July 04, 2020 at 3:25pm | Michael Nobo


REALTOR®... Real Estate Agent? - Don't They Mean the Same Thing?


Many people mistake the word REALTOR® and Real Estate Agent to mean the same thing however, this is incorrect.

It's kind of like calling all Sticky Notes, Post-it®. They are similar however, Post-it® is a trademarked brand; So are REALTORS®

While a REALTOR® and a Real Estate Agent can both help you buy a home or sell a home, there are important differences that separate the two. As someone looking to buy or sell a home, it is important that you know the difference before you decideabout who to hire to represent you.

Choosing the wrong one to represent you may mean difference between you getting access to the largest database of homes in your area, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), or not.

In this post, we are going to share with you the differences between REALTORS® and Real Estate Agents, so that you can make the choice on who to represent you when buying or selling your next home.

What is a REALTOR®?

REALTORAccording to the National Association for REALTORS® (NAR), a “REALTOR® is a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of REALTORS®, the largest trade group in the country”.

It’s important to know that not every Real Estate Agent is a REALTOR®. Joining the local and national NAR is an option a Real Estate Salesperson must make after they get licensed. 

If you're not sure where the Salesperson you're looking to represent you is a REALTOR®, the best thing to do is to ask the prospective agent if they’re a REALTOR® or to call your local NAR chapter and ask if a particular Salesperson is a member in good standing.

Unlike Real Estate Agents (Salespersons) who are not REALTORS®, “REALTORS® are held to a higher ethical standard than licensed agents and must adhere to a Code of Ethics. As a potential buyer and seller this is good to know because it ultimately provides you further protection and ensures you’re hiring a professional (NAR, 2014).


Are You Thinking About Buying a Home but Don't Know Where to Start?
Read Our 5-Step Beginners Guide and Get Started Today on Step 1
Click to Read the Guide

To sum this up, REALTORS® are Real Estate Agents however, not all Real Estate Agents are REALTORS®. When a Real Estate Agent chooses to become a REALTOR® they are making a choice to become a member of the NAR that holds them to higher professional standards than their non-REALTOR® Real Estate Agents.

The REALTOR® Code of Ethics is extensive and is designed with the protection of the public in mind i.e. you're our #1 Priority.

The Code of Ethics itself contains:
  • 17 Articles
  • 97 Standards of Practice
  • 3 Overarching Duties
The Code is robust, and REALTORS® generally do a great job hold each other accountable to it. This code is by far the biggest assurance you have as a consumer to the kind of representation you will receive when you hire a REALTOR®

What about Real Estate Agents?

Let us be clear up front...

We are not hating an real estate sales people that have chosen not be REALTORS®.

There are a lot of great agents out there who have a lot of value, have been working a long time, and even do their best to work as to Code of Ethics as possible.

With that said there are disadvantages to working with an Salesperson who are not REALTORS®.

Real Estate Agent Differences

The obvious is that Real Estate Salespersons do not follow the NAR's Code of Ethics. This is not to say that they are not ethical or don't have your best interests in mind however; there is a lot to say about work to a higher standard and a set of ideals.

We generally believe that a person who is following a code of ethics and upholds sound philosophical principles will work harder for you, and ensure that you get the what you need.

Now the surprising fact.

A Real Estate Salesperson who is not a REALTOR® does not have access to the MLS - or the largest database of homes for sale in the region.

I know... surprising right? Most people think that all real estate agents do however, this just isn't true.

So, if you're looking to buy a home and your real estate agent isn't a REALTOR® they're going to have to ask a REALTOR friend for help our use Zillow to look for homes. Which let's be honest - you can do that.


What Should You Do Next?


Hiring a REALTOR®, like those of us at Sharp Homes, is going to be your best bet to help you buy or sell your next home.

When you hire a REALTOR®, you're hiring a professional who is upheld to national Code of Ethics and that will generally work harder for you, keeping your best interests in mind.

You're hiring a person who has access to the MLS among other technology that many other real estate salespeople don't have because as a REALTORS®, we get steep discounts on technology to help our clients.

So - What should you do next?

Now that you know the difference between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR®, and you're thinking about buying a house, you should read our 5-Step Beginners guide to buying a home.

This guide will go over the 5 basic steps you will need to do to purchase a home.

HINT - You now know the 1st one.

To give that post a read click the big image below.

How to Buy a Kansas City House: A 5-Step Guide


Home buying is a difficult process, and it’s very easy to make costly and legal mistakes. This guide will walk you through the 5 steps of buying a home in detail.


If you’re reading this then there’s a good chance that you're considering hiring a REALTOR© to help you buy or sell your next home. We’d like to point you in the right direction should you be looking to buy a home.


If you’ve never bought a home before or it has been a while since you’ve last purchased a home you will want to read our Ultimate Home Buyer’s Guide and get acquainted once more with the process.



About Sharp Homes



Kansas City REALTORS



Sharp Homes is a full-service real estate agency located in the Kansas City Metro area, and brokered by eXp Realty, LLC.


We serve people who are looking to buy, sell or invest in a home for their future. We understand that this decision is an important, life altering decision.


It is easy to overpay or under sell your home.


We have streamlined and tested a process that has put us in the top 3% of all real estate agencies in the K.C Metro and starts with a no obligation buying/selling consultation.


After your consultation, you will have the confidence and knowledge you need to buy or sell your home.


Click HERE to arrange your consultation.

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