What is a Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Agent, or Realtor®?
The public tends not to understand the difference between a Real Estate Agent, Real Estate Broker, and Realtor®. They indicate differences in education, professional affiliation, experience, and specialization.
A Real Estate Agent must operate under the supervision of a real estate broker. An Agent is a person who can represent a buyer or a seller in a real estate transaction in exchange for commissions and fees. Their tasks may include but are not limited to: showing properties, listing properties for sale, negotiating contracts, and marketing properties.
In Texas, to obtain an Agent License, you must take 150 classroom hours of required courses, pass a licensing test and a background check, stay current on student loans, and obtain a sponsoring Broker. There are no formal education requirements.
A Real Estate Broker has a higher level of responsibility and their duties create a higher exposure to liability. They are licensed to manage and supervise all legal intricacies of real estate transactions, both buying and selling. Brokers can hire Agents to work for them and they manage and have full responsibility for the entire process.
In Texas, to obtain a Broker license, you must have four years experience as an Agent and roughly 12 transactions, 270 qualifying classroom hours, and an additional 630 qualifying classroom hours or a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. Agents and Brokers are licensed by the Texas Real Estate Commission.
Realtor® is a trademark of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A Realtor® can be a Broker or Agent. There are about 1 million members of NAR across the U.S. that can use the designation of REALTOR®. According to NAR, “The term ‘REALTOR®’ identifies a real estate professional whom is a member of NAR and abides by its strict Code of Ethics.”
The NAR code of ethics entices many customers to seek out a licensed REALTOR®. This code is a pledge to protect and promote the interests of their clients before their own. They pledge to put your needs in front of theirs and avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts relating to the property or transaction; they must follow certain standards in order to keep their membership.
Real Estate is a service industry and its professionals success is grown by referrals. A real estate professional is a moral person who treats you legally and ethically as a client and not just as a deal.