Both of these terms get bandied around a lot, and they seem to be used interchangeably for the most part, which just isn’t correct! It’s a small distinction, but an important one nonetheless, and one that deserves recognition. Per Inman News:
Are the terms “real estate agent” and “Realtor” interchangeable? Those inside the industry know that they’re not, but they also know that it seems to be a bit of an industry secret — many consumers aren’t sure at all what the difference is between a real estate agent and a Realtor, or whether there even is one.
So what, then, is a real estate agent?
A real estate agent is anyone who is licensed to help people buy and sell commercial or residential property. The agent may do so as a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker.
Great! That sounds like what we all thought it would be, so then what is the difference between an agent and a realtor?
A Realtor is a trademarked term that refers to a real estate agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association in the United States.
As an active member of the NAR there are a variety of different things that set realtors apart from real estate agents, including a Code of Ethics and yearly dues.