Most people use the terms “real estate agent”, “real estate broker” and “Realtor” interchangeably, but they can have different specific meanings.
Real estate agents are licensed salespersons. They are not brokers, but are employed to work for a broker or brokerage firm and cannot work on their own. Also, “real estate agents” is a general term used to refer to all real estate salespeople.
A real estate broker is usually more educated and has more qualifications than an agent, though that is not always the case. A real estate broker must have two years of real estate sales experience, and must have completed eight college-level real estate courses. Also, the term “broker” is used as a generic word to describe all real estate professionals.
A Realtor is a real estate salesperson who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Realtors are usually the most qualified and experienced real estate salespeople who choose to advance their career by joining the NAR. The designation “Realtor” can only be used for qualified members of the NAR.
There are also what’s called broker associates, who choose to work for another real estate broker or a firm of brokers instead of setting up their own offices. They work for either a flat salary or a percentage of each sale.
Although people use these terms interchangeably and not in their correct context, essential they all refer to people who sell real estate, even if the exact designation isn’t accurate.