What is the difference between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor? This is one of the biggest misconceptions in Real Estate among our clientele.
Here is the simple answer:
A Realtor is always a real estate agent, but a real estate agent is not always a Realtor.
Here is the long(er) version:
A Real estate agent is a state licensed professional whose job is to procure the sale of real property. They acquire sellers who want to sell their property, market & advertise (or find a buyer the perfect home once their finances are in order and they know what their needs are) and then negotiate. Ensure all the necessary steps and measures are fulfilled before finally handing over the keys at closing.
They have to take a 75 hour course, pass a state exam, a background check (no ex-felons allowed!), and then find a broker (A.K.A. company) to “hold” their license. Then they must fulfill continuing education every 2 years.
A Realtor does all of that and then some & with better resources. A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and will belong to a local board where multiple Realtors share listing information, data, educational resources and more, they pay fees for these services. (Ours is the Mohawk Valley Association of Realtors)
They also have the ability to earn additional designations. Such as MRP (Military Relocation), ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), SRS (Seller Representative Specialist), and others.
Realtors have a strict code of ethics they must adhere to. If they are found to be negligent or malicious towards a client or another Realtor they can be banned from the association and even loose their license or go to jail depending on the situation.
They help support lobbyist groups that work towards protecting your rights and interests as home owners and property owners. In fact, here is a link to the NYSAR (New York State Association of Realtors) Legislative action web page NYSAR Legislative Action Center