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Who’s Who in the Real Estate Profession?

If you’re entering the real estate market for the first time, you may find the array of titles used by real estate professionals a little confusing. There are real estate agents, associate brokers, brokers and Realtors.
A real estate agent is anyone who earns a real estate license and is the first step for someone entering the real estate profession. This is a temporary license and the agent must attain a real estate associate broker’s license as a permanent real estate license by taking additional courses.
The Real Estate broker is a person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required laws and has passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers can work alone or they can hire agents to work for them.
If you have hired a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home, that agent typically reports to a broker. The broker is usually the manager and often owner of the real estate company and is recognized by the State as the “designated broker” of that real estate firm responsible for the overall operation and supervision of several real estate agents.
You can choose to work with a salesperson or a broker, but in any case you should take the time to interview your agent and ask for references. If you want to work with someone new to the profession, you may want to ask to meet the broker as well so you can feel comfortable that someone with experience will be representing your best interests.
The term Realtor refers to a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that they are bound to uphold the strict standards of the association and its code of ethics.

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