The real estate market has had an interesting past few years. The massive boom in real estate during the early parts of the coronavirus pandemic has yet to show its full effects on the market. Yet people continue to search for new homes at record rates.
If you’re a part of this flood of homebuyers, and you’ve never dealt with real estate before, you might find yourself confused by the abundance of terms used to refer to the professionals you’ll speak with in the process. What’s the difference between a true real estate agent vs. broker vs. realtor? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Real Estate Agent?
First things first, let’s discuss what a real estate agent is and what they do. A real estate agent is any person that helps people to buy, rent, or sell real estate. All real estate agents must be above the age of 18 and hold a valid real estate license.
Licensing is done on a per-state basis, and real estate agents cannot work independently. Rather, they must work for a real estate broker.
What Is a Real Estate Broker?
Speaking of, let’s discuss the purpose of a real estate broker. A real estate broker could be considered an extension of the real estate agent’s career path.
Why? Well, the broker has further licensing and can hire real estate agents to work for them.
Usually, when you search real estate listings, you’re looking through the offerings of a brokerage.
Brokers can work with either buyers or sellers, so you’ll need to search for a broker that works with your side of the process.
What Is a Realtor?
When you’re searching for the difference between a real estate agent vs. broker vs. realtor, the realtor has the most obvious distinguishing factor. While the difference between brokers and agents lies mainly in education, a realtor has a special, copyrighted title conferred by their membership.
Only those who serve as licensed members of the National Association of Realtors can claim this title for themselves. Membership grants many privileges, like discounts and further educational materials. However, aside from these perks, realtors do not have any special legal privileges over standard agents or brokers.
A realtor is a slightly more prestigious title than a standard real estate agent, which might make it a bit pricier to hire a realtor than a normal agent.
Let’s Review the Difference Between Real Estate Agent vs. Broker vs. Realtor
Figuring out the difference between real estate agent vs. broker vs. realtor can be tricky when you look at them from the outset. However, if you think about them as tiers of a similar field, the difference becomes clear. Agents occupy the lowest rung, with realtors acting as privileged intermediaries, and brokers occupying the highest rung.
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