Often times, people use the term “Realtor®” and “real estate agent” interchangeably — even in the industry! There is a distinct difference, though, and it’s pretty straightforward.
A real estate agent simply refers to someone who is licensed as a real estate salesperson through their state. All states require licensed agents to take courses and pass an examination. Once you become a real estate agent, you are eligible to join the National Association of Realtors® and become a Realtor®.
Realtor® is a trademarked (and capitalized!) word reserved exclusively for members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). NAR is the largest trade association in the United States, and it requires an additional “Code of Ethics” for members to follow. It also requires that members be actively working in the industry and have no official sanctions for unprofessional conduct. The vast majority of real estate agents are Realtors®, including all EveryHome agents.