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Brokers, Agents and Realtors. What’s the Difference?

Updated: Jan 30, 2019

A real estate agent is a professional who has passed the required real estate classes and licensing exams in the state where he or she intends to work. This is the point most real estate professional begin their career and they are required to hang their license with a supervising broker.

A real estate broker has attained higher levels of experience and education, they are not required to work under supervision. A broker may decide to work independently, or they may choose to employ other agents to work under their supervision. Despite that some brokers do elect to hang their license with another supervising broker. In those cases, they are classified as broker-salespersons by the state of Nevada.

A Realtor (not realitor) is a real estate agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Realtors must abide by the association’s strict code of ethics and standards of practice which are typically the basis of and more stringent than state law. As a Realtor these folks also have access to their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) which remains a very powerful tool for both buyers and sellers.

Brokers, agents and Realtors can all be referred to as real estate licensees. The vast majority of licensees in the United States act as independent contractors rather than employees of their supervising brokers. Independent contractors do not receive salary or benefits. Unless they have another job, their income is almost always reliant upon sales commission alone.

If you’re interviewing licensees to represent you in your next transaction, look for the following traits:

1) Full-time and preferably seasoned

2) References supporting a great reputation

3) A willingness to work in your best interest rather than “the deal”

For more discussion about the licensee's duties owed to their clients visit:

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