Real Estate Representation

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

Hiring someone to help with your real estate transaction can be confusing. There are so many different professionals out there including agents, appraisers, inspectors, and salespeople.

Many people confuse the terms real estate agent, broker, and realtor and may even use them interchangeably. There is some overlap, but the three are distinctly different.

Real Estate Agents


A real estate agent is an industry professional who serves as the facilitator of real estate transactions, bringing buyers and sellers together.

A real estate agent has passed all required real estate classes, along with the real estate licensing exam in the state in which he or she works. Agents are also referred to as real estate associates and can represent both buyers and sellers involved in a real estate transaction.

Agents carry offers and counter-offers between parties. They make sure clients are aware of all requirements to complete the sale including inspections, moving, and closing dates.

Real estate agents work for brokers or agencies and receive a percentage of the sale price of a property. The higher the sale price, the higher the commission.



A broker owns a brokerage and employs real estate agents. A broker generally has more training than an agent, has successfully passed a state real estate broker license exam, and handles some of the more technical parts of a transaction.

Brokers can work as independent agents or have other agents working for them. Agents who pass the broker exam, but choose to work under another broker are called real estate associate brokers.

Brokers who work with buyers look for properties that match the their clients’ requests, conduct negotiations, prepare offers, and help buyers with issues leading to closing.

Sellers’ brokers determine market values of their clients’ properties, list and show properties, communicate with sellers about offers, and assist in the offer process.

Brokers receive a commission when a sale is completed. The amount is listed in the contract between the broker, and the buyer or seller. The listing agreement or contract generally outlines how much of a percentage of the sale will go to the broker.



A realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of NAR. All realtors are agents or brokers, but not all agents or brokers are realtors.

Founded in 1908, the NAR is the largest trade association in the United States. Active real estate agents who would like to join the organization must have a valid real estate license and an immaculate professional conduct record. Real estate agents have an incentive to join due to its good reputation, which may attract more clients. All Realtors are required to adhere to an extensive Code of Ethics as well as 17 additional Articles, so consumers may feel at ease knowing that they are working with agents who are thoroughly vetted and have sworn to uphold certain professional standards.

Looking to buy a property and need advice? Give us a call.

Final Thoughts


  • Real estate agents are licensed to facilitate real estate transactions, are paid commissions for their sales, and work for brokerages.
  • Brokers are more experienced and qualified and can work as independent agents or have other agents work for them.

  • Realtors are part of the National Association of Realtors, a trade organization, and can hold any position within the real estate industry.

  • Let’s Connect. We’d Love to help.

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May 12, 2020

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