What is the difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent?: Episode #305

The difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent.

Hello. Welcome to Todd Miller TV. The topic today is what is the difference between a realtor and a real estate agent? You probably have seen the two words used interchangeably. And so, I’m going to go through and explain it. OK.

So a long time ago, actually like almost a hundred years ago, states decided that people who are helping other people in real estate purchases should have a license. They should go through some minimal training to understand the whole process and be licensed by the state to do that because this was a very big deal at the time.

So the states that you had to get a real estate license to become a real estate agent and represent a person in the sale, you had to get a state license. That’s the based level. OK.

Now, later on, people realized that we needed a professional organization to sort of have the ethical code of conduct for real estate agents. So, the realtor which is the professional association was born and all the states adapted them and of course, even Canada has realtors. And so, a realtor is a real estate agent. So you have a real estate agent here and then you have a realtor who has to be a real estate agent to be a realtor. So you can’t be a realtor unless you’re a real estate agent.

Now, everyone is not a realtor. Here are some examples of people who are not realtors. If you go into a new home subdivision, a lot of times those people are real estate salespersons but they’re not always realtors. Some of them are – if they’re a brokerage house that’s running the subdivision but usually, they’re not. Typically, they’re not. A lot of commercial agents, they’re not realtors. OK?

Realtors have been predominantly for residential homes. So, you can be a real estate agent without being a realtor. But you can’t be a realtor without being a real estate agent. You’re probably saying, “Well, why do I need a realtor like can I – is it different if I list my home with a real estate agent?” You can list your home with a real estate agent but a real estate agent who’s not a realtor doesn’t have access to the MLS. You have to – the MLS is only for realtors. It’s a system that we came up with as realtors that we use to cooperate with each other. And we only cooperate with other realtors. So if a real estate agent can’t list a home and go put it in the MLS, they don’t have access to it so they don’t have any way to share it with realtors.

Some people say this is anti-trust, that it’s not fair. No. I mean there are thousands of ways you can get – you can market your home. This is just one system. This is just one MLS. It just happens to be kind of widely adapted.

Other difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent

A couple other differences between a realtor and a real estate agent, real estate agent is only bound by state law and whatever the licensing of the state law says. A realtor has a much higher code of ethics. There is a very thick book, that’s a code of ethics manual that talks about all the extra things that we have to do as realtors for our clients as far as being fair and protections and disclosures and things. A real estate agent doesn’t – isn’t bound by those things.

So if you have a real estate agent and you think they’re doing something unethical, you can turn them into the state but if the state says, “Well, they’re not violating any license law.” That’s it. But if you don’t like what they’re doing and they’re realtor, you can turn them into the real estate – the board of realtors and then there are higher code of ethics for that.

So I just thought I’d share that, the difference between a realtor and a real estate agent. Here in Las Vegas, probably two thirds of our real estate licensees are realtors. The other third are just real estate agents. So of course, we’re realtors. Everyone in our company is a realtor. They have to be. It can’t be a realtor company without also being a realtor. And it’s like that in Las Vegas. It’s like that in a lot of other places as well.

I thought I would share the difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent. That’s my update for today and hope to see you on another video. Thanks.