When buying or selling a home, most people look into hiring a professional. But what type of professional is best? Agent? Broker? REALTOR®? You may have used the terms interchangeably, but there are significant differences. Here’s what you need to know about each type of real estate pro.
The real estate agent is the entry-level term for a real estate sales professional. The agent is someone who has studied for the licensing exam, passed and been awarded a license in the state in which they will be selling. In some states, the agent may be referred to as real estate salesperson. Real estate agents must sell under a licensed real estate broker or brokerage firm that oversees the agent’s activity.
A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent that has joined the National Association of REALTORS® likely the state chapter as well. This means that they have agreed to abide by the code of ethics and standards set by the NAR. In some states, the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the database of property listings, may require that an agent be both a licensed real estate agent and a REALTOR® to access the database. Check with your local association for rules regarding utilization of the MLS system in your area.
A real estate broker is someone who has done additional study in the real estate field and received a second state license as a broker or broker-in-charge (BIC). The specific requirements may differ from state to state, but most require significant first-hand experience as an agent. Brokers are able to function independently as a seller listing agent or a buyer’s agent or have one or more agents working under them in a brokerage firm.
Armed with this knowledge, you can search for a top professional to help you with the sale or purchase of your home and work together toward success.