Real Estate Agent VS. REALTOR®: What’s The Difference?

Lori Ballen, the owner of this website, benefits from purchases made through her affiliate links.


It’s important to understand the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent that has received a particular designation and has joined the National Association of REALTORS®.

A REALTOR® has agreed to follow the rules of its association, undergo additional education, and agree to abide by a strict code of ethics. They also are committed to ongoing continuing education.

A real estate agent is not bound to the NAR code of ethics.

Does this mean that any real estate agent is not a REALTOR®? Not necessarily. When you ask for ‘the name of my REALTOR®,’ it could be one of two things: 1) it could be a REALTOR®, or 2) it could be an individual who has not received the designation of REALTOR® but is licensed to sell real estate.

If your agent does not have the ‘REALTOR®’ designation then he/she is an individual, and not a member of NAR. Some states do not require individuals to belong to a local MLS, but they are required to be licensed. In Nevada, an individual agent must join the local MLS in order to sell real estate or get paid for referring buyers and sellers.

So if your REALTOR® is not a NAR member and does not have the ‘REALTOR®’ designation, then a.) you need to ask your agent if he is a NAR member and b.) find out which association or MLS he belongs to.

If an agent does not belong to any association, or local MLS, then ask why. The National Association of REALTORS® has been licensed by the U.S. government since 1912 and is the only national trade association for real estate professionals.

All of the agents that work on the Lori Ballen Team in Las Vegas wear their REALTOR® status proudly. We attend continuing education and are bound by the NAR Code of Ethics.

You can feel confident with your choice of real estate agents when you call 702-604-7739 to buy or sell a home in Las Vegas, Henderson, or North Las Vegas.

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