Home Buying in Fremont>Question Details

Stephanie, Home Buyer in Fremont, CA

Is there a difference between Realtor and Broker Associate? Who do I go with?

Asked by Stephanie, Fremont, CA Thu May 24, 2012

I read about their differences. Some say they are the same and some say different. How do I know if one is knowledgeable compared to another?

Help the community by answering this question:


Let's give credit where credit is due. A Realtor is either an agent or broker who abides by the Code of Ethics set forth by the National Association of Realtors.

An agent is one who hass a DRE Salesperson license, while a broker has a higher level license with DRE, simply called broker license. An agent needs to hang his license with a broker in order to practice real estate.

A broker does not have to hang his license with anyone, and can practice real estate on his own. However, a broker may choose to hang his license with another brokerage company, possibly to avail of benefits such as training, admin support, company name - he is then a broker associate.

Who would you go with? This is where license hierarcy takes a step back, and trust and confidence become the more important considerations. Education, additional titles & designations, are of course important, but in the end, you - the client - will have to feel comfortable working with your chosen Realtor.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
With the foregoing, it does simply state that once you started with a realtor, please give him/her your confidence because he will be directing you as a client to the path that will give you the optimal condition of realty satisfaction.
Flag Thu May 31, 2012
You have seen the answers, the differences;
To qualify your criteria for your ultimate Agent; I would suggest that any Agent or Broker, who has been working through this miasma the last 5 years, would have the battle-scars and medals to be worthy of your consideration.

Your interrogation into their personality and communication skills would be the next step.
Trust your judgement; an Agent should meet YOUR standards; only your decision matters.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
I disagree, I have 20 years sales experience, 2 years Sales Associate, and just got my Broker course done to be a Broker Associate and I have more battle-scars ... and know more than easily most "veterans". Time means nothing it's like the military, some move up the ranks in two years what takes many a lifetime to accomplish. Other than that, the other two pieces of advice are right on point. It is vital to ask for references, and see what is in it for the seller when hiring one of us, the guy or gal who has a plan, who knows the comps, and actually answers the phone is vital as well. Test your prospective agent, call or email, or both using another number and see how long the response time is. I pride myself in a maximum 2 hour return time which typically only happens if I am taking a test or with a buyer/seller/prospect, I dedicate 200% focus on the person I am with and I take notes, I don't redundantly do the same things over and over again.
Flag Fri Jul 11, 2014
An associate broker has gone for the highest level of their education in Real Estate. They are committed to being the best they can be in their field.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 21, 2013
REALTOR simply means the agent or broker are member of the National Association of REALTORS and local REALTOR Boards. Agents who do not participate with the REALTOR organization are typically called Thompson Brokers who will subscribe to the MLS data systems, but they do not belong to the REALTOR organizations so they do not necessary abide by the stardard of conduct which governs the majority of agents and brokers who participate in the professional REALTOR organizations on a National and local level.

An agent works under a broker, a broker may have their own office or they may work under another broker as a broker-associate.

“The most important thing a buyer can do is first of all work with a buyer broker.” As stated by AARP and the Consumer Federation of America from REALTOR® News.

Typically there is no extra/hidden or additional cost for you to obtain “exclusive” buyer broker services in your real estate transaction. Check with the brokerage firm to see if they require a commitment in writing or a retainer fee. Neither of these are necessary to find someone willing to represent you as a buyer agent or broker, just be sure you dis-qualify their office listings as anything that would be of interest to you, so there is no conflict of interest if they are a listing agent. You won’t want them changing of sides or status with regards you originally obtaining “single agent” representation from the agent or broker. It is illegal in Florida for an agent to work as a Dual Agent representing both seller and buyer at the same time. Some States may still allow this, but it is not the best relationship for a buyer, because the agent is caught between the two sides.

On my informative homepage http://www.FloridaBuyerBuyer.com you will learn about:

The #1 Mistake Real Estate Buyers Make (Explains buyers relationship to agents/brokers in FL)
21 Critical Mistakes Buyers Make
20 Things the Listing Agent Does Not Tell You about Short Sales
Short Sale Fraud
Foreclosures - the Wild West of Real Estate
Unrealistic Buyer Expectations
Buyer Beware
Chinese Drywall

There is no obligation required of you to access this important free educational information on my homepage. The site is informative but does not give the buyers the benefit of my 30 years experience working in the Southwest Florida real estate market unless they call me to schedule time for me to work with them. So, don’t hesitate to call. I am the broker who will actually assist you in finding the best property in your price range and have extensive experience working in 2 counties to help you make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck. It’s best to schedule my time in advance.
On my general “Search Property” link you will be able to search property anywhere in Florida. Please see “Search thru MLS Data” on my homepage to for instructions on how this search link works.
On the “Search thru MLS Data” on my homepage you will find instructions on how to access the different searching options including local REALTOR® MLS data to “search like an agent.” Once you set up a profile on these links, you can save your search and you will automatically be notified when new listings or price changes become available which meet your criteria. It is important that you give yourself at least 15 minutes to sign in and complete an entire search prior to leaving the system in order to set up the program properly. Your search will then be saved and you will be able to change your criteria anytime in the future. I recommend scrolling down the criteria choices and putting a “don’t want” in the short sale box. You want to get a good idea of what is available, don’t base your decision to buy on a short sale.

Many homes built between 2000 and 2009, including some renovated homes in Southwest Florida were built with Chinese Drywall. I hope you will take time to learn more about this serious problem at the Chinese Drywall link on my homepage.
I assure you it does not cost you more to obtain my specialized buyer broker services. In the State of Florida only a buyer broker can legally negotiate for a lower price for the buyer and must take care of the buyers’ best interest through out the transaction. A buyer broker is required to give the buyer loyalty, confidentiality, care and diligence, accounting, disclosure of all known pertinent facts and your financial status is protected.
This is my 30th year selling real estate in the Southwest Florida. I have been working as an “exclusive” buyer broker since 1993 and licensed to sell real estate in Florida since 1981. Please feel free to call me anytime on my toll free number 1-800-283-7393.
I am friendly and easy to talk to.
Beverly Howe, ABR, GRI, TRC Informative homepage: http://www.floridabuyerbroker.com
Owner – Broker
Email: broker@floridabuyerbr
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
An agent becomes a Realtor once he/she becomes a member of the National Association of Realtors. An associate broker is one who has a broker's license but chooses to be affiliated with another sponsoring broker rather than opening his/her own office. An agent works under a broker; regardless agent or asoociate broker/broker, one should expect the same level of service; therefore choose the person you like best.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
You would need to go with an agent (realtor or broker associate) whom you can communicate with and can work well together. I would suggest that you interview them both and let them know what you expect from them, ask how they usually work with their clients, references from previous clients etc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 10, 2016
Use InBedrock.com to fully understand + analyze all real costs of homeownership, including purchase price, down payment options, closing costs (title insurance, bank fees, inspection/appraisal, legal), mortgage financing- interest rate, term, points, pre approval requirements, RE Taxes, HO Insurance, utilities/maintenance/condo fees, selling costs (broker commission, capital gains tax, state transfer taxes). InBedrock.com is educational, in-depth, easy-to-understand. Invaluable especially for serious first-time homebuyers.
Web Reference: http://InBedrock.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 7, 2016
In California, the exams and eligibility requirements for Broker and Sales Agent are different. Both licenses allow for the representation of buyers and sellers. The Broker license involves additional privileges---one of which is that a Broker is not required to be affiliated with a Broker. I'm a California attorney, Broker (by license) and Broker Associate (meaning I am a Broker who chooses to be affiliated with a Broker). This post is not intended as legal advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 7, 2016
A Broker Associate holds a Broker license. In California, the exams and eligibility requirements for Broker and sales agent are different. Both licenses allow for the representation of buyers and sellers, with the Broker license having additional privileges--one of which is that a Broker is not required to be affiliated with a Broker. I'm a California attorney, Broker, and Broker Associate. This post is not intended as legal advice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 7, 2016
The most important thing a buyer can do is first of all work with a buyer broker. As stated by AARP and the Consumer Federation of America from REALTOR® News.

An Associate is an Agent for the broker, as the word Agent is often described as someone who works under the supervision of a Broker. A Broker/Associate means an Associate or Agent has the training and license to work as an independent broker or to open and manage their own brokerage firm. However, they choose to work under the supervision of an existing brokerage company who then is the supervisory broker for the Broker/Associate.

Being a REALTOR means the Agent/Associate, Broker/Associate or Broker are members of the National, State and Local REALTOR associations. As member we all agree to abide by the same standard of high ethics regarding the service provided to the customers and other REALTOR members.

In the State of Florida only a buyer broker can negotiate for the lowest price and best terms for the buyer. When you work with an Exclusive Buyer Broker, the brokerage firm does not list any homes, there is never a conflict of interest in your transaction. Only an exclusive buyer broker can guarantee the buyer financial confidentiality. Giving up their financial ability or motivation to buy could cost the buyer thousands of dollars! The State of Florida assumes that all buyers know all agents are transactions brokers who do not represent anyone one in the transaction and that the agents have very limited if any liability in the transaction. Unless, a real estate agent or broker tells you they will represent you exclusively, the real estate agent is not required to disclose to you that they are a transaction agent or broker.

I am an Exclusive Buyer Broker and owner of the original Florida Buyer Broker. There is no extra/hidden cost or buyer broker agreement for you to obtain my Exclusive Buyer Broker services, other firms may have fees. True buyer brokers do not list property for sale. So, there is never a conflict of interest between the buyer and the seller. I am paid by the shared commission already built into the price of the property by the seller and the listing agent which is shared with all other agents including buyer brokers. I am also a REALTOR

On my informative homepage http://www.FloridaBuyerBroker.com you will learn about:

The #1 Mistake Real Estate Buyers Make

21 Critical Mistakes Buyers Make

20 Things the Listing Agent Does Not Tell You about Short Sales

Short Sale Fraud

Foreclosures - the Wild West of Real Estate

Unrealistic Buyer Expectations

Buyer Beware

Toxic Chinese Drywall (A considerable amount of Chinese Drywall was used in the Estero area)

Link to the REALTOR® data base system to search homes in Collier and Lee counties.

I have been licensed to sell real estate in Southwest Florida since 1981. That’s 31 years! I have worked as a buyer’s agent since 1993 and opened my own exclusive buyer broker firm in 1998.

I am friendly and easy to talk too.

When you are getting ready to make one of the most significant investments of your life, ask Beverly Howe first! I will be happy to answer all your questions.

Beverly Howe, CIPS, ABR, GRI, TRC, CNE

Florida Buyer Broker

Owner – Exclusive Buyer Broker

Certified Negotiation Expert

1031 Exchange Specialist

Certified International Property Specialist

Accredited Buyer’s Representative

Graduate of the REALTOR® Institute

Email: broker@floridabuyerbroker.com

Local Direct: 239-601-2013

Toll Free: 1-800-283-7393

Cell phone: 239-269-2766
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 8, 2013
They are both equally knowledgeable as far as their license is concerned. Both are required to take the same exam to obtain their license. The main difference is a broker associate chooses to register and work under the direction of another broker. Knowledge can be identified several different ways.

Some real estate professionals obtain their knowledge through books and studying and others obtain their knowledge through experience of different real life situations and research. Either way, knowledge is important but it is ongoing due to changing market conditions, changes in laws etc..
What the real focus should be is if the real estate professional is honest enough to let you know if he/she is unsure of the questions you have and if they have a reliable source or know where to go to provide you the correct answers.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 7, 2013
A Realtor(r) is a member of the Association of Realtors and has a code of ethics to uphold. They are also members of the National, State and County Boards of Realtors and must pay dues. This also provides them with membership to the MLS and secure lock boxes.

A Broker Associate can also be called an Associate Broker or Affiliate Broker depending on the region. This means that the person is a licensed Real Estate Agent. A Broker has a higher level of Real Estate education and is licensed to manage and office and its agents.

Some rural agencies are not members of the National Association of Realtors. Most residential Brokerages are members. Look for the Realtor(r) logo.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 21, 2013
A Realtor(r) is a member of an Association of Realtors(r). Some areas may require licensees to become a member. A Broker Associate or called in other areas, Affiliate Broker, is a licensed Real Estate Agent. An agent must always be licensed and they may be a member of an Association of Realtors. Neither gauges their level of knowledge. The answer lies here: ask how long they've been in the business and if they work in Real Estate full time (Trust me: you want a full time agent). Ask for referrals, google them to find out if they have an online presence in their field. This will show how their level of investment and may also have information regarding their Real Estate background.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jul 1, 2012
Yes, a Realtor is a trade designation granted through the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to an individual who has obtained a real estate license through a state licensing agency and met other requirements of NAR and local Realtor boards. A Broker-Associate is someone who has earned their broker's license by meeting education requirements that exceed those necessary to obtain a sales associate real estate sales license. The Broker Associate works under another principle broker. One can be a Broker-Associate and not be a Realtor. There is no requirement for a real estate licensee to belong to the National Association of Realtors, but there are many benefits to belonging. Hope that helps.

Fred Strickroot, Realtor®, MBA, CDPE
Florida Lic. Real Estate Brokerage
2154 Seven Springs Blvd, Suite 103
Trinity, FL 34655
Web Reference: http://www.realtor.org/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 30, 2012
There are 2 basic differences between a realtor a & broker associate. A realtor can be an independent contractor whereas a broker associate works in a bigger scale as a probable lender. The latter functions in a more macroeconmic leverage.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 31, 2012
Hi Stephanie,

"Is there a difference between Realtor and Broker Associate?"

Yes, and no. One can be both, or not.

Generally, under CA state law one must obtain a real estate license in order to represent another in a real estate transaction (lawyers are exempted from this rule).

The primary distinction of any Realtor® is they have a real estate license by taking required classes and passing a written test - but most importantly - they must also subscribe to the Code of Ethics published by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). Typically, Realtors® are also members of state and local association of Realtors® and further agree to abide by the bylaws, rules and regulations of those associations.

The full Code of Ethics can be found at http://www.Realtor.org/mempolweb.nsf/pages/code

For those of us which seek to bring a higher level of professionalism to the real estate industry becoming a Realtor® is something we take on with pride knowing that we are part of the solution and not the problems that erode the trust of the profession. In fact, some states may revoke the real estate license of an individual uses the term Realtor® without actually being a member of NAR.

Realtors® not only pledge themselves to the NAR Code of Ethics; and Standards of Practice covering duties to Clients, Customers, the Public and fellow Realtors®, as a group, we also support housing affordability, contribute to and distribute disaster relief aid, provide scholarships, and support laws promoting homeownership and private property rights.

In my view, this is the difference of “being in the business of Real Estate” and being in the profession of Real Estate.

“Who do I go with?” & “How do I know if one is knowledgeable compared to another?”

If you desire to work with a local Realtor® there will be plenty to pick from we respond to your post.

Reviewing their Trulia profiles, blog posts, and answers to questions should be very helpful. Furthermore, each Agent's personal websites will likely list accreditations and client testimonials. These sites, will give you good insight into the depth of knowledge and experience of each individual.

Next, ask to meet with one or more Realtors® to get a feel for how well you would work together based on your individual needs.

As you now know, DRE licensees are NOT bound to a Code of Ethics; only Realtors® take that oath. The one page version can be viewed here:

You can check to make sure an Agent is a Realtor® by going here:

You can check the status of a DRE Licensee and their Broker (and past violations) here:

You can check for Desist and Refrain Orders, and Unlicensed Activities here:

While not required to receive excellent representation, consider searching for a Realtor® who is also an Accredited Buyers Representative here:

Best Regards, Steve
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
Call me when you have a moment. http://www.BayAreaHome.info 510-938-8562
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
A "Realtor" is not a NAR member. If I may explain...
There is no such thing as a "realtor" or "Realtor," except as slang terms for an agent. The National Association of REALTORS(R) created the term "REALTOR(R)" (and related terms) in 1916 to distinguish its members from non-members within the real estate profession. The word did not exist before then and the use of "realtor" or "Realtor" as slang titles by a real estate professional does not mean that person is a NAR member. If they are a NAR member and want to identify themselves as such, they are required to use the proper form of the mark (for details, look at NAR's Membership Marks Manual - see link below).
Regarding the difference between a broker-associate and a Realtor, it's impossible to judge. A broker-associate is someone who holds a broker license and works for another broker, a "Realtor" is an undefined slang term.
As noted in previous responses to your question, in picking an agent I'd forget the titles and the little letters behind the name on a business card and ask for evidence of success doing the type of work you want the agent to do for you. Like many brokers, we keep a notebook (physical and electronic) showing all the MLS listings or closing statements (for non-MLS deals) for transactions that we've completed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
Great info.
Thought I'd add a little;

As others mentioned, being a Broker means more education, however designations such as: CRS & GRI also involve extra education.

Bottom line, you should interview several agents / brokers and keep in mind that they should have several years of full time experience, designations (Broker, CRS, or GRI), and see how they work with their clients. (do they have little, none, or a lot of interaction with their client during the showing & during the escrow process)

Spend a little time and meet a few agents/brokers and see for yourself.

Good luck Stephanie,

Brian Ripp
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Becoming a Realtor usually requires membership in various organizations at a local level and subscription to a Code of Ethics the violation of which can result in disciplinary action.

A broker associate, or associate broker, is a broker practicing under a qualifying broker or broker in charge.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
Hi Stephanie,

A Realtor has a RE License, works under the umbrella of a Broker..... a Broker has done some more classes and has a Broker License and can work independently, or be a Broker Associate with another Broker..... More classes doesnt mean more knowledgeable or experienced......meet with 2-3 Realtors/Brokers, ask relevant questions pertaining to your needs and get a feel for who you are comfortable with......and then stay with one person.
All the Best,
Nina Daruwalla
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
Being a broker means you have done extra education and have a higher license than a Realtor associate. A Realtor hangs there license with a broker who overseas and is responsible for a Realtor associate.
Just because someone has a broker license does not make them more experience. I did all the education to get my broker license but opted to get it because my fees are higher and I wanted to hang my license with ReMax anyways.
I can tell you without a doubt I have a lot more experience than most broker's in my area. I think it's important to find a real estate professional with great experience whether a broker or Realtor associate.
Look for designations. That is where true education and experience comes in, in looking for excellence. Look for a designation called QSC. It holds agents accountable by a third neutral party. You can find one in your area at http://www.qualityservice.org/
Good Luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu May 24, 2012
I am a Broker Associate in the state of California for over 20 years now. I agree with the person that said Brokers are held to the highest level of standards. I started off taking a class and getting my real estate salesperson's license. I was a sales person for a while and then looked at the requirements to become a RE Broker. To qualify to be become a Broker you have to have either a 4 year degree or at least 2 years experience as a full time agent and professional references. In both cases the person that wants to take the broker's exam has a lot of real estate courses that they have to fulfilled prior to applying to take the Broker's exam (one of which is real estate law) which is not an easy course. To get a real estate salesperson's license a person only has to take one course and pass the exam.

I do feel that brokers have much more knowledge than a real estate agent, and they are accountable for the highest level of standards and ethics by the DRE.
Flag Sat May 30, 2015
"did all the education" "anyways" "broker's in my area"
Education? Really?
Flag Thu Jun 7, 2012
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