Realtors vs real estate brokers: What’s the difference?


They might seem like the same thing, but there’s actually some big differences between a realtor and a real estate broker. Moving is a confusing and stressful time, so let’s get some clarity!

What is a Real Estate Broker?

A real estate broker is a highly educated person. They obtained a real estate broker license for their state which involves testing and schooling. They could work as an independent, or they might start their own brokerage and hire agents to work for them.

They will oversee the employees on their team, and they will hold the buyer’s deposit in escrow. They have more of an ownership role in the company.

What is a Realtor?

A realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors which is a federally registered group. This is a group that real estate brokers can join, along with property managers and appraisers for real estate. The NAR has high standards of operation and they hold their agents to them. They are looking to maker sure that clients have a better experience when working with a realtor.

Not only do realtors have to go through all of the training and schooling to hold a title of real estate broker, they then have to go through additional learning to become a realtor. They have a course every 4 years that the member has to retake. Additionally, there is a strict code of ethics that’s enforced.

Essentially, a realtor is someone who has gone through all of the testing to become a top-tier real estate broker.