Not every real estate agent or broker is a Realtor. That term and the familiar block "R" logo are trademarked by the National Association of Realtors can legally be used only by those that are Realtor members through their local association of Realtors.
While all Realtors are also state-issued licensees as agents or brokers, a major difference between a real estate licensee and a Realtor is that Realtors have taken an oath to subscribe to a stringent, enforceable Code of Ethics with Standards of Practice that promote the fair, ethical and honest treatment of all parties in a transaction. Real estate licensees (those that have a state-issued license but are not members of a Realtor association) are not bound to the ethical practices and principles set forth in the Realtor Code.
In addition, Realtor associations offer a wealth of training courses to their member Realtors, to help assure that Realtors serve their customers with the level of skill, knowledge and attention to detail required in today's real estate transaction. The continual training provided to Realtors underscores the importance of having help and guidance from someone who fully understands the process - a Realtor.
For peace of mind, ensure that the individual seeking to represent you in a real estate transaction is not just a real estate licensee, but also a Realtor.
Amy Fuchs - of FamilyHomesGa is a Realtor and affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. CBRB is one of the most ethical companies for several years running.