In the face-off between REALTORS® and real estate agents why should home buyers and home sellers care? Is there an actual advantage in choosing a REALTOR® over a real estate agent to handle your home purchase or home sale? REALTORS® say yes. Real estate agents say it's all a matter of semantics.
The majority of home buyers and home sellers seem to agree, treating the two terms synonymously, a practice that makes REALTORS® cringe. REALTORS® pay a premium in time, energy, education and fees to earn the right to place the registered REALTOR® trademark before their names. In several recent posts we've discussed the technical differences between REALTORS® and real estate agents and the level of professionalism subscribed to by members of the National Association of REALTORS® which is the self-governing industry organization that bestows the designation of "REALTOR®" on its members. But despite internal industry distinctions, is there a real difference to the consumer between REALTORS® and real estate agents that offers a practical advantage in choosing one over the other?
Perhaps. REALTORS® do offer a guaranteed level of professionalism and expertise that can be very important in ensuring that all the "i's" are dotted and "t's" crossed so that your home sale or purchase goes through without a hitch. REALTORS® subscribe to a Code of Ethics that generally guarantees consumers of fair and equal treatment. REALTORS® are required to complete annual continuing education courses, ensuring that they stay up-to-date on real estate laws and practices. REALTORS® have access to regional and nationwide multi-listing services that vastly expands a buyer's housing options and a seller's marketing audience.
But. While these services are important, 90% of the consumer's satisfaction with his home buying or home selling experience will center on his relationship with his real estate agent, whether that individual is a REALTOR® or agent. Many real estate agents are dynamite people with superior sales skills who go the extra mile for their customers. Many of those without REALTOR® status choose to work in offices owned and operated by REALTORS® so they can offer their customers the many advantages REALTORS® bring to the table. Best advice for home buyers and home sellers? Seek the best of both worlds. Choose an enthusiastic agent who knows the market and has a proven closing record and who is a REALTOR® or is associated with a REALTOR®.