Why use a Realtor and not a Real estate agent? Here is why.
Both can be qualifed and good. But the National Association of Realtors is a strong property lobby. You as a home owner have a lobbist in Washington fighting for your property rights. Being a Realtor means that I pay dues from my earnings. Those dues in part go to fighting for your property rights.
Yes we have additional traing and a code which places us on a higher standard of ethics. but a Real estate agent can be equally ethical and take the time to get training. In one case you know a Realtor must do these things. In the other you hope that the agent does these things.
I think one big reason you as a property owner should weigh when choosing a real estate professional is the fact that Realtor money goes directly into efforts and supports legislation that directly supports you. A recent example is NAR's stand and voice in opposing the end of the home mortgage tax exemption. If you are a home owner this has a direct effect on your wallet.
So if you are thinking about buying or selling ask your real estate professional, "Are you a Realtor?" If they are then you know that the person you are dealing with has paid out of their pocket to support your rights as a proerty owner and has earned your business.