Difference between a real estate agent and a realtor.

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Difference between a real estate agent and a realtor.


It is common to find the name real estate agent and realtor being used interchangeably, but the reality is that the two jobs are different. Not every real estate agent is a realtor and vice versa. They, however, both need to be licensed to sell real estate and the main difference between them is that realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors.

 A realtor’s scope of work is bigger because he can be a real estate agent, a broker, a buyer’s agent amongst other jobs. Realtors must abide by a code of ethics and generally earn more than real estate agents.


Both real estate agents and realtors have a similar set of responsibilities, which is to sell and purchase properties and homes. The only difference really comes down to the fact that realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors and must follow a code of ethics.

The realtor code of ethics.

The code of ethics was adopted in 1913 and is strictly enforced by real estate boards. There are underlying standards of practice that realtors must abide by, and they can be very restrictive and confining.  The whole idea behind the code of ethics was an attempt by the industry to regulate the actions of industry players. The most outstanding article in the seventeen articles is that a realtor must be honest. The realtor also pledges to put the interests of the other party’s ahead of their own and treat them honestly.

The realtor must refrain from misrepresenting facts and has an obligation to disclose all the information even when the situation is dire. The realtor should also co-operate with other industry players for example brokers and agents when it is the best interests of the client to do so. This is especially important where there are big commissions and there could be levels of undercutting from the players.

They also have to disclose whether they are representing family members or whether they are about to buy real estate or if they own real estate.

 They should also not collect any commission or accept any fees without the seller’s consent. All parties to a transaction should know about it and give consent to everything. They will not use the client’s money for any of their businesses or co-mingle it with their own.

 All the business transactions should not discriminate anyone on any basis whether religious. sexual, race among others.

 The Realtors must also realize their limitations with regard to their and not offer services outside of their qualifications. All their advertising and marketing must be truthful.

 Unless they are lawyers, they will not practice law nor refuse to co-operate if there are any charges brought against them. They have a right to present evidence that could be used in their favor.  The parties should also be agreeable to arbitration to settle any disputes and avoid seeking help from the judicial system.

 There has to be integrity in their practices by not badmouthing the competition, fighting or filing complaints that have no foundation. They should not solicit for another realtor’s client nor interfere in any relationship that is contractual.