The Differences Between A Realtor, A Real Estate Agent And A Broker
There are many different terms used in Real Estate. Obviously it can be confusing. The Differences Between A Realtor, A Real Estate Agent And A Broker can be blurred but they do have set definitions. It is important to understand the differences.
What Is A Realtor?
A Realtor is a paid up member of the Canadian Real Estate Association. Until very recently this was a protected trademark. You would have always seen it like this: REALTOR®. Even though the rules have relaxed slightly only members of CREA can rightfully and truthfully call themselves Realtors. Being a Realtor does not carry any legal obligations. Realtors are, however, bound by the CREA Code Of Conduct.
What Is A Sales Representative?
All Licensed Real Estate Practitioners who start in the business are designated as “Sales Representatives”. Sales Representatives work for and on behalf on their Brokerage. If you look at someone’s business card, website or billboard their designation must be clear and strictly worded.
What Is A Broker?
A Broker is a Licensed Real Estate Practitioner (Sales Representative) who has taken the required courses and passed the Provincial exams. Brokers are held to a higher standard than Sales Representatives and are expected to have full knowledge of the Act that regulates Real Estate in Ontario, REBBA 2002.
What Is A Real Estate Agent?
A Real Estate Agent is “someone” or “something” who has been contracted by a client to act on their behalf. In Ontario the “Agent” is by legal definition the Brokerage. For some reason the general public have taken to using “Real Estate Agent” or even just “Agent” to describe anybody working in Real Estate. This is actually incorrect and misleading. I cringe when I hear people describing themselves as “Agents’. They are not. They are either Sales Representatives or Brokers (both of whom can be Realtors). Only Brokerages can be Agents in Ontario (and Toronto).
What Is A Brokerage?
A Brokerage can be a Sole Proprietor, a Partnership or an Incorporated Company. Regardless, all Brokerages are subject to the same legal requirements concerning Trust Accounts and Accounting Practices and must nominate or employ a Broker Of Record (BOR) to oversee the firm and be liable for the conduct of the firm.
So, we hope that that explains the Differences Between a Realtor, a Real Estate Agent and a Broker 🙂 .
How Does This Work In The Real World?
How does this apply itself in the real world? Please allow me to explain in the dreaded third person!
At Pat Simmonds Real Estate Services, Pat is a Broker and Leslie is a Sales Representative. Between us you get 20 years of combined experience! This is displayed clearly on our cards and website (neither of us really want to see each other plastered on a billboard). Because we are both members of the Canadian Real Estate Association we can both be referred to as Realtors. What we are not are Agents! When we sign listing agreements or Buyer Representation Agreements with our clients we act on behalf of our Brokerage, REMAX Hallmark who then becomes the Agent of our clients. As Independent Contractors under contract with our Brokerage we are legally bound to assume all the fiduciary duties at the law that our Brokerage owes our clients.
We’re not going to correct our clients. It has become the vernacular to refer to Realtors as Agents. It is good to actually understand the differences though.
Please read our post about How To Choose The Best Realtor For You In Toronto.