The difference between a REALTOR® , real estate agent and broker

Real estate broker, REALTOR®, real estate agent: They’re the same thing, aren’t they? What, as Shakespeare asked, is in a name? They all do the same thing and have the same qualifications, don’t they?

Far from it. 

To some, the distinctions between these three roles might seem insignificant; however, it's worth going over the differences in these titles, particularly if you're looking for someone to help you buy or sell a home.

Real estate agent: Basically, anyone with a real estate license can be dubbed a real estate agent. The requirements for licenses vary from state to state, but in general, involve completing a certain number of hours in pre-license education and passing the state’s licensing exam.

Real estate broker: Anyone who wishes to take their education beyond what is required by the state can move on to the broker's exam. Unlike a real estate agent, a broker is usually someone who works independent of a larger firm or company. Sometimes they have agents who work for them.

REALTOR®: In addition to flaunting conventions by capitalizing all the letters in their title, a REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is a licensed member of the National Association of REALTORS®. As such, they must adhere to a code of ethics and maintain a high ethical standard in order to retain their license. This includes being an advocate for their client, staying on top of market trends and offering an objective perspective during transactions.

Think of it this way: Every REALTOR® is a real estate agent, but not every agent is a REALTOR®. Just like how every scotch is a whiskey but not every whiskey is a scotch, or how every Kleenex is a tissue but not every tissue is a Kleenex.

Now, calling a REALTOR® a broker or an agent a REALTOR® isn’t going to upset the person, but still, it’s nice to know and appreciate the difference.

For more insight into the real estate market, talk to a Coldwell Banker Hedges REALTOR® today. With years of experience, they know houses and can help guide you through any questions you may have.

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