Real Estate 101: What is a Realtor?

Real Estate Agent with Bramlett Residential

You might be surprised to know that that there is a difference between being a Realtor and a real estate agent.  Although the two terms are commonly used interchangeably, becoming a Realtor takes much more work, dedication, and education than becoming a real estate agent.  In addition, becoming a Realtor and maintaining this type of certification requires adhering to certain high standards that are not required to become a real estate agent.

Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Becoming a real estate agent is not necessarily an easy task.  After all, in order to legally work as a real estate agent, one has to complete several weeks of schooling and then successfully pass an examination.  In order to successfully pass the examination, you have to have a solid understanding of real estate laws and practices.  At the same time, successful completing of the coursework and passing the test really only tests the person’s knowledge but does nothing to test the person’s code of ethics.  This is what differentiates a Realtor from a real estate agent.

Becoming a Realtor

In order to become a Realtor, a person must first successfully complete the requirements to become a real estate agent.  Then, the agent must complete certain steps in order to become a member of the National Association of Realtors.  It is only at this time that the agent can properly be referred to as a Realtor.

For an agent to achieve this special designation, he or she must commit to treating all of the people involved with the purchase with fairness, which includes both the buyer and the seller.  In addition, members of the Association must adhere to a strict code of ethics.  This code includes agreeing to never mislead the buyer about the value of the home in order to secure a listing , to maintain confidentiality, and more.

Members of the National Association of Realtors are also more dedicated to education.  In fact, in order to maintain their membership, members of the Association are expected to maintain a greater knowledge of the selling and buying process than those that are not members.  Therefore, you can rest assured that the professional you work with will be highly knowledgeable about the buying and selling process as well as how to properly care for you and your needs.

Recognizing a Realtor

The easiest way to recognize whether or not a real estate agent is also a Realtor is to look for the Realtor logo, which is simple the capital R with a circle around it.  This logo will be displayed on the Realtor’s sales literature, business card, and other marketing materials. 

Aside from the logo, however, you will be able to recognize a Realtor by the exceptional level of service and knowledge that these agents bring with them.  Since most home purchases today exceed $100,000, you certainly want to have a professional on your side that you can trust to look out for your best interest throughout the home buying experience.


Eric Bramlett is the broker & co-owner of One Source Realty in Austin, Texas.  Eric currently manages his Austin Realtor website, his Austin Texas Realtor company's website, & his San Antonio Realtor  website. 


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