If you watch Modern Family, you’re familiar with Phil Dunphy, suburban Los Angeles real estate agent and self-proclaimed real estate guru. You may have even caught one of the Real Estate Phil’s-osophies commercials for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) starring Ty Burrell, the actor who plays Dunphy. It’s not part of the show: NAR hired Burell to star in-character in a series of commercials that advise consumers to seek out a REALTOR® when buying or selling property.
A real estate agent talking about the pros of hiring a REALTOR® —are you confused? Is there a difference between the two?
When you enter the world of buying and selling real estate, you are confronted with several different titles: real estate agent (also known as real estate salesperson), REALTOR®, real estate broker.
Let’s start with Real Estate Agents, or Real Estate Salespersons. These professionals are licensed by the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE), which licenses and regulates the more than 400,000 Mortgage Loan Originators, Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons in California. In order to be licensed in California, you must qualify for and pass a written examination, then submit an application to CalBRE for approval. Anyone who conducts real estate activities in California must be licensed and must conduct business as stated in the California Real Estate Laws and Regulations.
A Real Estate Broker has continued his or her education past that required at the real estate agent or salesperson level and has passed the real estate broker licensing exam. Real estate brokers can work as independent real estate agents or they can have agents working for them. Brokers can work on their own, while agents or salespersons have to work under licensed brokers.
Last but not least, there’s REALTOR®. In order to join this one-million-member national association, you must be a licensed real estate agent in your state, and you must uphold the NAR’s strict code of ethics and standards.
It sounds like a Phil’s-osophy: Not all licensees are REALTORS®, but all REALTORS® must be licensees.
And there you have it—a little information to help you get through the maze of buying and selling—or at least know who’s who.
Don’t forget to check the license before you decide on a real estate agent! To check a license, visit the CalBRE website, www.calbre.ca.gov, or call (877) 373-4542. To verify that an agent belongs to the National Association of REALTORS®, go to www.realtor.com.