You may think they’re all the same, but each real estate professional plays a very different role.
It’s easy to get confused by the various job titles of real estate professionals, especially if you’re entering the market for the first time. While people tend to use the terms agents, brokers, and realtors interchangeably, there are importance differences that clients should be aware of before doing business with them. For example, it’s important to understand that the real estate industry is regulated by the state, meaning some qualifications may vary. The following titles are ones that you have probably heard of, but have never really been able to differentiate.
Real Estate Agent
Anyone who earns a real estate license classifies as an agent. State requirements vary, but obtaining a license typically involves the following: you must be at least 18 years of age, have completed a real estate course of a certain amount of hours, and passed an exam on basic real estate transactions and laws pertaining to the sale of property. Real estate agents are essentially licensed salespeople, not real estate brokers. A real estate agent must work for a broker, under their license, and is unable to work independently. While a real estate agent is typically the most visible person involved in a real estate transaction, they cannot legally broker the transaction.
A REALTOR® can also be a real estate broker or a real estate agent. Rather than being an occupation, a REALTOR® is simply a title that means the individual belongs to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), subscribes to the group’s code of ethics, and pays dues annually. Not every real estate agent or broker belongs to NAR. You’ll know if your agent or broker qualifies if you see the REALTOR® registered trademark on their business card, email signature, or advertising materials.
Real Estate Broker
In order to transition from being a real estate agent to a real estate broker, one must take a substantial amount of additional hours of broker-specific classes, pass an exam with state and national sections, and have actively worked as a real estate agent for a certain amount of time, depending on the state. Brokers can choose to work on their own or hire agents to work for them. They are responsible for their real estate agents’ actions. Brokers also finance the business and attract buyers and sellers to work with their agents.
Brokers also have more rights than agents, including the ability to do appraisals and manage others. They are responsible for ensuring that every real estate transaction is completed smoothly and effectively.
With more knowledge of the market, real estate brokers are typically more creative and aggressive during negotiations. That’s why No Limit Real Estate became a brokerage firm; we wanted to develop the expertise to go above and beyond with every client and every transaction. You might ask, “Why No Limit?” Find out for yourself.