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Real Estate Vocabulary - Who Are The Players

When beginning a new venture, there is always a new language to learn. In real estate knowing the right language can be the difference between making good choices, and having serious problems down the road. To help buyers and sellers get on the right track, here are a few key words so you, too, can tell the different between real estate personnel.

The definitions here are for the most typical use, though in some states the definitions of Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Broker may be different. It is wise of confirm what an agent or broker means by that before entering into a business relationship with them.

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is an independent real estate sales person. Typically they are required to be licensed by the state. The majority of Real Estate Agents are employed by or under contract with a real estate broker. Real Estate Agents earn a percentage of the broker’s commission when they sell a home.

Real Estate Broker

A Real Estate Broker has undergone further training for additional real estate licensing. Real Estate Brokers are the homeowner’s direct link to the real estate market. While they do work as sales people, just like Agents, they spend an equal or greater amount of time searching for new homes to sell. Brokers are frequently in charge of supervising the purchasing process and often combine their real estate business with law, insurance, financing or some other related practice.


Frequently in the real estate business a Real Estate Agent or Broker will call himself a Realtor. An agent or broker is qualified to do this when they become members of the National Association of Realtors. The NAR is the worlds largest professional association. In order to be a member of the NAR, and there fore be a Realtor, agents and brokers must agree to follow the NAR’s strict Code of Ethics. This Code of Ethics protects buyers and sellers from unscrupulous business people. Making a point to work with a Realtor instead of an unaffiliated Real Estate Agent or Broker is one small guarantee that a buyer or seller will be treated well.

MLS or Multiple Listing Service

The MLS is a service that real estate brokers and agents have access to. It is a complete listing of all of the real estate available for sale in the area. Because maintaining this system isn’t free, there is a cost to subscribe. By working with an agent, buyers automatically has access to the MLS in addition to the expert advice of a real estate professional. With the technological advances of the past twenty years, accessing the MLS for cross country buyers is as simple as helping someone within the community. This streamlines the home buying process for dozens of buyers every day

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