Hey Cora, I noticed that some real estate professionals call themselves Realtors and other call themselves “licensees” and others “sales people” and other agents” and still others call themselves real estate brokers! I want to know which is it and are they all the same? Signed Realty Confused
Dear Realty: I understand that how this could be challenging to understand. So, let’s start with the simple one;
REALTOR: A realtor is a name given to a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors or NAR. When we are a members of NAR, there are many benefits and responsibilities. We have to adhere to their code of ethics, pay our dues promptly, be active in our community and be properly educated. There are nice benefits for Realtors too. They offer some types
of insurance for Realtors, education, designations, conventions and access to political resources.
Licensee: This was a name give by the State of Alaska to all real estate professionals who are licensed in the state. Regardless if the licensee is a Realtor or not. To sell real estate in the State of Alaska, you must be a licensee – this means that you hold a license through the state of Alaska, you are not required
to be a Realtor. You can add Realtor on top of that license. Two different things, one a State term, the other a trade organization term.
Sales People: This is generic term for a licensee, meaning they are licensed in the State of Alaska, they may or may not be a Realtor, also, and they are legally able and capable of selling real estate. This is a name that particular real estate professional would chose for themselves; “Sales Person or Sales
Professional”. Sometimes, if a licensee works with a team of licensee’s this name is assigned by the head or team leader.
Agent: This is an old term that the State of Alaska thought was confusing to the public. The State of Alaska Real Estate Commission, changed the work “Agent” to “licensee”. Here is why; Mr and Mrs Househunter were talking with friends and said, “my real estate agent said I should get pre-qualified to
purchase my home.” The term ‘agent’ made is sound like the licensee worked for Mr and Mrs Househunter, when indeed what it meant was that they were the ‘agent’ for the broker of XYZ Realty.
The agent was an agent for the broker – or owner of the real estate company, not Mr and Mrs Househunter. Just like an insurance agent is an agent for the company that they work for. This gives them the ability to sell insurance and sign policies for the company. So, take the Geico Gecko, he is an agent for Geico, he represents that company and, if he was real, could sign for Geico, the company to
issue insurance to some nice client. But the Gecko doesn’t represent the client. The Gecko has to follow the rules of his company in order to write the insurance policy and therefore represents his company. So, to clear up this misunderstanding, the state stepped in and wanted to make it very clear who a real estate licensee represents. So now, real estate professionals must have their clients sign a document before they show property, stating who they represent, buyer or seller or both if all parties agree. No longer are real estate professionals “agents to the brokers”, we have to follow the rules, and policy set by the broker, but we can represent buyers and sellers or both, just like an attorney. Us old dogs who have been in the business for 20+ years still sometimes, slip over into “agent speak” and throw around the term sometimes, it’s hard to teach old dogs you know!
Broker: There are many ways this is used. There is Associate Broker, which is what I am, this just means that I have gone on to get your brokers license. It’s extra education and an additional state exam and must be in business for at least 2 years. Brokers can also be Realtors. Remember Realtor is a trade
organization term and can be combined with any state real estate license or brokers license. Managing Broker or Broker in Charge: This is a broker that runs the office in which they work. The manage the licensees, and help them with problems etc. They check the files that each licensee has on
each property. They oversee. It’s a huge job! I have done it before.
Broker-Owner: This is a Broker who not only has that additional brokers license, but also owns the company and in some cases has no licensee’s under them and other cases has many, many licensee working under them. Some Broker Owners may have Managing Brokers that do the day to day work
with the licensees and others, take on that task themselves.
So, there you have it. How do you feel – Enlightened? Overwhelmed? Educated? Bored? Keep this in mind, The Valley Board of Realtors is an organization that provides education to Realtors, offers Scholarships to high school graduates in the community, raises funds to help organizations in our community, participates in parades and gives generously to local non-profits etc. The Realtor Code of
Ethics is an extensive document that firmly demands a Realtors best efforts to help their clients and community. Realtors pay to be part of it and attend monthly meetings and vote for the best Realtors to represent them on their board. The Valley Board of Realtors is an active organization that is part of the
State of Alaska Board of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. They are an influential group locally and national protecting the rights of real estate ownership. So, what I am saying is that Realtors may have that extra layer of professionalism that you have been looking for.
Call me if you know
someone buying or selling! I love to help!