Real Estate Agent and Trainer, Robert Rico, explains the difference between the titles of Real Estate Agent, Realtor, Broker, and such. Do you want to see more video blogs? Subscribe here!

The world of real estate is confusing with its job titles. Real estate agent, realtor, broker, they all sound like the same job. Often times, people who are unfamiliar with the industry use these words interchangeably. But, there’s a big difference between these titles that most people don’t know about.

So, we’re clearing the air around these confusing titles and what they do.

Real Estate Titles Explained

Real estate agent, realtor, broker, they all work at a brokerage, right? Of course they do. But, they each have different responsibilities.

One thing they all share in common is their ability to represent buyers and sellers in the real estate transaction.

Let’s start with real estate agent.

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is anyone who is licensed to help people buy and sell commercial or residential property. Agents are also known as a salesperson.

In order to obtain a real estate license, agents must complete three courses and pass a state required exam.

To practice real estate, a real estate agent must work must sign with a brokerage. In other words, they must “hang their license” at a brokerage. The employing broker is responsible for their real estate agents’ actions.


Many people use the term Realtor for any agent because it’s shorter and perhaps easier to say.

But, not every real estate agent is a Realtor.

Both an agent and a Realtor have a real estate license, but only an agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is a Realtor.

NAR is a trade association that represents agents across the country. Membership to the associate is a merit that realtors possess to show their ethical guidance. Also, members get access to perks and resources that supplement their career.

Real Estate Broker

A real estate broker is a step above a real estate agent. A broker has more continued education than an agent. The requirements in California is: 2 years of actually working as a real estate agent experience, 360 hours of broker pre-licensing courses, and to pass the broker state exam.

Brokers can run their own business and does not need to work for anyone else other than themselves. Brokers can also manage other real estate agents and thus becomes their employer.

Real estate agents work at brokerages that are ran by the broker.

What is a Broker Associate?

A broker associate is a real estate broker who works for another real estate broker. Although the broker could work for himself / herself, many choose to join a larger real estate network. Some pay a flat fee to the employing broker, and others earn a percentage (usually a higher commission than agents) per transaction.

Final Thoughts on Agents, Realtors, and Brokers

Understanding the difference between a real estate agent, realtor, and broker is a good way to know what you want to do with your real estate career. These position each have different qualities about their job. Hopefully, knowing the difference will help you appropriately use these words in everyday conversation.


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