Brokerage vs Realtor: Differences Between Agent, Salesperson, Broker, and Brokerage

Real Estate Brokerage vs Realtor vs Agent

Real estate brokerage 

A Real estate brokerage, not the agent or realtor, is the actual entity that represents the clients or provides services to the customer and signs an agreement with the sellers or buyers. The salesperson or realtor is acting on behalf of the brokerage to sign those contracts. Sometimes, a real estate brokerage is also called a real estate agency.

Listing brokerage

The listing brokerage or seller agent is the brokerage representing the seller and helps the owner to sell the home. In the case of for sale by owner, the brokerage may provide customer service to the homeowner.

Co-operating brokerage

A Co-operating brokerage, also known as a buyer agent brokerage or buyer agency, is the brokerage that represents or provides customer service to the buyer during their home purchase.


Realtors are the salespersons who have paid membership fees and joined the local or/and national real estate board. The most prominent benefits of joining the real estate board are to access and list the property in MLSand to use other resources the board provides. Those resources include the OREA Forms used in the transaction, various tools, reports, training and etc.

Real estate salesperson vs agent

  • Both the salesperson and agent are interchangeable. They are the individual people who have completed the required courses, passed the tests, paid the insurance premium, applied, and got the license. Then, they are qualified to conduct transactions in real estate. 
  • A real estate salesperson can be interpreted as an individual business owner to run his or her business on his or her own. But they have to work under a real estate brokerage per RECO's law. 


Brokers are the agents who have conducted the real estate business for at least 2 years and passed additional exams. One of the requirements to establish a brokerage is to have a broker on board.

Broker of Record

The broker of record is the person who runs the brokerage and ensures the activities of salespersons and the brokerage comply with the relevant laws and rules.

In summary

Brokerage vs Realtor vs Agent vs Salesperson

  1. Relationships are between the brokerage and the client, not the salesperson and the client.
  2. The salesperson works with the client on behalf of the brokerage. Real estate agents and salespeople are interchangeable. 
  3. Realtors are the agents who can access and use MLS. 
  4. Brokers are salespeople with a minimum of 2 years of experience and can open a brokerage. 
  5. Brokers of record are the persons who run the agency.