Any one of these types of real estate licensees can help you find a home, and get the best deal buying it. The important distinction is not the person's title, but his knowledge and experience. For a variety of reasons, many excellent real estate professionals choose not to become supervisors. Similarly, as in any profession, you will always find real estate licensees--supervisors and supervised alike--who lack adequate knowledge, intellect and competence to do a proper job getting you the best home.
The important thing when seeking a licensee to represent you is to get references from people you trust, and/or interview several real estate professionals. Ask lots of questions, and choose someone you feel will be honest, hard-working, communicate well and fill the needs that you have.
In relation to Kevin's post (below), either a broker, agent or principal broker can choose to join the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), thus becoming a REALTOR®. If local custom allows it, a licensee can choose not to join NAR, in which case he cannot call himself a REALTOR®. In all candor, however, few licensees choose not to join NAR, making the value of choosing a REALTOR® mostly hypothetical in many areas of the country.
NAR and its large member firms have such a strong hold on regulators and local multiple listing services in many places that NAR is able to effectively require all real estate licensees in those places to join NAR in order to join any multiple listing service (MLS). MLSs are the backbone of today's residential real estate industry. To not join an MLS would make practice in residential real estate a virtual impossibility.
I hope this has been helpful. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about this information.
If its the latter you do need to look at your state. In Oregon, we like to be weird so all of our Real Estate agents are now either Brokers or Principal Brokers, the latter indicating more education and time in the field, and the level that allows you to supervise other Brokers.
In most states there are 2 basic types, a RE agent and a RE Broker, with the RE Broker being the one with more education and the license to supervise other agents.
Any of the different titles, as long as its "Real Estate" associated with it, will be able to help you find a home. And like one of the other responders said, any of these might be Realtors or not, depending if they belong to and follow the National Assn of Realtors rules, ethics etc.
If you're talking about a "Loan Broker" they team with your RE Agent or RE Broker and do the coordinating of your loan, while your RE Agent or Broker helps you find the home and coordinates the process to close.
All these different terms can be thrown around and get confusing to a buyer, and then their exact definitions vary from state to state, so its understandable that you're wondering about the difference.
I hope this helps! Find someone with some experience that you trust, especially a referral from someone you know, and you'll be fine! Most Real Estate Agents, Brokers and Principal Brokers are knowledgeable and dedicated to doing a good job for you, so you should be fine. And you can always fire them and find another if you're unhappy.
Best of luck,
Stephen Fitzmaurice, Realtor
I am a full-time licensed Portland Realtor and I am available to help in your home search.
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Also, there is a broker or associate broker supervising agents and the daily operation of an office. A REALTOR regardless of being a broker or agent has a code of ethics they must abide to.
Agents and or brokers in PA are both fully capable of providing the same level of service. If MI has buyer and seller representation, I suggest you chose the REALTOR that serves your needs the best.