Real Estate "Broker" Term Can Be Used by Agents in Some States

Brokers have more experience than agents—except when they don't.

Traditionally, real estate agent is the term used to define a licensed real estate salesperson, usually supervised by a more experienced agent licensed as a real estate broker. Recently, however, a trend appears to be developing in which states allow all real estate agents to call themselves brokers. This is worth taking note of in case youre hiring a real estate agent. A person who uses the broker title may be a salesperson only and not have the additional experience that you might expect with a broker.

In Washington State, for example, an agent who has met the basic qualifications is called a designated broker, as distinguished from the more elevated managing broker. Arizona and Oregon make the distinction between brokers and principal brokers. Other states may call the junior brokers associate brokers or something else. We recommend asking any agent you hire for the details on his or her licensing designation and checking your states department of real estate website for confirmation and more information.