR can hold the title of REALTOR®.

FYI, all licensed Real Estate Agents working at are REALTORS®. The Company’s Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Values (which can be seen on our website) coincide with providing a high level of professional services.

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