The terms "real estate agent" and "Realtor®" are sometimes used interchangeably, but it's important to understand that there are some major differences between the two. Namely, all Realtors® are real estate agents--but not all real estate agents are licensed Realtors®. While both types of real estate professionals can guide you through the journey of buying a home, there are a few compelling reasons to work with a Realtor® as opposed to a traditional agent.
They've Put in Their Hours
Technically, a Realtor® is classified as a real estate agent who is also a part o the National Association of Realtors (NAR), which was founded more than 100 years ago. This organization sets forth strict requirements when it comes to licensing, with exact rules varying a bit by state. In most cases, however, an agent is required to complete between 30 and 90 classroom hours from an approved educational institution and pass an exam before being licensed. In some cases, continuing education in the form of regular workshops and classes may also be required every couple of years to keep one's Realtor® license.
They Have a Code of Ethics
As part of their licensing, Realtors® must also adhere to a strict code of ethics that focuses on keeping your best interests in mind at every stage of the home-buying or selling process. Every licensed Realtor® has taken a training course on this code of ethics, with some key components of this code including the responsibility to treat all clients fairly and to never mislead or withhold information as part of a real estate transaction. Knowing that your Realtor® is familiar with this code of ethics and uses them to govern his or her professional decisions can give you some much-needed peace of mind as you buy a home.
They Have Connections
As part of the nation's largest professional organization, Realtors® may also have professional connections that can assist you in your home-buying process. If you need a recommendation for an appraiser, a home inspector, or even a handyman to assist you with repairs/improvements, your Realtor® can probably help you out. This can save you a lot of time and hassle during a time when you're already quite busy!
With so much to offer, a Realtor® is your best bet for helping you buy a home. Begin reaching out to local Realtors® today and consider setting up a few interviews to find the one that's right for you!