The world of Real Estate professionals is ever growing, so it is not uncommon to be confused by the different titles and job responsibilities. You might hear the terms associate, consultant, salesperson, broker, Realtor, agent – but what do these all mean?

The main two that differ are a broker and an agent. A broker can work as a Real Estate agent, but an agent can not work as a broker without a broker’s license. What else sets these titles apart?

What exactly is a Real Estate broker?

Essentially, a broker is a step above a Real Estate agent. Usually, a broker is a seasoned agent who has substantial training and is very educated in the realm of Real Estate. They may work independently or hire an agent(s) to work under them. In order to become a Real Estate broker, you will need to take a specified and advanced exam.

What is a broker associate?

A broker associate is a Real Estate broker who works for another broker or a brokerage firm. Brokers may work for themselves, but some may choose to work for a larger company.

Depending on the terms and state that the broker associate is employed, they may either pay a flat fee to the brokerage or broker or earn a certain percentage of each transaction.

What is a Real Estate agent?

An agent is a licensed salesperson who cannot work independently and must “hang” their license underneath a broker.

Each state has different requirements for licensing, but most will require you to be at least 18 years of age and to complete pre-licensing instruction prior to taking a sales associate exam.

What Is a REALTOR®?

A REALTOR® can either be a broker or a Real Estate agent. However, not all brokers or Real Estate agents are REALTORS®.

What this title means is that the individual belongs to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). This is a nationwide association with their own code of ethics and annual dues. Members of NAR belong to state and local trade associations.

What is a listing agent?

Listing agents are also known as seller’s agents because they are the agent that is listing the home, otherwise, putting the house on the market. The seller’s interest is protected under a listing agreement.

What is a buyer’s agent?

A buyer’s agent works with potential home buyers to find a home. They are legally bound to help their buyer navigate the Real Estate market. They do not represent the seller and will work with the listing agent to negotiate terms.

What is a dual agent?

A dual agent is when an agent represents both the buyer and the seller. Also referred to as a transaction agent or transaction brokerage, it is not legal in all states and typically only happens in smaller markets where there isn’t a lot of property to go around.

Dual agency can also mean there is a separate listing and buyer’s agent, but they both work for the same broker.