A:

Many people unfamiliar with the real estate industry use the terms real estate agent, broker and realtor interchangeably. There are differences between the three titles, however, the most important being the services each real estate professional offers to those in need of real estate services.

A real estate agent is a real estate professional who has taken and passed all required real estate classes and passed the real estate licensing exam in the state in which he or she intends to work. It is the most encompassing of the titles since it is the starting point for most real estate professionals. Agents are also referred to as real estate associates.

A realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). To become a member, a real estate agent has to agree to abide by the association's standards and uphold its code of ethics.

A real estate broker has continued his or her education past the real estate agent level and passed the real estate broker license exam. Real estate brokers can work as independent real estate agents or have other agents working for them.

The biggest distinction between the three is that a broker can work on his or her own, while an agent or associate has to work under a licensed broker. A hybrid position, referred to as a real estate associate broker, is an agent who is working toward achieving a broker's license. Associate brokers have to work under a licensed broker but many share in the brokerage profits above and beyond the typical agent commission.

RELATED FAQS
  1. How do real estate agents market themselves?

    Find an agent by checking popular real estate circulars featuring desirable neighborhoods and call the agent to ask questions ... Read Answer >>
  2. Do real estate agents get paid hourly or by salary?

    Learn about real estate commissions and how real estate agents, including listing agents, buyer's agents and real estate ... Read Answer >>
  3. How much money do real estate agents make?

    Learn about the salaries of top earners in the real estate industry and how factors, such as location, can raise or lower ... Read Answer >>
  4. How do real estate agents get listings?

    Learn about how real estate agents get listings in top real estate markets, as well as in smaller areas, through utilizing ... Read Answer >>
  5. How can I tell when a real estate agent might be lying to me?

    Find out what real estate agents are likely to lie about, the reasons for the lies and how to protect yourself from unscrupulous ... Read Answer >>
Related Articles
  1. Investing

    What Are The Differences Among A Real Estate Agent, A Broker And A Realtor?

    All three work in the real estate field, but there are differences between the job descriptions.
  2. Investing

    6 Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent

    Get a head start in the real estate business by following these six steps.
  3. Investing

    Commercial Real Estate Agent: Job Description & Average Salary

    Learn more about the qualifications, daily and regular responsibilities, and average yearly salaries of commercial real estate agents.
  4. Investing

    Commercial Real Estate Agent: Career Path & Qualifications

    Learn about the qualifications, skills and licensing requirements to be a commercial real estate agent and how to get started in this career path.
  5. Investing

    Would You Make A Good Real Estate Broker?

    How to tell if you'd be good in this field. It is a common second career for many people, but isn't a good match for everyone.
  6. Financial Advisor

    A Day In The Life Of A Real Estate Agent

    While every day is unique for a real estate agent, there are some activities that may be a typical part of an agent's day.
  7. Investing

    How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

    Here's how real estate commissions on home sales really work. And, yes, they're negotiable.
  8. Investing

    Becoming a Real Estate Agent Or Mortgage Broker

    Considering a career as either a real estate agent or a mortgage broker? Here are some factors that might help you choose between them.
  9. Investing

    Career Comparison: Real Estate Agent Or Mortgage Broker

    If you're considering one of these careers, this article is designed to help you make a logical choice between the two.
  10. Investing

    Top 5 Signs Of A Bad Real Estate Agent

    The signs of a bad agent go beyond whether your home sells quickly.
RELATED TERMS
  1. Real Estate Agent

    A person with a state/provincial license to represent a buyer ...
  2. Realtor

    A real estate professional who is a member of the National Association ...
  3. Broker's Open House

    An event designed to showcase one's home for sale to other real ...
  4. Listing Agreement

    A document in which a property owner (as principal) contracts ...
  5. For Sale By Owner - FSBO

    A method of selling property without the use of an agent or broker. ...
  6. Real Estate

    Land plus anything on it, including buildings and natural resources.
Hot Definitions
  1. Two And Twenty

    A type of compensation structure that hedge fund managers typically employ in which part of compensation is performance based. ...
  2. Market Capitalization

    The total dollar market value of all of a company's outstanding shares. Market capitalization is calculated by multiplying ...
  3. Expense Ratio

    A measure of what it costs an investment company to operate a mutual fund. An expense ratio is determined through an annual ...
  4. Mezzanine Financing

    A hybrid of debt and equity financing that is typically used to finance the expansion of existing companies. Mezzanine financing ...
  5. Long Run

    A period of time in which all factors of production and costs are variable. In the long run, firms are able to adjust all ...
  6. Quasi Contract

    A legal agreement created by the courts between two parties who did not have a previous obligation to each other. A normal ...
Trading Center