Real estate investors spend a lot of their time liaising with real estate agents, brokers, and Realtors. While these professions have a lot of similarities regarding education, skills, and day to day operations, there are also crucial differences. As an investor, it is good to know what those differences are. Below, we’ve outlined how each of these professionals differ from each other.

Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who help buyers, sellers, and renters with the transactional and contractual aspects of buying, selling, and renting. They work on a commission that is usually a percentage of the sale or rental price of a property. In order to get a real estate license, aspiring agents must pass an exam on a state level after completing a predetermined number of training hours and courses. The number of mandated training hours varies state to stay but is generally between 30-90 hours. California requires agents to complete 135 hours of training.

The work of a real estate agent includes negotiating the best price for their clients (there are seller's agents and buyer's agents). They know how to price a home correctly based on market conditions, advertise and market clients’ homes to get them sold as quickly as possible. They also recommend lenders and home inspectors, and negotiate the terms of a contract.

Real Estate Brokers

A broker has all of the qualifications and licensing of an agent and then some. Real estate brokers have additional education and have completed additional training to qualify for a broker’s license. Generally, brokers have a more in-depth understanding of the laws and ethics associated with real estate, as well as a deeper understanding of tax laws. According to, “to sit for the broker’s exam and obtain licensure, real estate agents must already have a certain level of experience under their belt—typically, three years as a licensed real estate agent.”

There are a few different types of brokers. A principal broker is regarded as the head of their brokerage firm; they oversee all of the agents at the firm and maintain compliance. A managing broker oversees the daily operations and logistics of a firm such as supervising the administrative team. They may also play a role in hiring new agents. Finally, an associate broker has the higher brokerage certification mentioned above and works as a broker but does not oversee or maintain office staff.


Many people think that realtors and real estate agents are synonymous, but that is not the case. You may have noticed that the word realtor is often followed by the Registered Trademark symbol, like this: Realtor®. That is what makes all the difference. A realtor is a real estate agent that has become a member of the National Association of Realtors. This means that they must follow the NAR’s code of ethics and are held to a higher standard by the association. There are 17 rules that make up the code of ethics. Below are the first five for you to get a sense of them:

1. REALTORS®, when acting as principals in a real estate transaction, remain obligated by the duties imposed by the Code of Ethics.

2. The duties imposed by the Code of Ethics encompass all real estate-related activities and transactions whether conducted in person, electronically, or through any other means.

3. REALTORS®, in attempting to secure a listing, shall not deliberately mislead the owner as to market value.

4. REALTORS®, when seeking to become a buyer/tenant representative, shall not mislead buyers or tenants as to savings or other benefits that might be realized through use of the REALTOR®’s services.

5. REALTORS® may represent the seller/landlord and buyer/tenant in the same transaction only after full disclosure to and with informed consent of both parties.

If you are new to investing, it pays to know the difference between the aforementioned real estate professionals, as you will be working with these individuals closely and often. Remember, any of these professionals should be able to help you market your product, both online and offline.. This is valuable information for you, the investor, as you may be embarking on different types of investments, and may choose to work with some real estate professionals more than others based on their certifications and areas of expertise.