The term Realtoras become ubiquitous in the public for defining all kinds of real estate professionals. Although it's the commonly used term, it's not appropriate in many cases. This should serve as a guide to buyers and sellers as to the definition of these real estate professional designations.

Agent: A person who represents you in a real estate transaction. This is a very generic term. It literally means that you have an agency relationship with that person. There are many types of agents.

Salesperson: In Washington state, this is your most common type of Agent. A salesperson is licensed by the state to sell real estate.The state requires real estate classes to be taken and a salesperson exam to be passed.

Broker: A broker isalso licensed by the state. Usually, a salesperson/agent takes a large course load of classes to become a broker, including Real Estate Law, Brokerage Management, and Business Management. Brokers in Washington are required to have at least 2 years of experience as a full-time salesperson/agent (there are a few exceptions). Brokers also have to pass another exam, this time with higher qualifying scores. Brokers can manage a real estate brokerage.

Associate Broker: A broker who has been licensed by the state, but works within an office that has a different Designated Broker.

Designated Broker: The broker who is responsible for all activities of a real estate brokerage.

Realtor/strong> A member of the National Association of Realtor this is a designation of membership, not a state-licensed position. Agents and Brokers must take extra course work in Ethics and adhere to a more stringent guideline of rules for doing business.

In short:

Anyone who represents you is an agent.
That agent can be a salesperson or a broker.
Any of those people can be a Realtorbut are not unless they join the organization.

Oh, and by the way - it's "Real - tor". Not "Real-a-tor".