Many people who are not in the real estate business can’t really make a clear distinction between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR®. Most of the people who know some basic facts might tell you that all Real Estate Agents are REALTORS® and all REALTORS® are Real Estate Agents and can’t give an explanation why they should be called differently.
So, basically, the general opinion that REALTORS® and Real Estate Agents are one and the same thing is WRONG.
What is true is that most Real Estate Agents are REALTORS®, so, it’s not wrong to use both terms interchangeably in the professional world of real estate and only by professionals.
However, the difference between the two terms is huge and important.
A Real Estate Agent is a person that has received a license by the state or province to work with real estate deals for paid commissions.
On the other hand, a REALTOR® is an individual who is given a REALTOR® license by the members of the Canadian Real Estate Association, also known as CREA.
Furthermore, their membership in CREA gives REALTORS® an open access to extremely important MLS® database system which holds all types of property listings that are currently active on the market. Only REALTORS® have the right to list properties on MLS® systems of their local real estate boards.
Finally, a REALTOR® is required to stick to a strict code of ethics established by CREA and work primarily for fulfilling the needs of their clients.