Realtors and real estate agents both sell and buy property, yet there are some major differences. As a customer, it is in your best interests to educate yourself on these differences. The following will get you started:
Realtors are licensed sellers and buyers of property who have membership rights and privileges in a national organization. This organization is known as NAR, or the National Association of Realtors. The most striking fact about realtors who are members of NAR is that they do not have to be real estate agents or real estate brokers. Any property owners who own more than one property, landlords, etc., can apply for membership.
Additionally, realtors do not have to work for any agency or property brokerage. They can act independently of such businesses and make sales and deals entirely on their own and without company approval because they are their own individual businesses. If you have someone offer to sell your house in six months or they will buy it from you free and clear, chances are that you are dealing with a realtor.
Real Estate Agents
Real estate agents may be members of NAR, making them realtors as well. However, many real estate agents tend to work for real estate agencies and not, very often, for themselves. Real estate agents are also required to take courses in buying and selling a property, and property laws and contracts before they can receive a license.
If you walk into a real estate agency, you will work with an agent. If your agent is fired or unavailable, the agency can send another agent in place of the first agent. That does not happen when you work with a realtor. You start working with one person, and keep that realtor until your property is sold, you make a purchase, or you fire the realtor.
So, Which Do You Hire?
Realtors get a cut of the sale, as do real estate agents. However, agents have to share their cut with others in the agency. The cut of a sale for a realtor is often less, because he/she does not have to "share the spoils." Professionalism is usually equal, since both realtors and real estate agents want to appear as professional as possible. It really boils down to what you want and expect from a property buyer/seller and how well-connected a realtor is in comparison to a real estate agent.
Contact a company like Legacy Realty Group for more information and assistance.