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Real Estate Agent

by Cristina Oprean

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What is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is a professional who is licensed to sell real estate. Licensed agents are regulated by the state or province in which they sell properties.

Real estate agent vs. Realtor®

There is usually a misunderstanding between the terms real estate agent and Realtor, which are not exactly the same. A real estate agent is fully licensed and authorized to legally practice real estate in the state or province in which they are licensed. Meanwhile, a Realtor is also a licensed agent who additionally belongs to the country’s association of Realtors, as well as the association of the state where the agent practices.

In the U.S., the organization that Realtors belong to is the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Each state also has its own association of Realtors. In Canada, the national organization that agents join to be a Realtor is the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Each province also has its own association of Realtors.

Real Estate agents are not required to be Realtors, although it makes practicing business considerably easier for them. When real estate agents become Realtors, they have to abide by the association’s code of ethics, which gives the consumer a higher level of confidence and assurance of integrity and professionalism.

Real estate agent vs. Real estate broker

Another area that merits clarification is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker. Real estate brokers are allowed to employ real estate agents to work under their brokerage name and license. There are also stricter requirements of experience and financial accountability to qualify for a real estate broker’s license than there are for real estate agents.

Additionally, a real estate agent is required to work under a real estate broker, and they are not allowed to represent sellers or buyers directly. Any commissions earned by agents when selling real estate are paid to the broker. Then, the broker, in turn, pays the agent their portion.


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