The difference between an agent, a broker, and a REALTOR®
The terms agent, broker, and REALTOR® are often used interchangeably, but they don't mean the same thing. While agents, brokers, and REALTORS® are each licensed real estate professionals, their levels of qualification vary.
Real estate agents are the people you’ll most likely work with if you are buying or selling a home. Depending on if you’re buying or selling your home, you’ll most likely be working with a buyer’s agent or a listing agent.
A buyer's agent represents the buyer in the home-buying process. A buyer's agent will help you find homes that suit your needs, schedule home showings on your behalf, accompany you to showings, write offers on homes you would like to buy, and assist you with negotiations, inspections, and entire closing process.
A listing agent is the agent who represents the home seller. When you’re selling your home, a listing agent helps you accurately price your home, gets your home listed on the MLS, and markets your property until it’s sold.
No matter what type of agent you’re working with, they need to be represented under a brokerage before they can work with clients. That’s where brokers come in.
A broker is someone who has completed extended education in addition to the real estate courses required to become an agent. In Florida, they must pass the Florida Real Estate Broker Examination. When brokers obtain their brokerage license, they have the ability to start their own real estate company and hire agents to work for them, although starting a company and hiring agents isn't required. A broker can simply work for themselves as a real estate agent under their own brokerage. Many brokers are still practicing real estate agents although some choose to become the CEO of their company instead of conducting real estate transactions. A broker associate is a someone who has obtained their brokerage license but has chosen to continue working for another broker.
A REALTOR® is a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (NAR) and subscribes to a strict code of ethics. The NAR Code of Ethics was adopted 1913 and ensures that consumers are served by requiring REALTORS® to cooperate with each other in furthering clients' best interests. Learn more about the NAR Code of Ethics HERE. NAR members are required to complete Code of Ethics Training every three years, meaning they can be regarded as a more valuable and trustworthy real estate agent to work with. The word REALTOR® is a trademark that refers to someone who is an active member of the NAR. Only about half of all licensed real estate agents in the United States are members of the NAR, earning them the title of REALTOR®.