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Real Estate Agent vs. Broker vs. Realtor: What’s the Difference?

Understanding Real Estate Professionals When buying or selling a home, a crucial first step is choosing the right professional to assist you. So, who should you consider hiring? In real estate, experts are known by titles such as agent, broker, or Realtor®. Although these titles may seem similar, they indeed have significant differences.

Real Estate Agent Explained What exactly is a real estate agent? They are licensed professionals dedicated to helping people buy, sell, or rent properties. To qualify as an agent, individuals must complete state-mandated education and successfully pass a licensing exam, which comprehensively covers both federal and state real estate laws.

Real Estate Broker Defined Moving a step further, a real estate broker advances beyond the agent’s education by passing a broker’s exam. This challenging exam delves into more complex topics, including ethics and property management. Brokers thus gain a deeper insight into the real estate industry. Additionally, they need to accumulate experience as an agent before they can qualify as a broker.

Types of Brokers There are three primary types of brokers, each with distinct responsibilities:

  1. Principal/Designated Broker: This broker leads a real estate firm and ensures that all agents operate in compliance with laws.
  2. Managing Broker: They oversee the everyday operations, manage agents, and handle administrative tasks.
  3. Associate Broker: An associate broker holds a broker’s license but works under the guidance of a managing broker.

What is a Realtor? A Realtor is a real estate agent who becomes a member of the National Association of Realtors®. By joining, they commit to a strict code of ethics and gain access to valuable resources like real estate market data.

Roles in Real Estate:

  1. Listing and Buyer’s Agents Listing Agent: This agent specializes in aiding home sellers with tasks like pricing, marketing, and negotiating deals.
  2. Buyer’s Agent: Conversely, buyer’s agents focus on assisting home buyers throughout the purchase process, typically receiving their payment from the seller.

Rental Agents: A Quick Overview Rental agents specialize in helping individuals find rental properties. Depending on the location, their roles can vary significantly. These agents guide clients in their rental journey and may also assist landlords in finding suitable tenants.

Choosing the Right Professional To find the ideal real estate professional, many people rely on recommendations or online searches. It’s beneficial to speak with at least three different agents to understand their suitability for your specific real estate needs.