REALTOR® showing house

One of the things we recommend home buyers and sellers pay close attention to when interviewing a real estate professional to handle their transaction is whether or not the professional they are speaking with is an actual REALTOR®.

The fact is, many people, both inside and outside the industry, use the terms “real estate agent” and “REALTOR®” interchangeably. What those IN the industry are relying on, though, is that the consumer doesn’t really know the difference – and that one is just as good as the other. After all, they both just help you buy and sell real estate. Right?


While they’re both licensed to sell real estate, the names each refer to a specific type of real estate professional, and there are notable distinctions between the two.

What Is a Real Estate Agent?
A real estate agent is anyone who is licensed by your state/county/city to help people buy and sell property (both residential and commercial). They may be a sales professional, an associate broker, or a broker themselves. In Nevada, becoming a Real Estate Agent simply requires completing 90 hours of pre-licensing education, then passing the Nevada Real Estate Division exam. This exam covers national, state, and local real estate law, standards and practices, and also requires continuing education to renew licensing fees.

What is a REALTOR®?
First, “REALTOR®” is a trademarked term that refers to an agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). (Fun fact: This is the largest trade association in the United States.)

Second, to join the NAR, it requires joining one of 1,400 local NAR real estate associations, an application fee, and approval by the Board of Directors.

BUT… the requirements to join the NAR are very specific:

• Agents must hold a valid real estate license
• They must be actively engaged in the real estate business
• Can have no records of official sanctions involving unprofessional conduct
• Not have a recent or pending bankruptcy
• Must adhere to the NAR’s Code of Ethics

At first glance, these may not seem like the strictest of standards, but they do whittle down the field to those who are wholly dedicated to the industry. The truth is a large percentage of ‘real estate licensees’ in any given state are not full-time agents. Many dabble with real estate on the side, list homes only for friends and relatives, discovered that they’re not really the right fit for the industry – but they’ve put in the time and paid the license fee, so they’re keeping it active ‘just in case.’ To put it mildly, these are not the type of people you want to handle the purchase or sale of your home – your most important and personal investment. So those first two bullet points are very important.

The next whittling down eliminates those who have ever been involved in unethical, illegal, or even just shady real estate transactions. (These requirements are starting to sound a little more important now, aren’t they?)

And while hard times (such as bankruptcy) can hit people unexpectedly (which we certainly saw by the boatload when the economy crashed in 2008) – knowing that your real estate professional is not driven by financial hardship can also give you, as a client, some peace of mind that they are acting in your best interests at all times.

Finally, the NAR’s Code of Ethics is what separates REALTORS® from non-member real estate agents. It outlines the agent’s duties to clients, customers, the public, and other REALTORS®.

These five requirements are the reason many serious real estate professionals choose to become REALTORS® – as it verifies the expectation consumers have (or should have) that they are working with an agent who has sworn to treat all parties fairly and honestly.

And now – you know what it means when you see the title of REALTOR® in advertisements or marketing materials for those in the real estate industry. As REALTORS® at New Home Resource, it insures that all of our agents are dedicated to performing honestly, ethically, and legally on behalf of every client we serve. Give us a call – we’d love to explain to you how we do it!

New Home Resource helps current and future homeowners with all of their Las Vegas real estate needs. Whether your preference is for property management, a newly built home from a local builder, or a resale property in just the right location, a New Home Resource Realtor® is here to provide the service you’re looking for. Please contact a New Home Resource Realtor® today at 702-365-1000 or visit Broker Joanna Piette, and agents Denise Thrasher, Jessica O’Brien, Evelyn ‘Beng’ Kern, Kathy Paterniti and Heidi Colón are all here to help!