What is a Realtor?

What’s the difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent? What is a broker and how does it differ from a Realtor? These three titles (Realtor, real estate agent, broker) are often misunderstood to mean the same thing, but their differences are worth noting! If you’re buying or selling your home, or you’re simply curious about why one of these titles is capitalized and the others aren’t, here’s a simple breakdown of how these three roles are distinct from one another and why that might matter to you.


What is a Realtor?

A Realtor is a real estate professional who has already done the hard work of getting licensed as a real estate agent in their state, but who belongs to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and adheres to their strict code of ethics. The NAR is one of the world’s largest professional organizations and provides its members with access to relevant field research, professional development, and a network of other professionals with whom to trade information.

The term Realtor is a federally registered trademark assigned only to those belonging to the NAR and can only be given to individuals who have passed the code of ethics course and are official members of the association. Local organizations help monitor Realtors working in their designated areas to ensure they’re adhering to the NAR code of ethics, which is updated regularly.

Why does this matter if these individuals are already licensed real estate agents? The adherence to the NAR code of ethics gives buyers and sellers peace of mind, knowing there’s an extra level of accountability for the professionals handling such a weighty responsibility. As mentioned, Realtors also have access to a network of other professionals and information to encourage success in their careers. Additionally, the NAR has a set of additional requirements listed on their website, which include a clear criminal record, no professional sanctions, etc.


What is a Real Estate Agent?

All Realtors are real estate agents, but not all real estate agents are Realtors. In order to even be considered for membership in the NAR, a person must go through the process of becoming a licensed real estate professional. Each state varies in its requirements, but at the core, a licensed real estate agent is a professional who has been licensed to buy, sell or rent real estate in a given state.

The basics of most licensure requirements include taking a state’s real estate course and passing a final exam, activating the license, and partnering with a brokerage in order to begin practicing. They must also complete continuing education courses to keep their license active. Real estate agents are not able to work independently and must join a brokerage to practice selling and buying real estate.


What is a Real Estate Broker?

A real estate broker is a real estate agent or Realtor who has taken additional training and undergone increased licensing requirements. Brokers are able to work independent of a brokerage and are free to hire other professionals to work under the supervision of their own brokerage. Real estate brokers perform many of the same duties as real estate agents, but also have additional responsibilities, depending on what type of broker they are.


Is it Better to Use a Real Estate Agent/Realtor or a Broker?

Above all, it’s best to go with someone you trust, who has a good reputation and is knowledgeable of your desired market. Whether you choose to partner with a real estate agent/Realtor or a broker is up to you and shouldn’t make an enormous difference in your experience. What matters more to an overall positive outcome in a real estate transaction is the person you choose to use for your purchase or sale, rather than their specific title.

If you’re looking at living in Brevard County and need to find a new home contact one of Brevard’s best and most trustworthy, Misty Morrison (Broker-Associate/REALTOR®) at 321-209-1523.

Misty A. Morrison
‪321-574-8119‬ (mobile)