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Are REALTORS® and Real Estate Agents the same?

Is there power in the ®?

There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right person to represent you in your real estate transaction. You want someone who will act in your best interest every step of the way. So, does the title really matter? What’s the difference between a REALTOR® and a Real Estate Agent?

REALTOR vs. Real Estate Agent — What's the difference?

Real Estate Agent

Everyone who holds a license to represent a homebuyer or seller in a real estate transaction is a Real Estate Agent. With this, they have gone through an instruction, certification and licensing process as well as a security process with background checks. They hold proper licensing and needed insurance to protect both the Agent and everyone else involved. Whether you work with a Real Estate Agent or a REALTOR®, you'll want to make sure they are properly licensed as a Real Estate Agent (or Broker).


A REALTOR® is a Real Estate Agent, a Broker-Associate, a Managing Broker or an exclusive Buyer's Agent, that’s a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As a member of NAR, they pay yearly dues and follow the Association’s Code of Ethics.

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics contains 17 Articles that are strictly enforced. Each article outlines proper conduct and assures your REALTOR® will protect you (the client), the public, other REALTORS®, and anyone else involved in the transaction. A REALTOR® is held to a higher standard. You can see the entire REALTOR® Code of Ethics, the 17 things REALTORS® promise to uphold here.

REALTORS® who are members of the NAR also have access to benefits, tools, market data, educational opportunities, and more that is not available to unaffiliated Real Estate Agents.

Do the titles matter for REALTORS and Real Estate Agents?

There are about 3 million active Real Estate Agents (Arello) and roughly 1.6 million NAR Members, which means about 1/2 of Agents are REALTORS. (NAR)

What does that mean for me?

Finding the right Agent for you is vital to your success when buying or selling a home. Now that you are armed with more information about the differences between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR® — you can make a more educated decision about what matters most to you in the Agent you hire to represent your best interests. Ensuring you have an experienced, responsive and dedicated professional at your side every step of the way is the most crucial trait to ensure the best experience.

If you need help finding a fantastic Agent in your local area, Nestiny can help. We connect awesome homebuyers and sellers to awesome agents everyday here!

Want more advice about all things home — including homebuying or selling advice? Nestiny is a great place for homebuyer education and to help you gauge how ready you are to buy a home. Journey Homeward allows you to enter all your wants and needs while the True Affordability Tool will break down your budget, showing what you can comfortably afford. You will also receive a Ready Report that will give you a vital head start in the home buying journey, saving you valuable time and money.

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