Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent: What is in a Name?


Did you know? Though the two are often used interchangeably, a real estate agent and a Realtor are, in fact, not the same thing! If you’ve seen these and a number of other real estate-related terms floating around and are feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. So, let’s get some clarity on the differences between the two.

Both a real estate agent and a Realtor have similar responsibilities in their jobs. They have gone through training, passed an exam, and earned licensed to help people sell, buy, or rent real estate in a specific state or states. 

However, real estate agents that are Realtors® have taken their training a step further. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) who have an excellent professional conduct record and vow to uphold ethical and educational standards set forth by the organization.

Realtors must adhere to NAR’s Code of Ethics & Professional Standards, which describes in detail the commitment its members must have to clients, the public, and other Realtors. They are also required to complete periodic training with NAR, and are held accountable if they do not adhere to the Code of Ethics.

According to the organization, about half of all real estate agents in the United States are certified Realtors.

What does this mean for you?

Realtors are expected to base their actions on the the Golden Rule—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

In short, a Realtor will first and foremost protect and promote your interests as a client. They also have an obligation to treat all parties honestly. “As Realtors, we’re held to a higher ethical standard to provide the best client experience,” says Amanda Butler, Broker-Realtor at Infinity Realty Group.

“And, because of the regular training,” says Cheryl Hazzard, Broker-Realtor at Infinity  Realty Group, “we are able to provide the best quality, most informed, and up-to-date information to our clients.”

There are 17 main articles outlined in the Code of Ethics. A Realtor must…

  1. Pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client.
  2. Avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts about a property or transaction.
  3. Cooperate with other brokers except when cooperation is not in the client’s best interest.
  4. Disclose in writing to the purchaser or purchasing agent if they are selling property they own or family members.
  5. Avoid providing professional services concerning a property or its value where they have interest without disclosing interest.
  6. Not accept any commission without the client’s knowledge and consent.
  7. Not accept compensation from more than one party without the informed consent of the Realtor’s client or clients.
  8. Keep client funds in a special account separate from the Realtor’s money.
  9. Ensure that all documents are in clear writing and each party receives copies of all signed documents.
  10. Not discriminate for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  11. Conform to the standards of practice and competence in only the services they are qualified to provide.
  12. Be honest and truthful in advertising, marketing, and other representations.
  13. Not practice law unless also a lawyer.
  14. Cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence honestly and as requested.
  15. Not talk poorly of other real estate professionals, their businesses, or their business practices.
  16. Not solicit another Realtor’s client.
  17. Submit matters to arbitration for settlement and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.

At Infinity Realty Group, all of our real estate professionals are certified Realtors. We are passionate about helping you reach your goals while keeping the process low-stress. 

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