Realtor vs Real Estate Agent vs Broker. Similarities and differences


Table of contents:

  • Realtor vs real estate agent vs broker. What are the differences?
  • Real Estate Agent
  • How to become a real estate agent
  • Realtor
  • National Association of Realtors
  • How to become a Realtor
  • Benefits of becoming a Realtor
  • Broker
  • Licencing
  • Why become a broker?
  • Types of real estate brokers
  • How to become a broker
  • Realtor, real estate agent and broker
  • Skills and Qualifications
  • Differences (Table)
  • Benefits of working with Real Estate Agents

Realtor vs real estate agent vs broker. 

There are so many new and old terms in real estate that can make one's head spin. Realtors, Brokers and Real Estate agents are one of them. There are types of real estate agents that can be very confusing. Let’s go through the main real estate agent definitions and set the line of differentiating them all.
For instance both real estate agents and Realtors are licensed to sell real estate, each title refers to a specific type of real estate professional, and there are notable distinctions between them two. The term can be used interchangeably. Confusing right? 

Real Estate Agent

If we choose to follow the direct definition of what is a real estate agent then it is defined as a person whose business is to arrange the process of selling or renting houses, land, offices, or buildings for their owners.
While that is a technically accurate definition of a real estate agent, it doesn’t give an accurate description of what a real estate agent does every day. A real estate agent has many responsibilities that might seem similar to a Realtor but they have quite differences.
A day as a real estate agent can be very challenging. Each day is unique and different for a real estate agent; while this can be an appealing aspect of the real estate profession, it can also offer unique challenges or opportunities, depending on the agent’s skill set. Find out what real estate agents do for the buying/seller.

How to become a real estate agent

  1. Be at least 18 or 19 years old (depends on the state)

  2. Have legal US residency

  3. Complete a required pre-license education 

  4. Pass your state real estate license examination

  5. Be ready to work very hard to be competitive in the market

  6. Find a real estate broker 

Realtor

The term Realtor is probably the most misused and most confusing of it all. There is no Realtor vs real estate agent as they are very closely connected. Here is a simple way to put this: All Realtors are real estate agents but not all real estate agents are Realtors because they have to be a member of the National Association of REALTORS® to carry the title of a Realtor.
In terms of functions, both real estate agents and a Realtor are responsible to work with home buyers and sellers throughout the home buying and selling process, provide advice and guidance as well as assist with tasks including listing properties, visiting homes for sale, and connecting clients with mortgage professionals.
Realtors can work as independent agents or brokers, or as part of a larger real estate agency. In either case, they collaborate with both clients and other agents to negotiate sales prices and terms. Realtors also promote their services through marketing efforts and networking to ensure a steady stream of clients and referrals.

National Association of Realtors

N.A.R. is a trade association that represents agents across the country. NAR's membership is composed of residential and commercial brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors, and others.
Members follow a strict Code of Ethics and pledge to abide by them. There are 17 articles within that Code of Ethics that they follow at all times. They speak to how they treat their client, the general public, and colleagues. The members get access to resources and opportunities to grow in their careers. If one holds the title of Realtor he/she is able to fully represent a buyer or seller in a transaction.

 

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How to become a Realtor

  1. Be at least 18 or 19 years old (depends on the state)

  2. Have legal US residency

  3. Have a valid and active real estate license

  4. Must be actively engaged in the real estate business

  5. Must not have a record of official sanctions involving unprofessional conduct

  6. Must not have filed for any recent or pending bankruptcy

  7. Pay an annual membership fee

Benefits of becoming a Realtor

  1. Networking; NAR provides you with a unique title and gravitas that many other agents do not possess. It is a chance to get to know successful people of the industry and have a bigger network and be able to develop a lasting relationship with other agents.

  2. Real Estate designations and certifications; As a member of NAR one is able to take additional courses or classes that will help them receive better designations that can help to increase the business and potential income.
    Some of the certifications are:

    GRADUATE REALTOR® INSTITUTE (GRI) DESIGNATION
    CERTIFIED RESIDENTIAL SPECIALIST (CRS)
    SENIORS REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST (SRES®)
    RESORT & SECOND-HOME MARKETS (RSPS) DESIGNATION

  3. Prestige 

Broker

Now the other question is what does a broker do? Is there a difference between a real estate agent and a broker?
Brokers assume legal responsibility for the agents and the real estate transactions being managed through their brokerage. Real Estate Brokers typically work for real estate firms or agencies. How does this work? Agents hang their licenses with a brokerage, and the broker provides oversight, consultation, and direction to ensure transactions get managed according to the letter of the law.
Do brokers need a license to complete a deal? What is a broker license?

Licencing 

A broker needs to have a real estate broker license to start or proceed with any kind of documentation under the brokerage of a real estate agent. Brokers and agents are licensed by the state to negotiate sales agreements and manage the documentation required for closing real estate transactions. While a broker can also work independently but most have a license by the state. Clarification to real estate broker vs agent dilemma. In the United States, real estate brokers are licensed by each state, not by the federal government. Each state has a real estate “commission” that monitors and licenses real estate brokers and agents.

Why become a broker?

As a real estate broker, the biggest benefit is earning commission on all your deals and not splitting them with an office. That indeed means more money in your pocket.

Types of real estate brokers 

  1. Associate brokers have broker licenses but choose to work under another broker. In general, associate brokers do not supervise other agents.

  2. Managing brokers oversee transactions and daily operations in the office. They also hire agents, train new hires, and manage administrative staff.

  3. Principal brokers supervise real estate agents to make sure they are in compliance with state and national real estate laws. Each real estate office has one principal broker.

How to become a broker

  1. Work as a real estate agent.

  2. Take a state-approved real estate sales course.

  3. Pass your state's real estate agent licensing program.

  4. Get real estate certifications.

  5. Take a state-approved real estate broker course.

  6. Pass the real estate broker exam.

Realtor, real estate agent, and broker;
Skills and Qualifications

Whether you are a Realtor, real estate agent, or broker you should obtain some skills that can help you along the way. Home selling or buying procedures can be very stressful and complicated.
If you are skilled enough to make it easy, it is indeed a relief for you and your clients. Some skills and qualifications that are important are:

  • Negotiation – one should be an excellent negotiator, able to work with clients and other realtors to arrive at agreeable sale terms and negotiate a number of elements during the sales process
  • Market knowledge – this role requires thorough knowledge of the local real estate market. Realtors, real estate agents, and brokers should be informed about current trends, average home prices, and neighborhoods within their sales territory
  • Client service – this role requires excellent client service skills, to understand what the clients are looking for in a home, work within their price range, and be available throughout the sales process
  • Marketing – realtors need excellent promotional and marketing skills to attract buyers and build their client base
  • Organization skills – one should have strong time management and organization skills to keep track of appointments and commitments
  • Communication skills – realtors need effective verbal and written communication skills and should be able to prepare documents and speak with clients, other agents, and financial professionals

Image credit: pikisuperstar

Differences

Realtor 

Broker 

Real estate agent 

Realtors are responsible to work with home buyers and sellers throughout the home buying and selling process


Brokers assume legal responsibility for the agents and the real estate transactions being managed through their brokerage.

Same as a Realtor, a real estate agent, is defined as a person whose business is to arrange the process of selling or renting of houses, land, offices, or buildings for their owners.

Needs to be a member of NAR to title a Realtor 

Can operate independently but needs a licensee to go with a firm 

Doesn’t need a special license in order to be in the market

Sell services from a range of companies  

Sell company-specific services

Provide advice and guidance as well as assist with tasks including listing properties, visiting homes for sale, and connecting clients with mortgage professionals.

Provides oversight, consultation, and direction to ensure transactions get managed according to the letter of the law. 

Provide advice and guidance as well as assist with tasks including listing properties, visiting homes for sale, and connecting clients with mortgage professionals.

Must additionally pass NAR requirements 

No requirements for any further licensing 

Aren't subject to additional requirements

Are members of the National Association of Realtors 

Are NOT members of the National Association of Realtors 

Are NOT members of the National Association of Realtors 

Benefits of working with Real Estate Agents

A real estate agent is responsible for ensuring a smooth home selling process. Without these professionals, home selling success can be a very daunting task. Most people want a real estate agent who is trustworthy. They also want someone who can close the deal for the best price for their seller.
You might also hear about an exclusive contract with a real estate agent that sometimes happens. Wondering what it is?
In short, this is an agreement between the agent and the client (either buyer or seller). It is more than an itemized list of how’s and what if’s of your real estate agent’s commission. With an exclusive contract with a real estate agent, you can be assured that he or she will be 100% committed to working for your interest. It will also show your real estate agent that you are serious with your decision to sell or buy.

Some of the benefits of working with real estate agents include but are not limited to: 

  1. Better access to the home (in case of buying)

  2. Negotiations and best deal opportunities

  3. Avoiding some of the paperwork 

  4. Saving money

  5. Guidance and support 

  6. Finding your dream property 

  7. Avoiding any half-way surprise 

If you want to be the one benefiting from all the points and more then Matt O’Neill Real Estate is the one you are looking for! 

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