Agent, Broker & REALTOR®
What Do They Mean?
Many people commonly use the terms Salesperson, Broker, Agent
and REALTOR® interchangeably, as if they are all one and the same. The
truth is that these terms have different meanings and we should be careful
in their use.
The term "Salesperson"
(as in Real Estate Salesperson or Real Estate Sales Representative)
refers to someone who has attained all of the licensing requirements
needed to help the public buy, sell, lease, exchange or negotiate for
any interest in either real property or a business opportunity. All
Salespersons must work under the direct supervision of a licensed Broker.
The term "Broker" (as in Real Estate
Broker) specifically refers to someone who has the required qualifications
and license to be in the Real Estate brokerage business. Brokers can
do everything that a registered Salesperson can, but in addition they
are also qualified to own, operate and supervise an actual Real Estate
company and employ Salespeople to work for them.
While the term "Agent" is not specific to the Real Estate
industry, most Real Estate Salespeople, Brokers and REALTORS® do act
as agents when conducting business. An Agent is defined as anyone who
represents another in a business transaction.
The word REALTOR® is actually a registered trademark that can only be
used by someone who has been accepted as a member of the National Association
of Realtors® (NAR). This organization requires all of its members to
adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice.
The Code and Standards are very important because they assure that all
REALTORS® offer the highest level of service, honesty and integrity possible.
All REALTORS® are subject to constant professional monitoring that keeps
them directly accountable to the individual consumers they serve. NAR
also ensures that all of its members are knowledgeable and highly trained
in order to better serve the public and offers ongoing education courses
so that REALTORS® continue to meet the highest professional standards
in an ever-changing industry.