Real estate agent vs. broker vs. Realtor: What is the difference?

A real estate agent in Massachusetts is anyone licensed to sell real estate by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. To become a real estate agent in Massachusetts, you must complete 40 hours of classroom instruction and pass an exam that covers both federal and state regulations regarding real estate sales and purchases. Real estate agents in other states have different requirements, which can vary widely (e.g. California requires 135 hours of classroom instruction).

Once you have worked for a licensed broker for a period of three years, you can apply to take the broker’s exam. Becoming a real estate broker allows you to own and operate your own brokerage (real estate firm). You can also manage other real estate agents. Each real estate brokerage has a principal broker.

Both real estate agents and brokers have a continuing education requirement in Massachusetts, which includes 12 hours of classroom instruction. 

Is there a benefit to working with a broker vs. agent?

The main difference in working with a broker vs. an agent? In most cases, the typical broker has more experience than the typical agent. Some real estate agents never decide to get their broker’s license, though, and may stay a real estate agent for 25+ years. 

So, what’s a Realtor? 

Anyone with the title “Realtor” belongs to the National Association of Realtors®. NAR is the largest real estate trade organization in the United States. There are over 1.3 million members, according to the NAR website, and members can be involved in residential or commercial real estate. You will usually see the designation written as Realtor®.

FYI: Torii is a licensed MA brokerage. We have a principal broker and real estate agents, most of whom are also Realtors®.

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