Realtor, broker, real estate agent -- what's the difference?
You hear it all the time when talking real estate: "My broker closed the deal"; "I need to call my Realtor"; or "My real estate agent is showing us a house today."
To the average homebuyer, that person helping to sell or buy their next home is any or all of those titles, at any given moment in speech or writing. But sometimes a title is not just a title. Buyer be aware that there is indeed a difference. And almost every broker, Realtor, and real estate agent will be quick to tell you so.
Here is a look at some of the specialized titles:
Real estate broker: This title holder has completed education beyond the agent level required by state laws, and has also passed a broker's license exam that allows him or her to either work independently or hire other agents. While not necessarily the source of lending themselves, real estate brokers are transactions agents who will broker loans to larger lenders or investors.
Realtor: This person can be a real estate broker or a real estate agent, but their Realtor title gives them a status only afforded to members of the National Association of Realtors. This group holds its members to standards agreed upon by the association and its extensive code of ethics. NAR members may also belong to state and local trade associations.
Real estate agent: This representative has earned a real estate license and has cleared the requirements to be called an agent. He or she could be a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker. Requirements to become a real estate agent vary state-by-state, although taking classes and passing a test is mandatory.
Listing agent: This person is also known as a seller's agent, as he or she represents sellers who are seeking to sell their property at the highest price possible. A listing agent can be a real estate broker or a real estate agent.
Buyer's agent: This person is a licensed professional who may exclusively represent buyers in negotiating the purchase of property.