difference between realtor, agent, broker

Back To Real Estate Basics: Difference Between A Broker, Realtor, And Agent

March 6, 2017 in Real Estate

If you are a novice to the real estate industry, the job titles for relevant real estate professionals may confuse you.  Mostly, these terms are used interchangeably, but there are certain differences between these roles and their requirements.  Let us figure out what actually does an agent, realtor or broker mean.

  • Real Estate Broker: Someone who has obtained the broker’s license, and has educational qualifications higher than that of an agent is a broker. He can either hire agents to work under him or he can choose to work alone. An associate broker works under the guidance of a lead broker.
  • Real Estate Agent: Anyone with a real estate license; be it as a broker, associate broker or sales professional can be called as an agent. You must attend classes and pass the license test to be a real estate agent; however, conditions can vary depending upon the state. Sales associate is just another name for an agent.
  • Realtor: An agent who is also a member of National Association of Realtors, will be able to use this job title. This implies he/she has to abide by a certain code of ethics and must endorse the standards of the association.

Possible Work Flow Between the Broker and the Agent

It is usually a higher likelihood that you are working with a real estate agent, but many brokers also offer services for home sellers and buyers themselves. So practically, if you hire an agent to make the deal for you, he is most likely to report the case to a broker. The broker creates the escrow account and handles the initial money deposit.

Real estate agents are answerable to the client, as well as the broker for his actions. In rare cases do real estate transactions face glitches, but in case it happens, the broker steps in to solve the issue. If you are unsatisfied by the agent’s service, you can escalate the matter to the broker and ask him for resolving the problem or to suggest an alternative.

Difference in Educational Qualification and Professional Experience

Educational requirements for being a broker are higher than that of a real estate salesperson. They need to attend real estate classes, and pass the state as well as national level exam. In addition to that, he/she must have actively worked as an agent for a period of 3-4 years.

When you are looking for a real estate professional to work with, it’s a good choice to work with realtors, who are committed to uphold the norms of an organization and maintain the ethics of the real estate business. No matter who you choose to work with, always take out time to do a little background research, and ask the candidate for references.

In fact, ten minutes of intense questioning can give you a real picture about the person you are looking to hire. If you are considering someone inexperienced, make sure to ask the supervising broker for the meeting as well, so that you are confirmed that someone experienced is able to vouch for the real estate contact you will be working with.

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