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Real Estate Brokers, Agents and Realtors – What’s the Difference?

Real Estate Brokers, Agents and Realtors – What’s the Difference?

Many people use the terms agent, broker and realtor interchangeably. However, there is a difference between the different types of real estate professionals.


What is a Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent has a license to help people sell, buy and rent real estate of all different types. The training requirements for agents varies by state. In South Carolina, one has to complete 60 hours of pre-licensing training to take the real estate agent exam. The exam focuses on federal real estate laws, state and local real estate laws and general real estate concepts and principles. Within one year of passing the exam, one must apply for the provisional salesperson license. This provisional license allows the new agent to begin working under a broker-in-charge and they must complete 30 more hours of training in the first year of having a provisional license to continue working as an agent.


What is a Real Estate Broker?

A real estate broker has taken education and training beyond that required for an agent. Requirements for brokers vary by state. In South Carolina, to become a broker, one must have completed 150 hours of training (90 hours of which are the hours required to be an agent, see above). A person applying to be a broker must have a minimum of three years experience working as an active real estate agent (of the previous five years) and must pass a broker’s license exam. After passing the exam, the broker has one year to apply for their broker license. The distinction between agents and brokers is important because of the additional training and education a broker undertakes. Additional topics included in broker training include real estate law, how the laws apply to brokerages, property management, construction and real estate investing.


What is a Realtor?

A Realtor is a real estate professional, whether broker or agent, who has been accepted as a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Members agree to follow the standards set forth by the NAR and agree to abide by their code of ethics. This means a Realtor is a special designation that shows the agent or broker has been accepted as a member of the NAR.

If it sounds like real estate professionals go through a lot of training, it’s because they do! Real estate can be a complex industry and it’s important for any agent, broker or Realtor to have the necessary education and experience to help guide their clients through the process and help them have a successful real estate transaction.

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