What is the difference between Real Estate Salesperson and Real Estate Broker
Before the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) was introduced in 1967, when brokers (and their agents) only represented sellers, the term "real estate salesperson" may have been more apt than it is today, given the various ways that brokers and agents now help buyers through the process rather than merely "selling" them a property. Legally, however, the term "salesperson" is still used in many states to describe a real estate agent.
Real estate education: To become licensed, most states require that an applicant take a minimum number of classes before taking the state licensing exam. Such education is often provided by real estate brokerages as a means to finding new agents.
In many states, the real estate agent (acting as an agent of a broker) must disclose to prospective buyers and sellers who represents whom. See below for a broker/agent's relationship to sellers and their relationship to buyers.
While some people may refer to any licensed real estate agent as a real estate broker, a licensed real estate agent is a professional who has obtained either a real estate salesperson's license or a real estate broker's license.
In the United States, there are commonly two levels of real estate professionals licensed by the individual states, but not by the federal government:
Real estate salesperson - When a person first becomes licensed to become a real estate agent, they obtain a real estate salesperson's license (some states use the term, "broker") from the state in which they will practice. To obtain a real estate license, the candidate must take specific coursework (of between 40 and 90 hours) and pass a state exam on real estate law and practice. To work, salespersons must be associated with (and act under the authority of) a real estate broker.
Many states also have reciprocal agreements with other states, allowing a licensed individual from a qualified state to take the second state's exam without completing the course requirements, or, in some cases, take only a state law exam.
Real estate broker - After gaining some years of experience in real estate sales, a salesperson may decide to become licensed as a real estate broker (or Principal/qualifying broker) in order to own, manage or operate their own brokerage. In addition, some states allow college graduates to apply for a broker license without years of experience. College graduates fall into this category once they have completed the state required courses as well. California allows licensed attorneys to become brokers upon passing the broker exam, without having to take the requisite courses required of agent. Commonly more course work and a broker's state exam on real estate law must be passed. Upon obtaining a broker's license, a real estate agent may continue to work for another broker in a similar capacity as before (often referred to as a broker associate or associate broker) or take charge of his/her own brokerage and hire other salespersons (or broker) licensees. Becoming a branch office manager may or may not require a broker's license. Some states such as New York allow licensed attorneys to become real estate brokers without taking any exam. In some states, such as Colorado, there are no "salespeople", as all licensees are brokers.
A Realtor is a real estate professional, usually a broker or salesperson, who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). There are 1.3 million Realtors, mostly in the United States, and an additional 1 million licensed real estate agents who are not members of NAR and cannot use the term "realtor".