An AGENT is usually someone with a Real Estate Sales Persons license looking to become a REALTOR by joining up with a Real Estate Broker who is a REALTOR themselves and can grant the AGENT access to the local Association of Realtors to as mentioned above get them access to the most recent rules, regulations and contracts/forms.
A Real Esate BROKER can operate as an AGENT unbound to an Association of Realtors if they so choose so you can use a BROKER AGENT if you so choose with confidence they can legally represent you in a sale HOWEVER someone with a Sales Person License (not yet a Real Estate BROKER) is required to be associated with a Real Estate Broker in order to able to conduct Real Estate related business. Likewise what ever that Real Estate BROKER has decided on either being a part of a local Association of Realtors OR to operate independently the Real Estate Sales Person aka AGENT will need to comply in the same manor.
An agent in "common language" is a lic. real estate sales person, who is not a member of the national association.
The true definition of an "AGENT" is a Real Estate Broker, as ONLY a Real Estate Broker can actually act as an AGENT for another. Lic real estate sales persons have to work under a broker.
Kawain Payne, Realtor
Disclaimer---The information posted are for informational purposes only and are the opinions of the writer. As with all legal questions everyone is advised to seek proper council.
If you have further questions please reach out to me directly I am a Realtor
Prudential California Realty
Beverly Hills, CA
An 'agent', I assume, is someone who has obtained a license with the CA Dept of Real Estate but is working on their own. A purchase contract can be signed on a cocktail napkin if you want, but there is doubt that all disclosures (as required by federal and state mandates) may be met. An agent can be compensated on transactions completed either through their direct representation of a buyer or seller, or through referral. There is no monitoring of their performance or expertise.
Sue Archer, Broker
A real estate agent is licensed by the state they are working in and has to work within the laws of those states, but does not have to join NAR.
Each state also has their own association & then local areas within the state have associations too.
To find out more: http://www.realtor.org
(as an aside: realtor.com is not owned by NAR, long story but NAR licensed the name to the company Move for use an the website)
Vaughn W. Boyce
By the way, the word Realtor is always capitalized and it's a trademark, meaning the term â€œRealtorâ€ should not be used as a synonym for a real estate agent/broker or to describe an occupation.