You’ve heard many terms when referring to people who sell real estate. What’s the difference between an Agent, Salesperson, Broker and a REALTOR®?

Yes, the terminology can be confusing. While it may not seem important to know the difference between these terms, there are some common traits and useful distinctions to be aware of when you look to buy or sell a home.

Let’s start with the most commonly misused term, “agent”. While most people would use that term to describe the individual real estate professional assisting them, that’s not technically correct; legally, “Agent” is actually the term given to the brokerage (the company) that represents you as the buyer or seller. An agency relationship is formalized when you sign a contract either in the form of a buyer representation agreement or a typical listing agreement. These are between buyer/seller and the brokerage, not the individual representative.

A real estate salesperson or broker will be the person who presents and explains the representation agreement to you on behalf of the brokerage. In most cases, they will also usually be the same person who represents you during the buying or selling process, on behalf of the brokerage.

Salespeople and brokers are both real estate professionals who are subject to regulation under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002. They must be employed by a real estate brokerage and must be registered with RECO (Real Estate Counsel of Ontario) in order to trade in real estate in Ontario. More info at

Education is what distinguishes a broker from a salesperson. A salesperson achieves the broker designation by successfully completing the Broker Registration Education Program. This course will provides an overview of how to establish, operate, and manage a real estate brokerage. More info at

What's the definition of a REALTOR®? REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are certification marks owned by REALTOR® Canada Inc., a corporation jointly owned by the National Association of REALTORS® and CREA.

Not all real estate agents are REALTORS®.

The REALTOR® trademarks are used to identify real estate services provided by brokers and salespersons who are members of CREA and who accept and respect a strict Code of Ethics, and are required to meet consistent professional standards of business practice which is the consumer’s assurance of integrity. More info at

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