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REALTOR vs Real Estate Agent

Q - I often hear the term Realtor. Is there any difference between the term Realtor and real estate agent?

A - Yes, technically there is a difference but practically not so much.

The terms REALTOR, MLS, Multiple Listing Service and the associated logos are trademarks owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).  These trademarks are intended to identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.  This membership allows members to have access to the most complete and powerful listing service - the MLS System which is also financially supported by the membership.

It does not follow that all real estate agents are REALTORS.  If they do not belong to a real estate board that is a member of CREA, they are simply real estate agents and not REALTORS.  As such, they do not have access to the MLS Services.

In the United States, the comparable association is called The  National Association of Realtors (NAR) and operates in a similar manner.  NAR also has other well known designations which they sponsor.

There have been some challenges in both countries regarding this kind of exclusivity held by CREA and NAR.  The issues have not yet been totally resolved and continue to be addressed in courts of law.  Both CREA and NAR are highly involved in lobbying their respective governments on behalf of their agents and brokers.

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