Did you know there is a difference in real estate professionals? Find out the difference between a real estate agent vs broker vs realtor.

What’s the Difference in Real Estate Professionals? Real Estate Agent vs Broker vs Realtor | alecsalameh.com

Did you know that a real estate agent is not the same as a real estate broker or a realtor? If you are looking to work with a real estate professional, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the difference between a real estate agent vs broker vs realtor. Alec Salameh is here to provide you with all your Lee County real estate needs, including providing insight into the industry to better inform your real estate journey. Keep reading to find out what kind of real estate professional can help you today!

What is a Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent is a professional that works with buyers and sellers to negotiate sales terms between them. They generally work off of commission and have the base level licensing for the industry. In general, a real estate agent works with a licensed broker to gain access to higher-level real estate functions. At a base level, the agent is simply there to facilitate the transaction between buyer and seller but they do not perform back-end or legal work.

What is a Real Estate Broker?

A real estate broker can perform all the duties of a real estate agent in addition to the back-end functions. A broker has additional licensing and schooling that allows them to not only facilitate transactions but also process them. This includes making sure that the transaction follows all legal requirements, includes all required paperwork, applies all necessary money including escrow accounts, and has proper records and reports. 

What is a Realtor?

A Realtor is a real estate professional that must obtain licensing for whatever job function they are interested in with additional ethical standards through membership with the National Association of Realtors. 

Different Job Function

If you were to breakdown the job functions of a real estate agent vs broker vs realtor you could think of it as followers: a real estate agent is the salesperson that works with the clients, a real estate broker is the manager that processes the back-end functions, and a realtor can perform either function with the proper education but must belong to the National Association of Realtors.

A real estate agent has to work with a broker or a brokerage firm for all backend sales, technical, and legal paperwork. Their daily responsibilities include communicating with both sellers and buyers, preparing and submitting offers, handling negotiations, and completing the sale.

A real estate broker can work either independently or as part of a brokerage firm. Their daily responsibilities include completing backend sales processes, ensuring legal compliance, validating technical requirements, and working with the client to find them a home. In addition, they can perform any duties that a real estate agent would perform.

A Realtor can choose to obtain licensing for either a real estate agent or a real estate broker in addition to maintaining membership with the National Association of Realtors. In general, their daily responsibilities are the same as any other agent or broker, however, they are held to a more strict level of standards. In addition, they have access to additional resources that only Realtors can use.

Different Education

The most notable difference between a real estate agent, real estate broker, and a realtor is the level of education and, therefore, the level of the position. While requirements vary by state, the general requirements for each position are as follows.

Real estate agent:

  • Must be over 18 years of age
  • Must be a legal resident of the United States
  • Complete any required pre-licensing class for each state
  • Pass the state real estate license exam
  • Complete a background check
  • Must be sponsored by a licensed real estate broker
  • Complete the continuing education classes required to maintain the license

Real estate broker:

  • Must have obtained all real estate agent licensing and worked in the industry for at least two years ( length may vary depending on the state)
  • Must obtain additional state or local education and licensing exams


  • Must obtain any and all licenses required for the desired level of operations (agent or broker)
  • Must obtain membership with the National Association of Realtors
  • May need to obtain membership with state or local real estate association or board

Different Resources 

The most important resource in the industry for real estate professionals is the Multiple Listing Service, commonly called the MLS, which “is a tool to help listing brokers find cooperative brokers working with buyers to help sell their clients’ homes,” according to the National Association of Realtors. But, who has access to the MLS?

With a real estate agent license alone the MLS is not accessible. The minimum qualification required for access is a brokerage license. However, being a member of the National Association of Realtors will also provide access to the list. 

In addition to the MLS, realtors also have access to additional resources from the National Association of Realtors including the Realtors Property Resource® which “is the nation’s largest property database.” The only way to gain access to this database is by becoming a realtor. 

Different Earning Models

When a home is sold through a real estate agent, generally, a commission of six percent of the cost of sale is awarded. This commission is then split between any real estate professionals involved in the sale including both the buyer’s and the seller’s agents and brokers. 

While brokers earn a percentage of any sales that a real estate agent under them makes, they also earn commissions on their own deals without having to split it with other parties. A Realtor gets paid based on their specialty i.e. agent or broker. 

Now that you know the differences between a real estate agent vs broker vs realtor, you’re ready to choose a real estate professional that meets your needs. Alec Salameh is a trusted Realtor with Coldwell Banker Realty, one of the world’s largest and most respected real estate companies in the world. With all the resources Coldwell Banker provides, he looks to deliver modern, trustworthy, and highly professional real estate services to his clients. From commercial to residential real estate, Alec Salameh has all your Lee County real estate needs covered!

March 5, 2022

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