The license for all sales agents is exactly the same. Realtor is a more specific term to mean that you have joined the national and local association of Realtors and subscribe to their 'higher standard of ethics.
In general, I would generally trust a Realtor a bit more....but there are exceptions to every rule. There are some very legitimate agents who for their own reasons chose not to join the association.
Work with whomever you feel you can trust, communicate with and work with most easily.
To be a REALTOR, an agent must affiliate themselves with a REALTOR association. Usually there are 3 levels to REALTOR associations, National, State, and Local levels. An agent can be affiliated with one or all levels to be called a REALTOR. Not all agents are REALTORS, only agents that have affiliated themselves with one or all levels of a REALTOR association, and most real estate agents are affiliated with a REALTOR association.
Also, whom do I make a complaint to regarding the questionable ethics of an Agent since this individual clearly is a "wrangler' who abides by no rules and does what he/she wants. He/She does work out of a local Real Estate Office, so is she sharing (illegal) access to the MLS by using someone else's license to view the MLS Listings? And is the Manager/Owner of this Office liable for her possible violations of the Ethics Codes and possible violations of her License since she uses his office phones, his secretaries and his abilities/and other Agents' abilities to view the MLS to generate $$$ for herself and not paying to be a member of the N.A.R.?
Seems unethical in may ways to be allowed to view the MLS and be in an office where there are Realtors, yet she does not have to pay or belong to the N.A.R. since she can view and profit from the MLS anyway. So don't you have a lobbying group against this kind of misuse?
A REALTOR is a member of the National Association of Realtors and has agreed to adhere to a strict code of ethics in regards to representing home sellers and home buyers. By this agreement they are allowed access to the MLS and to collaborate with other agents who also utilize the MLS.
There is a clear and distinct difference.
Depending on your intentions, one may be more appropriate than the other. One group has a group of professionals who knowingly adhere to clearly defined set of expectations, the other are wranglers who exist in the shadows of the main stream of real estate.
Then there are those who have a Brokers license.
Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL