Difference Between Broker & Realtor

If you are a little confused about the difference between real estate brokers and REALTORS, then we can help. Although both are licensed real estate agents who help clients buy and sell their homes, brokers run their own business, while overseeing an office and a team of agents.

Comparing Brokers to Realtors®

Both brokers and Realtors® assist people in the selling and purchasing of residential or commercial properties. The main difference between the two is that brokers must go through a more strenuous training program, which allows them to run their own real estate business. Other similarities and differences are explored below.

Job Title Education Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Broker High School Diploma; State License; Broker's License $56,790 2%
Realtor® High School Diploma; State License; National Association of Realtors® License $44,090 3%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Brokers vs. Realtors®

Brokers and Realtors® are both licensed real estate agents who assist clients in the renting, selling, and buying of properties. A Realtor® is a real estate agent who belongs to and follows the code of the National Association of Realtors®. Although Realtors® may be either an agent or a broker, the brokers are licensed to run their own real estate business, with a team of real estate agents or Realtors® working on their behalf.


Brokers are real estate agents and Realtors® who own and manage their own real estate business. In addition to working with clients to find them a home that fits their budget, or sell their home at the appropriate price, brokers must manage their business and a team of agents. Brokers will receive a commission on all sales made by themselves or by their agents. Brokers must have a state and broker's license. A college degree is not required, but may be useful.

Job responsibilities of a broker include:

  • Maintain positive relationships with sellers, buyers, and financial institutions
  • Assess value by visiting properties and conducting market research
  • Assist sellers through pricing, staging, and advertising
  • Assist buyers by taking them to properties, accurately describing homes, and negotiating price


A Realtor® is a National Association of Realtors® licensed sales agent who helps clients buy, sell, or rent homes and commercial properties. When working with a buyer, these agents determine their clients' budget, show them potential options, and negotiate price on their behalf. When representing a seller, Realtors® aid in determining a fair market price, showing the property to potential buyers, and presenting the seller with offers. Realtors® must take classes and pass an exam to become certified by the state in which they are working.

Job responsibilities of a Realtor® include:

  • Discover and maintain relationships with potential clients
  • Manage paperwork, including leases, deeds, and contracts
  • Oversee negotiations between sellers and buyers
  • Market properties through advertising and staging open houses

Related Careers

If you are looking for additional options in the real estate industry, other possibilities tend to be more focused on business and less on the selling side of things. Real estate title officer and real estate law consultant are two such options.

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