When you are buying a house, you will most likely want to contact someone experienced in real estate. There are many professionals in this industry, including real estate agents, real estate brokers, and realtors. Here are ways to distinguish between the different professionals, as well as additional info on what it means when someone is a realtor.
Real Estate Broker
The first type of real estate professional you might deal with is a real estate broker. One of the primary differences between a broker and other professionals in the real estate industry is that they will work with both buyers and sellers. They might help you as the future homeowner find a home, but they might also help the seller, and become an intermediary between the two of you. A real estate broker has basic real estate knowledge, just like agents, but their courses then advance to those meant specifically for brokers.
Instead of someone coming to them, they are often in charge of seeking out buyers and sellers of property. You may post an ad looking for a home on a popular website, then have a broker contact you about buying a home. The location will determine the exact requirements to become a real estate broker, though it tends to be more training and education than when someone is a real estate agent.
Real Estate Agent
Many people call a real estate agent and broker by the same name, but their qualifications and job duties are often different. An agent is someone that works in real estate, whether they are helping you to buy your first home, or helping another couple sell their home to prospective buyers. Most people in the real estate industry are agents, though they might later decide to become another real estate professional. The basic education and testing allows them to become a licensed real estate agent.
A realtor (like those at Homes for Sale by Coldwell Banker Complete Real Estate) is someone who is a real estate agent, but has gone on to be part of an official association for real estate professionals. This requires an additional application process, and in some cases, more specialized training. Traditional agents do not belong to this association. Their job is extremely similar to a real estate agent; it is just their qualifications that is different. A realtor is also a real estate agent, but a real estate agent is not always a realtor.
The main difference between a real estate agent or broker is that the agent works specifically for the buyer or seller, while the broker is often a neutral party between the two. You may have a broker contact you as their client is selling a home that fits you, but if you have an agent, they are going to look at multiple homes and find you the perfect one.