What is the Difference Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent

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Does it sometimes seem like everyone has an opinion on real estate? Naturally, they’re right and everybody else is wrong. With all this going on, who can you really trust for details on how the real estate industry is doing? Do you trust a real estate agent or a Realtor? What’s the difference anyway? Are Realtors the same worldwide or perhaps Realtor Vancouver is something else altogether? Let’s have a look.

What is the Difference Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent

Becoming a Real Estate Agent

  • Be part of a real estate brokerage
  • Pass local licensing exams

The main thing about becoming a real estate agent is to pass the local licensing exams. Every American state and every other country is slightly different. In Vancouver, though, the regulatory agency is the Real Estate Council of British Columbia.

In order to apply for a license, you must first be part of a real estate brokerage so that they can sign off on your application. Once licensed, they also expect you to keep developing yourself through various courses, as do most professional institutions. Assuming you pass their entry requirements, such as English proficiency amongst others, you’ll then be able to take the exam. This exam essentially covers laws and regulations about property and land as well as ethics and key business principles.

How to become a Realtor Vancouver

  • Be a real estate agent and part of a brokerage to apply and pass license exams
  • Become a member of the local Realtor association

The term “Realtor” is a trademarked name and means that you are part of an association. Once you have your real estate license as described above, any Realtor Vancouver professional can then apply for either a Residential or a Commercial Trading Services Applied Practice Course. Again, your real estate brokerage has to sign off on your application.

The final step for any Realtor Vancouver professional is to join their local real estate board. This then gives them membership to the BC Real Estate Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). For Vancouver, only members of CREA can call themselves Realtors.

A Realtor Vancouver professional gets access to listing services, ongoing education, and the latest industry statistics and business practices. However, a realtor is essentially held to higher legal and ethics standards. Of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t good and bad Realtors. In the same way that there are good and bad estate agents. As always when hiring a professional though, make sure you ask to speak to previous clients for a reference. You can also check their listings history for a sense of experience and focus.

Licensing and Ethics Overhaul

About 2 years ago, an overhaul of the Vancouver real estate industry began. Some of the resulting regulations are just coming into play this year and next year in 2021. The main driver behind these changes was to reduce money laundering. However, regulators were also keen to protect consumers from any possible conflict of interest with their Realtor Vancouver professionals or real estate agents.

Foreign investment has generally been pushing up the price of houses in Vancouver. Unfortunately, the challenges of 2020 caused prices to plummet. However, the summer months saw things come back pick up, with an interesting change in tastes and priorities. People now want greater spaces to allow for social distancing. Many are also moving out of the city because they can now work from home.

Other Terminology

At this point, it’s worth noting another term that you might come across: a real estate broker. The path to becoming a broker is very similar because they sit exams in order to get their license. The key difference is that a real estate agent is licensed to sell property. However, a broker is licensed to own a real estate firm with a team who sell property. Brokers can be agents but agents cannot be brokers without first passing the licensing exams.

A real estate broker is therefore more qualified and is usually someone with more experience. Not only can they sell property but they are also responsible for a team who sells property along with the extra laws and regulations attached to that. This of course doesn’t mean that you can’t find great real estate agents or Realtor Vancouver professionals. However, the broker they work under can also tell you a lot about their approach. A final important point to make is that a Realtor and a real estate agent cannot work independently of a real estate broker.

Parting thoughts on the Difference between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent

The same principles apply whether you’re in Vancouver or anywhere else in the world. The word Realtor is a trademarked name and means being a member of a real estate association. Realtors have passed an extra exam compared to real estate agents and they are held to higher standards. Either way though, both a Realtor and a real estate agent have to work under a brokerage.

What does this mean for you as an individual buying or selling property? Essentially, you can rest at ease that there are rules and regulations to protect you from any fraudulent activity or conflict of interest. Whether you are dealing with Realtor Vancouver professionals or worldwide agents, then you can demand transparency of prices and processes. It’s good news that you can rely on your real estate professional and get the best value for money.

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