Understanding the Differences in Real Estate Agents

When it comes to buying or selling a home, working with a real estate agent can make the process much easier, less stressful, and more comfortable all around.  However, not all real estate agents are the same.  In fact, there are different types of agents, each with unique qualifications and areas of expertise that may change how and who you choose to represent you.

In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between an agent with a real estate license, a REALTOR, and an Accredited Buyer’s Representative.

Licensed Real Estate Agent

The first type of agent is one who has a real estate license.  In order to obtain a license, an individual must complete pre-licensing education and pass a state exam.  Once licensed, the agent is authorized to work in the real estate industry and can legally represent clients in buying or selling properties.  All real estate agents must be licensed to conduct business legally in their respective states.

However, having a real estate license does not necessarily mean an agent has a wealth of knowledge or experience.  While a licensed agent can help clients navigate the buying or selling process, they may not have the same level of expertise as other types of agents.  It’s important to do your due diligence and research an agent’s qualifications, experience, and references before deciding to work with them.


A REALTOR is a licensed real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).  The organization has strict standards and a code of ethics that all members must abide by.  In addition, REALTORS have access to a wide range of educational resources and training opportunities to help them stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices.

By working with a REALTOR, clients can benefit from their in-depth knowledge of the local real estate market, as well as their connections to other industry professionals such as appraisers, home inspectors, and mortgage lenders.  REALTORS can also provide valuable guidance on pricing, marketing, and negotiating strategies.

Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR)

An Accredited Buyer’s Representative, or ABR, is a REALTOR who has completed specialized training in representing buyers in real estate transactions.  This designation is awarded by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC), which is an affiliate of NAR.

ABRs have a deep understanding of the home buying process and can provide valuable guidance to their clients every step of the way.  They are trained to help buyers identify their needs and priorities, search for suitable properties, negotiate offers, and navigate the closing process.  ABRs are also familiar with the latest technologies and tools used in the industry, which can help streamline the homebuying process.

How to Choose an Agent

When selecting a real estate agent, it’s important to choose someone who has the right qualifications and experience to meet your specific needs.  If you’re buying a home, you may want to consider working with an ABR who can provide specialized guidance throughout the process.  If you’re selling a home, you may want to look for a REALTOR with a proven track record of successful sales in your area.

It’s also a good idea to interview potential agents to get a sense of their communication style, availability, and overall approach to real estate.  This can help ensure that you find an agent who is a good fit for your personality and preferences.  Just as you would with hiring an employee or vetting someone in another line of work, ask for professional references and testimonials to make sure you’re getting the right representative.

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