Whether you want to buy or sell a home, you’ll want some help. So who should you hire? Real estate professionals go by various names, including real estate agent, real estate broker, or Realtor®. So what’s the difference?
Sometimes these titles are used interchangeably, but rest assured, there are some important differences, as well as varying requirements for using particular titles.
Here’s a rundown of the real estate professional titles you’ll come across, and what they mean.
A real estate agent is someone who has a professional license to help people buy, sell, or rent all sorts of housing and real estate.
To get that license, states require individuals to have prelicensing training. The required number of training hours can vary significantly by jurisdiction. In Oregon, for example, real estate agents must take 120 hours of prelicensing training.
Once that training is done, aspiring agents take a written licensing exam. This exam is typically divided into two portions: one on federal real estate laws and general real estate principles, the second on state-specific laws.
Once they pass their exam, they’ve earned a license, the title of a “real estate agent,” and they might join a brokerage where they can begin working with home buyers, sellers, and renters.
In order to become a REALTOR®
In order to become a REALTOR®—a licensed agent with the ability to use that widely respected title—an agent needs to be a member of the National Association of Realtors®.
As a member, a person subscribes to the standards of the association and its code of ethics.
The NAR holds REALTOR® to a higher standard.