Real Estate Agent vs. REALTOR® : What’s the difference?

Real Estate Agent vs. REALTOR® : What’s the difference?

When it comes to navigating the world of real estate, two terms that often surface are "Real Estate Agent" and "REALTOR®." While they may sound similar, there are distinct differences between these roles that can impact your buying or selling experience.

Real Estate Agent:

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who has completed the necessary coursework and passed a state exam to obtain their license. Agents are well-versed in local real estate laws, regulations, and market trends. They act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, helping clients through property transactions.

Agents can work in various areas of real estate, including residential, commercial, or industrial properties. They assist clients in listing properties for sale, finding suitable properties for purchase, negotiating deals, and facilitating the closing process. Their goal is to ensure a smooth transaction for their clients while representing their best interests.


On the other hand, a REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Being a REALTOR® is a professional designation that sets these agents apart due to their commitment to a strict code of ethics and standards of practice. The NAR's Code of Ethics outlines professional responsibilities and conduct, emphasizing honesty, integrity, and fair treatment of all parties involved in a transaction.

By becoming a member of the NAR, a real estate agent gains access to valuable resources, continuing education opportunities, and a network of professionals within the industry. This membership also signifies a dedication to professionalism and ongoing education in the field of real estate.

Key Differences:

  1. Code of Ethics: The primary difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR® is the latter's commitment to adhere to the NAR's Code of Ethics and professional standards. This distinction reflects a higher level of accountability and integrity in their practice.

  2. Membership Benefits: REALTORS® have access to a broader network of industry professionals, updated market information, specialized training, and resources that can enhance their ability to serve clients effectively.

  3. Designation: While all REALTORS® are real estate agents, not all real estate agents are REALTORS®. The term "REALTOR®" is a trademarked title reserved for members of the National Association of REALTORS®.

In summary, while both real estate agents and REALTORS® are licensed professionals capable of assisting clients in property transactions, the distinction lies in the commitment to ethics, standards, and ongoing professional development that come with being a REALTOR®.

Whether you're buying or selling a property, understanding these differences can help you choose the right professional to guide you through the complexities of the real estate market.

Pia Liberty | Liberty Realty
REALTOR®,  ABR® (The Accredited Buyer's Representative)
RE/MAX River City

Copyright 2024 by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. All Rights Reserved.
Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.
The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.