Nowadays when people decide that they want to buy or sell a house, residence, condominium, vacant land or a building they say say that they need a Realtor. They say this because most people believe that anyone who is licensed or authorized to handle the sale or purchase of real property is a Realtor. That belief, however, is incorrect. Realtor, real estate broker and real estate agent all have different meanings. Note: This article does not include Real estate attorneys. They are grist for another article.
Realtors: People „who are involved in residential and commercial real estate as any of the following, brokers, salespeople, property managers, appraisers, counselors and others engaged in all aspects of the real estate industry“ (a quote from the NAR website) and are members of the National Association Of Realtors. The National Association Of Realtors is a professional trade association and does not license people or businesses to represent buyers or sellers in real estate transactions. The NAR has trademarked the words Realtor and realtor and only members are allowed to call themselves Realtors.
Real Estate Broker: A person who is licensed to negotiate or participate in the sale, purchase, exchange or in some cases the rental of real property for a fee or commission, to operate a real estate firm and to supervise real estate salespeople. Different states have different requirements for obtaining a real estate brokers license. A person holding such a license may also work for other real estate brokers. If the real estate broker joins the NAR then that person can also use the term Realtor.
Real Estate Agent or Salesperson: A real estate agent or salesperson is also licensed to negotiate or participate in the sale, purchase, exchange or in some cases the rental of real property for a fee or commission but is not licensed to operate a real estate firm or to supervise other real estate salespeople. A Broker can work as an agent or salesperson but an agent or salesperson can not operate as a broker. A salesperson must work under the supervision of a licensed real estate broker. The licensing requirements for a salesperson’s license are much less rigid than the requirements for a brokers license. If the real estate salesperson joins the NAR then that person can also use the term Realtor.
Note: This article is only a basic outline of the above terms and is not meant to be relied on literally as various states have different rules and regulations.