Those of us in the industry as licensed real estate professionals know the difference between the two, but does the public know? That is the question. And, do they really care? Studies show the answer is no. Let me start by saying as I type this article I am a member of the NAR but that really is because it is my company’s policy that I am to sell with them. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be.
So; what is a REALTOR®? A licensed real estate agent that is a member of a national association that pays yearly dues to say they are a realtor. So in short, it is just a made up word for an organization. Period. There are benefits as a real estate agent sometimes to be a member of the NAR (National Association of Realtors), but none for the clients. They would like you to believe there are by trying to convince the public it’s better practice to do business with an agent who is a member, but it’s my opinion it makes no difference.
What is a real estate agent? (as defined by wikipedia) a person or organization whose business is to market real estate on behalf of clients.
A licensed real estate agent who has gone through the schooling and training necessary to sell real property as defined by the governing body with which gave them their license.
In the state of South Carolina, the LLR or labor licensing board is the governing body that handles the issue of real estate for SC, and the laws pertaining to it.
Does it matter if someone is a realtor? NO. A real estate agent non-member is just as qualified to sell as a realtor.
So; next question? What makes a good real estate professional?
We must first go through the qualities that best describe the duties necessary to be a great real estate agent. Since, being a real estate agent is more or less just being your own business on behalf of your client, we need to lay out the qualities of a great business or business person.
1.) Marketing knowledge/experience
2.) Negotiation skills
4.) Hard work ethic
5.) People/personality management
6.) Technology knowledge
7.) Business experience
Granted, these are a bit generic, but they are the fundamentals nonetheless.
So I ask again, does being accredited by a made up organization created for profit really make you more qualified to sell real estate? No. In my opinion having business experience is much more important to me. You can go to real estate school, and take a one day class put on by the NAR and can be 18 years old with no professional or business experience whatsoever to be a member. Do you think that person is going to be better qualified then someone who has ran their own company, worked in some sort of professional environment for years? Most likely; not.
James Schiller is Charleston’s best Real Estate Agent