Broker, Agent, or Realtor?

November 4, 2016

Broker, Agent, or Realtor?
In your internet research for buying or selling a home, you have likely encountered many different and new terms that are specific to the real estate industry. For that outside of the real estate field, these terms can be confusing and may require some explanation or further research.
Some of the more confusing terms for buyers and sellers involve the people that they must work with through the home buying and selling processes. The terms broker, agent, and Realtor are often muddled titles for that outside of the industry, but they are three different types of fields. Additionally, there are also some other real estate titles like salesperson and associate broker that may come into play during your home buying and selling process.
Knowing the difference between these job titles can not only be helpful, but it can ensure that you find the right person who will assist you in finding the perfect home that suits your family’s needs.

Real Estate Agents and Realtors

Though they may be used interchangeably, the terms real estate agent and Realtor are not the same things. A Realtor may be the pithier term to use, but it is not always the correct one.
To begin, both are in the business of buying and selling real estate. Both Realtors and real estate agents are required to be licensed to buy and sell properties, and though there is a lot of overlap in the job descriptions and qualifications, there are notable differences between them.
A real estate agent is a person who has obtained a real estate license after completing a given number of classroom instruction hours. The length of schooling required to obtain a real estate license varies from state to state, but it can be anywhere from 30 to 90 hours in classwork. Once the school hours are completed, applicants must pass an examination, then pay an annual licensing fee to retain their agent status.
The title Realtor is a trademarked term that is designated to real estate agents who are current members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Though the NAR has been around since 1908, the adoption of the term Realtor would not come until 1974. There are currently more than 1 million NAR members in the United States.
The NAR does not only include real estate agents either. Property managers, home appraisers, and other professionals within the industry can join the NAR as well under “principal Realtors.
So you see, simply being a Realtor does not mean that you are a real estate agent. In the same way, being a real estate agent does not mean that you have any affiliations with the National Association of Realtors and hold the title of Realtor.

Real Estate Brokers

A real estate broker is a person who was once a real estate agent but chose to continue their education to become a broker. In order to become a broker, a real estate agent much pass the broker’s license exam. While a real estate broker can work independently, real estate agents must work under brokers.
Some other titles that you may encounter on your real estate journey include real estate associate broker and real estate, salesperson. A real estate associate broker is a person who has already obtained their broker’s license but works under another real estate broker. A real estate salesperson is a term that is not used very often but simply refers to a state-licensed real estate agent who is acting on the behalf of a real estate broker. 


Recent Blog Posts

Stay up to date on the latest real estate trends.

5 Best Wineries Near Tucson

Jameson Gray  |  November 22, 2021

Wine is universal — no matter your tastes, there’s always a little something you’ll like.

“The Foothills” in Tucson, Arizona: Which Community is Right for You?

October 7, 2021

Finding the right community is difficult, but Arizona’s luxurious communities likely have a place for you!

5 Best Golf Courses in Tucson

September 1, 2021

Tucson, Arizona, has no shortage of dazzling golf courses

Everything You Need to Know About Indoor/Outdoor Spaces

April 6, 2021

The blend of indoor/outdoor space is one of the most sought-out living trends recently—but what exactly is it?

2021 Seller's Guide

February 20, 2021

Conventional wisdom states that a hot seller's market—the combination of remarkably high demand and historically low inventory—equals an unparalleled negotiating posit… Read more

Spotlight on HK Associates Architects

January 25, 2021

HK Associates is an award-winning architecture firm composed of dynamic husband-and-wife team Kathy Hancox and Michael Kothke.

Oro Valley Views: The Best Scenic Spots in Town

November 19, 2020

Oro Valley has no bad angles. Flanked by the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Sonoran Desert, the magnificence of Arizona’s landscape provides a dramatic backdrop in e… Read more

5 Ways to Welcome Autumn in Oro Valley

October 22, 2020

Surrounded by the majestic beauty of the Santa Catalina and Tortolita Mountains only a few miles north of Tucson, Oro Valley is known as a vibrant, family-friendly com… Read more

5 Can’t-Miss Historic Sites in Tucson

September 24, 2020

Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for an activity to pass the time, Tucson is filled with an abundance of historic sites.


We offer the highest level of expertise and service with integrity. The Gray | St. Onge Group is a dedicated team with years of experience as leading real estate agents in Tucson, Arizona, and the surrounding area.

Contact Us