Whether you are interested in advancing in your career, making more money, or fulfilling your lifelong dream, becoming a real estate profssional and earning the mark of REALTOR® is a great choice. A REALTOR® stands out in the real estate industry by having a higher code of ethics and standard of conduct and benefits from expanding their sphere of influence and network.
What's the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR®?
Oftentimes, the terms 'real estate agent' and 'REALTOR®' are used interchangeably, however, they are not the same thing as there are a few differences between the two.
Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is anyone who has passed the real estate exam and has received a state-issued real estate license. After receiving a license, real estate agents are legally allowed to work with buyers and sellers in the transaction of commercial and/or residential real estate or real property.
To become a real estate agent, you must get a real estate license. First, you will need to complete a minimum number of courses from a state-approved real estate school and pass the real estate exam, which covers local, state, and national laws, contracts, and standards of practice.
Next, you will need to submit fingerprints and a background check. Finally, you will need to pay a licensing fee to your state's real estate commission. Rember, each state has different educational requirements and fees associated with licensing. Always check with your state's real estate commission if you are uncertain about the requirements or fees associated with receiving your license.
A REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®; and subscribes to its code of ethics.
Remember, all REALTORS® are real estate agents, however, not all real estate agents are REALTORS®.
Steps to Become a REALTOR®
What are the requirements to become a REALTOR®?
- You must have a valid and active real estate license
- You must be actively engaged in the real estate business
- You must not have a record of official sanctions involving unprofessional conduct
- You must not have filed for any recent or pending bankruptcy
Step 1: Obtain a Real Estate License
As stated above, the first step to becoming a REALTOR® is to obtain your license by fulfilling your state's educational requirements, passing the licensing exam, submitting fingerprints and a background check, and paying any associated licensing fees to your state's real estate commission. After receiving your license, you will need to "hang your hat" with a brokerage in your area. Learn more about the benefits of becoming a real estate agent.
Step 2: Join a Local Association
Next, you must join one of the National Association of REALTORS®'s (NAR's) local real estate associations. NAR has over 1,400 associations across the United States and you can find one online near you with NAR's Find an Association tool.
Please note, if you are a member of a brokerage as mentioned above, the principal (branch office manager, sole proprietor, firm partner, corporate officer, or majority shareholder) must first join an association before any non-principal (you or other employees) can join. If the principal does not join a local association, none of the other working employees in that firm can are eligible to become members.
Step 3: Pay a One-Time Application Fee
After the Board of Directors of your local association approves your and/or your brokerage's membership, you must pay a one-time application fee and any prorated membership fees. Application fees vary for each association.
Step 4: Pay Annual Membership Dues
Once you become a REALTOR®, you will need to pay an annual fee of $150 to remain an active member of your local association. The following information is provided by NAR on national dues for the 2020 and 2021 calendar year.
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® dues are $150 per member for 2020 and $150 per member for 2021. This amount is billed to all active REALTOR® and REALTOR® Associate members through their primary local association and is due and owing to NAR by Jan. 1. Brokers are also assessed NAR dues times the number of non-member salespersons, if any, in their office. National dues are pro-rated monthly for new members based on the join date.NAR Membership Dues Information
What Are the Benefits of Becoming a REALTOR®?
While becoming a REALTOR® is not required for you to have a successful career in real estate, there are many advantages that will help you stand out in your industry.
Becoming a member of the NAR provides you with a unique title and gravitas that many other agents do not possess. Additionally, you will be able to develop a lasting relationship with other agents, which can expand your sphere of influence and network and help you grow your business.
Real Estate Designations and Certifications
As a REALTOR®, you will have the ability to take additional classes that will allow you to receive highly sought-after real estate designations. These designations can help you become an expert in your niche and allow you to grow your business and increase your earnings and income potential. A list of some of the most popular certifications is as follows.
- Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) Designation
- Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)
- Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES®)
- Resort & Second-Home Markets (RSPS) Designation
Get more information and full view a list of Real Estate Designations and Certifications.
Written and Published by: VanEd