What is a Real Estate Broker vs Agent vs Realtor?

May 24, 2024 | Real Estate

In the dynamic world of real estate, the terms “broker”, “agent” and “realtor” are often used interchangeably, but they represent distinct roles with unique responsibilities and qualifications. Understanding the differences between these professions is crucial for anyone considering a career in real estate or looking to engage a professional for buying or selling property.

What is a Real Estate Broker?

A real estate broker is a professional who has obtained a higher level of education and licensing beyond that of a real estate agent. Brokers are licensed to manage their own real estate businesses, and they can work independently or hire other real estate agents to work under them.

What Are the Different Types of Real Estate Brokers?

Real estate brokers can be categorized into three main types:

  1. Principal Brokers: Also known as managing brokers, these individuals own the brokerage firm and are responsible for the overall operations, compliance with state laws, and supervision of all real estate agents within the firm.
  2. Associate Brokers: These brokers have the same qualifications as principal brokers but choose to work under another broker. They do not own their own brokerage but have the option to do so if they wish.
  3. Broker-Salespersons: These are brokers who act in a sales capacity, similar to agents, but have met the qualifications of a broker.

How Do Real Estate Brokers Get Paid?

Real estate brokers typically earn income through commissions on property transactions. When a property is sold, the commission is divided between the listing and selling brokers, and subsequently shared with the agents involved in the transaction. The exact commission structure can vary depending on the brokerage and the specific agreement between brokers and their agents.

Why Become a Real Estate Broker?

Becoming a real estate broker offers several advantages:

  • Increased Earning Potential: Brokers generally earn higher commissions than agents.
  • Independence: Brokers can operate their own firms and make strategic business decisions.
  • Career Advancement: The broker license represents a higher level of expertise and can open doors to more significant opportunities within the real estate industry.

How to Become a Real Estate Broker

  1. Gain Experience: Most states require agents to have a certain amount of experience before becoming eligible to become a broker.
  2. Complete Essential Education: Prospective brokers must complete additional essential coursework beyond the agent level.
  3. Pass the Broker Exam: Candidates must pass a state-administered broker licensing exam.
  4. Apply for a Broker License: After passing the exam, one must apply for and receive a broker license from the state regulatory authority.

What is a Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who assists clients in buying, selling, and renting properties. Agents work under the supervision of a licensed broker and are the primary point of contact for clients during real estate transactions.

What Are the Different Types of Real Estate Agents?

Real estate agents can specialize in various areas, including:

  1. Buyer’s Agents: Represent buyers in their search for properties, negotiating offers, and guiding them through the purchasing process.
  2. Seller’s Agents: Also known as listing agents, they represent sellers in marketing properties and negotiating sales.
  3. Dual Agents: In some cases, an agent can represent both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, although this is regulated differently across states.

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Real estate agents earn their income through commissions, which are a percentage of the property’s sale price. This commission is split between the listing and selling agents and their respective brokers.

What is a Realtor?

A Realtor is a real estate professional who is part of a professional association that upholds higher standards of practice and ethics compared to non-member agents and brokers. In the United States, this association is the National Association of Realtors (NAR), but similar organizations exist globally under different names.

Realtors adhere to a strict code of ethics and standards, ensuring a higher level of professionalism and service. This commitment to ethical behavior and ongoing education sets Realtors apart in the real estate industry.

How to Become a Realtor

  1. Obtain a Real Estate License: Start by becoming a licensed real estate agent or broker. This typically involves completing pre-licensing courses and passing a licensing exam.
  2. Join a Professional Real Estate Association: Apply for membership in a local or national real estate association that is recognized in your country or region. For example, in the U.S., you would join a local Realtor association, which includes membership in NAR.
  3. Adhere to the Code of Ethics: Commit to upholding the ethical standards required by the association. This often involves completing additional ethics training and agreeing to the association’s code of conduct.

These steps will help you establish credibility and professionalism in the real estate industry, ensuring you provide top-notch service to your clients while maintaining high ethical standards.

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