Real Estate Professionals

Who´s who in real estate?

If you´ve ever bought or sold a home, the chances are good that you worked with a real estate professional. The following provides an introduction to the types you might work with.

Role Description What must they know?
Broker A person hired for a fee, usually paid by the seller to the broker in the form of commission for closing a sale. In addition, a real estate broker has more education and experience than other real estate agents or salespeople. The depth of knowledge required is specified by state law which determines the number of hours and types of coursework needed to obtain and maintain a broker´s license. A broker may work independently, with another broker, or with other realtors. The listings are placed in the broker´s name, though typically your daily contact would be with the sales person. Brokers deal directly with home buyers and sellers, or they may have salespersons or agents working for them.

In addition to normal real estate licensing requirements, most states require brokers to have recent, active experience as a real estate agent, and substantial, additional coursework often including brokerage management.

Some states, like Oregon, have replaced agents licensing with multi-tier broker´s licenses.

Realtor® Only members of local real estate boards affiliated with the National Association of Realtors may use the designation of Realtor. Membership includes real estate agents, brokers, and sales associates.
To join a the NAR, the realtor must subscribe to the organization´s strict code of ethics.
Real Estate Agent An agent is licensed by the state after passing an exam and may then negotiate and transact the sale of real estate in that state. Agents work under a broker. Listings are in the brokers name, not the agent´s.

To obtain a license, most states require meeting specific requirements including:

  • Knowledge of real estate law, practice, and finance; contracts; local zoning; and tax laws.
  • Classroom instruction (usually 30–90 hours)

Also, many states now require criminal background checks.


Find a real estate pro atHearth Real Estate .

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