(June 15, 2018) If you are in the market to buy or sell a home, you are probably going to retain the assistance of a real estate professional.
Practitioners in the field of real estate can hold various titles, and each of the titles comes with a different set of associated educational requirements.
The National Association of Realtors provides the following breakdown of the various titles for real estate professionals:
• Real estate agent: Anyone who earns a real estate license can be called a real estate agent, whether that license is as a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker. State requirements vary, but in all states you must take a minimum number of classes and pass a test to earn your license.
• Realtor: A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.
• Real estate broker: A person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required by state laws and has passed a brokers license exam. Brokers can work alone or they can hire agents to work for them.
• Real estate salesperson: Another name for a real estate agent.
• Real estate associate broker: Someone who has taken additional education classes and earned a brokers license but chooses to work under the management of a broker.
Most buyers and sellers will work with a real estate agent, an associate broker, or maybe even the broker. But the broker has additional responsibilities because he/she is the person ultimately responsible for the actions of the agents that hang their license at his/her real estate brokerage.
The broker also handles the earnest money deposits on transactions and holds these funds in a dedicated escrow account.
Real estate brokers (whether an associate or the designated broker) do have higher education requirements. In Maryland, the difference in education between agents and brokers is:
• A real estate salesperson must take 60 hours of classes and pass an exam with both state and national sections.
• A broker must take 135 hours of broker-specific classes, pass an exam with both state and national sections, and have actively worked as a real estate salesperson for three years.
— Lauren Bunting is a licensed Associate Broker with Bunting Realty, Inc. in Berlin.