What Is the Difference Between a Real Estate Salesperson, Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Agent and Realtor?

A real estate salesperson is someone who has taken a licensing class and passed the real estate salesperson exam. Salesperson’s tend to work with clients in the field.

A real estate broker is a person who has taken an additional class and exam, and has a few years experience in the field. Brokers tend to manage other agents.

A real estate agent is just another term for a broker or salesperson. Both salespersons and brokers help clients buy or sell real estate.

A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR provides ethical guidelines for their agents. Both agents and brokers can become a REALTOR®, but some choose not to join this trade group. Because there is a trademark on the word realtor, I cannot call myself a realtor, but I can use it in my title. Therefor, I can write Cyrus Karl, REALTOR®.

Some salespersons never choose to become brokers. In fact, many salespersons make far more money than their broker counterparts. To make things more complicated, us insiders generally refer to all licensed salespersons and brokers as brokers or agents.