Real estate agents and REALTORS® are both licensed to represent sellers and buyers in transactions. However, there are several differences between these two titles, the primary of which is that a real estate agent is only a REALTOR® if they are an active member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). They are expected to adhere to NAR's Code of Ethics, ensuring REALTORS® maintain certain standards when providing their services.
Some real estate agents and REALTORS® will work as independent contractors for brokerages that support the agent's business in exchange for a small percentage of their commissions. Often, the brokerage will help an agent by providing marketing materials, mentorship, and name recognition.
However, unless you're one of the few real estate agents that are viewed as a W-2 employee with your brokerage, you likely aren't being offered any kind of benefits package. If you're one of the many agents tasked with putting together your own benefits package, here's what you need to know about where to get benefits and why they're important for REALTORS®.
Where Can You Get Benefits as a Real Estate Agent?
There are several options for real estate agents to get benefits. While all of the options listed below can help you get the benefits you need, exploring NAR REALTOR Benefits® partnerships may be the best option for real estate agents who want to become members of the National Association of REALTORS®.
The REALTORS® Insurance Place
The National Association of REALTORS® provides members access to the REALTORS® Insurance Place, a proud partner of REALTOR Benefits®. This program can be especially beneficial for REALTORS® who have yet to obtain health insurance or other useful plans like dental or vision coverage.
The REALTORS® Insurance Place is an insurance shopping site only available to individuals who have joined NAR. The many health and wellness solutions that REALTORS® and their families can get through NAR include:
Health insurance marketplace
Supplemental health insurance
Auto and home insurance
Cyber liability insurance
Once you access the REALTORS® Insurance Place, you'll have the opportunity to compare different plans on the health exchange and obtain quotes from the ones that interest you. If you cannot find the right insurance plan to suit your needs, NAR also offers complimentary assistance that helps members find a plan that fits.
When you become a real estate agent, you may decide to join a broker or brokerage firm before you start representing buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. Keep in mind, however, that not all brokers offer employee benefits to the real estate agents that they hire. If you require employee benefits, search for a brokerage firm that provides these benefits. As you review different brokerages, ask about their benefits to better understand what you'll have access to when you commit.
A Spouse's Company
Getting benefits through your significant other's company may be an option if you're married. You may be able to take advantage of family or pregnancy leave or have access to medical, health, life, and dental insurance packages. Keep in mind that the employer usually determines which benefits to extend to an employee's spouse, so your options may be more limited than those offered to your significant other.
You should also know that these benefits often end if your spouse loses their job. For this reason, it's always smart to have a backup plan you can fall back on.
A Benefits Marketplace or Government Plan
The last option to get benefits as a real estate agent is via a benefits marketplace or a government plan. The health insurance marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act is available to any real estate agent. When you navigate to the Healthcare.gov website and create an account, you'll input your financial details and personal information, after which you'll be able to compare different health and dental plans to find the one that provides you with the benefits you need.
There is also a selection of government health plans that you can access, including Medicare, Medicaid, or VA plans (if you're a veteran or active military member). As for Medicaid, these benefits are designed for individuals who make a low or very low income and cannot afford insurance plans from the ACA marketplace. Medicare is mainly available to individuals who are at least 65 years old. However, younger people with disabilities may also qualify.
What Kind of Benefits Can REALTORS® Get?
Now that you know where to obtain benefits when working as a real estate agent, you should better understand these benefits and how they can help you lead a healthy lifestyle. Often the primary concern for people is health insurance, which can help cover the costs associated with going to a doctor, visiting the emergency room, filling prescriptions, and more, depending on the plan. However, the benefits you may need don't stop with health insurance. You may also want access to dental care, vision care, life insurance, and more.
You can use the REALTORS® Insurance Place to obtain quotes, compare various plans, and eventually apply for the benefits that best meet your needs. While being an NAR member gives you access to the REALTORS® Insurance Place, eligibility for various insurance plans depends on the plan and the state you live in.
When you explore NAR REALTOR Benefits®, you’ll find a robust roster of vetted business partners who’ve created custom products and services and exclusive member pricing designed to empower you to grow and thrive in your business. For example, you can take advantage of discounted pricing on rental cars for your upcoming business trip or snag a discount on your next laptop purchase. View the list of NAR REALTOR Benefits® partners to decide which benefits to use.
The Importance of Benefits for REALTORS®
Securing benefits as a REALTOR® can give you financial protection in the event of an illness or severe accident. For instance, fixing a broken leg can cost upwards of $7,500 in medical bills without insurance. With the right health insurance plan, you can lower these costs considerably.
More importantly, the right benefits package can give you peace of mind. NAR REALTOR Benefits® can help you rest easy, by providing you and your family with access to the REALTORS® Insurance Place. To learn more, simply connect with the REALTORS® Insurance Place team online or by phone to get started today.