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Realtors: What’s in a title? Is there a difference?

Often people looking to buy or sell real estate look to recommendations from friends/family or the internet for top REALTORS® . It’s always important to do your research and interview a few to ensure that person has the experience needed for your specific scenario. Who you hire, matters. Here we’ll go over more of the titles and reasons for them.

A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of Realtors and adheres to certain requirements including ethics. The term is used to cover Brokers and Salespeople titles clarified and defined by the states licensing rules. These can change slightly from state to state. In New York, the licenses are monitored by the Department of Licensing Services and for this purpose here we will discuss New York titles.

Across all 3 titles according to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors, from Jan 1, 2020, to the present there are 2,731 realtors that closed more than $1 of business during that same time. Many more exist and while I can’t run a report on that, I’ve been told it’s closer to 3,500.

Real Estate Salesperson

When someone wants to enter the business, they must complete a 75-hour education course by an approved training institution. Options both in-person and online are available. Online is also self-paced so if you have the time you can be a Salesperson. Then one must pass a licensing exam by New York State. In most cases, agents work 100% on commission as an independent contractor.

If you’re interested in real estate this is where you start. Check out our website for more information and to start the process.You can also reach out anytime to our office 716.362.2373

Becoming a Salesperson is the starting gate for everyone regardless of the eventual broker they work for. All salespeople must interview for and work under the supervision of a Real Estate Broker in NY. Finding a broker and a brokerage is just the beginning too.

Not all salespeople will become a broker or need to. It’s very possible to even be a top agent without any more education and licensing additions. The real education takes place beyond the licensing class, it’s out in the field and working with colleagues. Many brokerages have education and training programs to show an agent how to actually practice the trade. Filling out paperwork and talking sales language is just the start. You should always as a salesperson have training and support from your firm.


Associate Real Estate Broker

If a salesperson desires more responsibility and/or education they can become an Associate Real Estate Broker. The course is 45 hours and requires passing of a state licensing exam. It also requires the completion of a resume of business – this person must have sold numerous homes and been in the business two years at a minimum. A Real Estate Broker must also sign off and attest to this person’s abilities in that application.

If you’re looking to sell or buy real estate it’s important to ask the people you interview why (or why they haven’t) they have decided to get this distinction of an Associate Real Estate Broker. Often you will learn that they value learning and the business needs constant education to become and stay a top agent.

At 716 Realty Group, this increased education allows for team building among other benefits. We encourage everyone to seek education and support them in these endeavors. Our Associate Real Estate Brokers are consistently top producers and rockstars in their own rite.


Real Estate Broker

The title Real Estate Broker is the highest title one can receive in New York State. It requires another Licensed Real Estate Broker vouching for the skills of a salesperson/associate broker. In addition, it allows them into the ownership possibilities of a firm.

According to the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors during the same period above, there are 262 Real Estate Brokerages that have sold more than 1 transaction. Admittedly it’s hard to say how many owners there are, but even if some have more than one Real Estate Broker title remains reserved for the top 10% of industry practitioners.

Real Estate brokers must complete the same 45-hour course, pass the course and state exams.

Some practice sales and the ones that do are the most elite agent, maybe I’m biased. But these practitioners should be considered when interviewing and hiring someone as they often come with a team and group of support people to help ensure the sales go through to closing.

Many also perform other duties which are more in the office and not practicing such as review of all contracts of its salespeople and associate brokers, resolve transaction disputes and agent disputes, recruit new agents to the company, train new agents to be successful, manage administrative staff and daily operations of a real estate firm.


What does it all mean?

There is a lot to this real estate thing – both for those that work it as a career choice and those that hire us with one of the largest financial transactions of their life. Knowing how titles compare can be helpful to anyone depending on their needs. It all starts with a call, so give us a call and ask a question. We might not have all the answers but you can bet the house on it, we have the resources to find it. Now with over 200+ years of experience among our 60+ REALTORS across our 3 offices and 5 staff. We like to say we’re big enough to know what we’re doing, but still small enough to care.


About the Author:

Gregory Straus is a Licensed Real Estate Broker and Co-Founder of 716 Realty Group, along with Joel HusVar. Gregory has been with the firm since 2013. In 2021, Gregory serves on the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors – Government Affairs Committee. In addition, he serves as the New York State Commercial Association of REALTORS on the Board of Directors.

Outside Real Estate he’s been a Certified SCORE Small Business Mentor for 4 years where he has coached numerous business leaders and always enjoys helping others to reach their potential and live the dream. He has numerous other business interests across asset classes. In his spare time enjoys posting on social media with food, houses, and car pictures, and humor, for fun, follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Instagram, and Twitter.

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