Agent vs REALTOR®
People often use the terms REALTOR® and real estate agent interchangeably, but to do so is incorrect. There are differences between REALTORS® and real estate agents. They are not the same. Although both are licensed to sell real estate, the basic difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR® is a REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. As such, a REALTOR® must subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
But what does this mean to a consumer?
The Code of Ethics is strictly enforced. It contains 17 Articles and various underlying Standards of Practice. It is more than a list of rules that agents swear to uphold and adhere to. The Standards are much more restrictive and confining as to conduct than those governing agents who simply hold a real estate license. While there is no evidence nor guarantee that all REALTORS® are morally or ethically better than non-REALTORS®, it is an attempt by the industry to regulate and, as such, deserves recognition.