What’s the Difference Between a Broker, Associate Broker & Agent?

Posted on September 21st, by Trout Daniel & Associates in Market Insider. No Comments

Because the terms “broker,” “salesperson,” “agent,” “associate”, etc., are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation, I know firsthand it can sometimes be unclear as to what exactly the difference is between these roles.  I like to use this metaphorical role-playing breakdown whenever I need some extra guidance:

•   TD&A Market Insider, The Broker: As a licensed real estate broker, I can represent buyers, sellers and business entities in my state of licensing without limitation. With my brokerage license, something that I dutifully earned through countless classroom hours (which vary from state-to-state), I can sponsor other agents in my field.  Finally, as a real estate broker, I have earned at least the minimum amount of points of qualifying practical experience, and have obtained them during a set time frame, not to mention passing my specific state test for real estate brokers. (Exhausted from reading all that? Just imagine being required to complete it!)

•  TD&A Market Insider, The Associate Broker: Just as the licensed real estate broker, I have completed the required amount of educational and field-specific requirements and experience needed to obtain my brokerage license. However, because there can only be one broker per firm, I am not responsible for sponsoring the licensed agents in my office. Should something happen where the broker is no longer able to fulfill his role, I am 100% capable and qualified to step in… but until that happens, I generally have the same rights and responsibilities as the “regular” practicing agents of the company.

•  TD&A Market Insider, The Agent/Salesperson/Associate/Etc.: As an licensed agent/salesperson/associate/etc., I have happily and eagerly completed my state-required coursework and additional education requirements.  I have aced (okay, passed) my state’s real estate salesperson license qualifying exam. Finally, I have found myself a wonderful broker to supervise my commercial real estate agent activities, thereby making me an “active” agent.


One thing to remember… whether you are a big broker (wo)man on commercial real estate campus, or a small salesperson fish in the big CRE pond, you have to stay up-to-date on all state-required continuing education credits.

Otherwise, it’s “goodbye life as a CRE professional,” and “hello unemployment.”

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