Real Estate Titles and Their Meanings

Jul 12, 2017

Entering the real estate market for the first time can be intimidating, to say the least. There’s the research, the financing, the pre-qualified mortgage, agents, inspections, appraisals, etc. Even looking for a real estate professional can be difficult.

Do you need an agent? A broker? A Salesperson? A REALTOR®?

Is there even a difference between these titles? Turns out there is a difference and it can have a big impact on your experience. The profession of real estate is managed by the state governments. Each state has its own specific rules and requirements for earning a license. The industry does have several titles across the states that might be beneficial to know on your home-buying journey.

Real Estate Agent

The agent is anyone who has earned a real estate license. That can be anything from a salesperson to a broker. Each state requires a minimum number of classes/hours and a test that needs to be passed before they can become an agent. A real estate agent is required to be working under a licensed broker.

Real Estate Broker

The broker has taken his or her education even further beyond the agent level. Not only have they passed the agent exam required by the state laws, but they must also pass a brokers’ license exam. They must fulfill all of the license requirements which can sometimes equate to more than 270 classroom hours in real estate courses. This person acts as an intermediary between the buyers and the sellers of the property. They can work independently or have other agents work for them.

Real Estate Associate Broker

The Associate Broker is someone who is either working towards his or her brokers’ license or already has it. They are required to work under a licensed broker but many will have the additional benefits of the brokerage profits, which they agent doesn’t receive their commission.


The REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. There are more than one million REALTORS®. Being a part of the association requires certain standards and ethics.They must also belong to both the local association and the state or board association. They are expected to be the experts of the real estate industry.