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What is the difference between a broker and a realtor?

  • August 18 2009 - Apopka
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Answers (12)

Best Answer

 Good question...
In some cases nothing.  Let me explain.  Florida has two types of real estate license.  The first is for a real estate agent.  A real estate agent must work under the supervision of the second type of license a real estate broker.  You have to have a broker license to own your own real estate company and have agents work for you.  But if you have a broker license you do not have to open your own place - -you can still work for someone else i.e. Broker/associates. Now you do not have to be REALTOR to be a real estate agent or broker.
A REALTOR is an agent or broker who has joined the National Association of REALTORS and the state and local levels which encompasses the local 'Board of REALTORS - which own and operates the local Multiply Listing Service (MLS).  Without joining the local Board of REALTORs and agreeing to level of professionalism, and standards of practice, the Board holds all REALTORS to, you cannot have access to the MLS.  That is to say you cannot list your listing in the MLS - you do not have access to sold or expired data which is critical in helping you complete a proper Market Analysis for Pricing.  You would only have the same access as the general public.  That is to basic data on active listings.
Hope this helps…Kimberly
  • August 18 2009
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All these answers are correct to a point.  However, it is up to your individual state as to these designations.  On 1 July all agents in Washington State will become brokers.  There will be different broker designations, and the requirement of broker or record and managing broker will not change.  In short the answer is complicated.  Whether a broker or agent is a Realtor is all based on whether they joined the National/State/Local Realtor's Association.  MLS's cannot block non-realtors off the mls simply because they are not part of the Realtor Association. Brokers are the primary member of the National Association of Realtors and agents who hang their license with a Realtor Association Broker also must be members as well.
  • June 26 2010
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In a typical company, one person is the broker of record and the rest of the people are either broker associates, sales associate or non licensed personnel, i.e. secretaries, office managers, receptionists, assistants.  The only people who can participate in activities directly related to the sale of a property must be licensed.  They can be brokers or sales associates.  As mentioned by almost everyone, brokers typically receive a lot more training than sales associates.  These are prople who quite often will end up staring their own brokerage firm.  Simple agents cannot do that.  The point that was made about adherence to a code of ethics is very imporant and that is what differentiate Realtors and regular real estate agents.  My advice is to get help from those who belong to the NAR as they are under scrutiny by their peers.
  • June 24 2010
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Realtors make money on commission: They only get paid when they sell a house or help someone buy a house. The standard Realtor commission in the United States is between 5 and 6 percent, which is evenly split between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent  The person who sells the home is responsible for paying the entire commission.




How much of that commission the Realtor actually takes home depends on a few factors. Many Realtors work for small or large real estate firms. It's common for a Realtor to pay 30 to 50 percent of his or her commission to the firm, leaving as little as 1.5 percent in the Realtor's pocket  Even if a Realtor doesn't work directly for a firm, he or she might work with a real estate broker who provides the Realtor with referrals. That broker will also want a cut. Self-employed Realtors can keep all the commission, but they run the risk of losing business to larger competitors.





Commissions are negotiable, although NAR members are strongly encouraged not to budge under five percent. The idea is that the level of service offered by a certified Realtor is worth the full commission. In fact, the NAR claims that in 2005, homes represented by a certified Realtor sold for 16 percent more than homes that didn't use a Realtor  That said, when the real estate market gets really slow, even certified Realtors are tempted to lower their commissions to sell more homes.





Real estate is an incredibly competitive business where very few Realtors are likely to get rich. In 2006, the middle 50 percent of real estate agents earned between $26,790 and $65,270 a year in the United States



The average salary of Realtors doesn't change that much between hot and cold markets. That's because in hot markets, the profession is flooded with real estate agents who think they can make a quick buck. With so many agents in the field, it limits how many homes any individual agent can sell. In a colder market, fewer total homes are sold, but fewer agents are selling them, so the earning potential evens out.

  • June 12 2010
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Not every agent is a Realtor.  Some Real Estate Agents who work directly for a developer are often not part of the MLS and are not Realtors.  They aren't able to show other competing properties aside from those of their developer.  They are representing the seller and are required to be licensed and knowledgeable to be compensated for closing transactions for their seller.  They are never representing the buyers interests.  To be part of the MLS and show and sell all of the homes in the multiple listing service you have to be a Realtor and pay monthly, quarterly and annual fees.  Some agents can be broker salespersons without the added liabilities associated with being a broker.  To be a broker it requires taking additional continuing education. In some states you have to have a certain number of transactions under your belt before being able to be a broker and take the classes...in other states you can just take the continuing education classes required.  
  • June 10 2010
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Kimberly explained it well. The designation of REALTOR is a copyrite owned by NAR (National Assoc of Realtors) and unless one is a member, they are unable to use it and can be in violation. The Realtor designation is looked upon very seriously by the Board.  There are strict guidelines and penalties adhered towards this particular designation pertaining to the Code of Ethics and level of Professionalism mandated by NAR/FAR. Basically, not all licensees are Realtors but all Realtors are licensees.

As Kimberly mentioned. Only Realtors have access to MLS and heavy membership charges are paid annually for such access.
  • June 10 2010
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Profile picture for nealadler
Kimberly's answer is spot on.  Not all agents/brokers are REALTORS(R).  In California there are two types of licenses, sales and brokers.  The sales person must be under a broker.  In California there are roughlys450,000 R.E. licensees, however there are roughly 100,000 REALTORS(R).  To be a REALTOR(R) one must be a member of the National Association of REALTORS(R).
  • October 31 2009
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All these answers are correct, and the broker is also held to a higher standard in court, they are to be of a higher professional standard.

  • October 31 2009
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To become a broker you have to take additional courses and pass a more extensive test to get the brokers license.  All the info below is correct. 
  • October 30 2009
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Not every agent is a REALTOR.
  • October 29 2009
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A broker has the option of owning or managing a real estate office while a realtor works under a broker. You can also choose to be a broker associate meaning simply that while you do sell real estate you do not own or manage a real estate office.
  • August 20 2009
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A broker is a Realtor that owns or can own his own real estate business. A Realtor associate works under the broker.
  • August 18 2009
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