Difference between a Real Estate Agent and an Associate

If you’re looking to sell your home or find a new one, the selection of a real estate agent should be made with caution. You want to work with someone who will not only look out for your best interests but will also properly assist you through the process so you can feel secure in your home sale or purchase. You might have heard the terms real estate agent and real estate associate before but aren’t sure what the difference is. This article will explain what makes an agent or associate and how that affects your buying or selling experience!

Real Estate Agent

Difference between a Real Estate Agent and an Associate

A real estate agent is a specialist who aids clients in purchasing and selling real estate.

Real estate agents are experts in the field, and they know how to negotiate the best deals for their clients. Working with a real estate agent is a great way to get the best possible price if you’re thinking of buying or selling a property.

Qualifications for being a real estate agent in general

  • You have to be at least the legal age, 18 years.
  • You must be legally a resident of the United States.
  • Complete the state-mandated pre-licensing course.
  • Take the exam for the state real estate license and pass it.
  • Conduct a background investigation.
  • A real estate broker must sponsor you.
  • Complete the needed continuing education classes to keep your license current.

Real estate agents work in brokerage houses.

They work in brokerages or agencies. It’s their job to help both clients find properties that fit their needs and help sellers find appropriate buyers for their property. If you’re thinking about getting into real estate investing but don’t know where to start, working for a real estate agent can be a great way to gain experience and exposure to different aspects of commercial real estate investing.

A commission is usually paid to real estate brokers contingent on the property’s sale value.

This means that they have more incentive to sell you on whatever home they think you’ll be most likely to purchase. 

Real Estate Agent Responsibilities

Transactions among sellers and purchasers are coordinated

Real estate agents coordinate transactions among sellers and buyers and landlords and tenants. Agents are in charge of handling offers and counteroffers amongst parties and any questions they may have.

Customers’ paperwork 

When a customer accepts an offer, an agent will work with another agent to walk them through documentation.

Provision of important details to clients 

They also ensure that their clients are completely informed about any closing procedures, such as house inspections, relocating, and significant dates like the closing.

Types of Real Estate Agents

Listing agents

They represent sellers and assist in setting listing prices, suggesting home improvements that will boost the property’s worth (and the likelihood of a successful sale), home staging, and marketing the home through the local Multiple Listing Service.

Buyer’s agents 

They are real estate agents who represent buyers. These agents locate properties that meet the buyer’s needs and price range and assist with home assessments and inspections. Buyer’s agents, like listing agents, negotiate terms and assist with the preparation, submission, and filing of relevant papers.

Rental agent

Many real estate experts assist consumers in finding rental properties and helping them buy and sell homes. However, what these agents perform varies depending on the agent and the place (whether it’s a huge metropolis or a tiny town).

A rental agent may assist you from the beginning of your search, guiding you in determining the suitable area, flat size, and price point and accompanying you to attend open houses. You’ll likely have many of such details worked out already, and the agent will bring you listings that you might be interested in.

Real Estate Associate

A real estate associate is a professional who works with a real estate agent to help people buy and sell properties.

They are usually involved in the process from start to finish and work closely with both buyers and sellers to ensure that everyone is satisfied with the transaction. They are usually also in charge of promoting the estate and managing every one of the documentation.

The terms “associate” and “agent” are often used interchangeably when it comes to real estate. However, they are not the same thing. Associates are licensed to work under a broker, while agents are licensed to work independently. 

General Criteria to Become a Real Estate Associate

  • GED certificate or high school diploma
  • A bachelor’s degree is required in business, real estate, finance, or a closely linked discipline
  • Persuasion skills, problem-solving, negotiation, time management, communication, selling abilities, and presentation skills
  • A real estate license is required.
  • Familiarity with the real estate market in the area
  • Microsoft Office and Multiple Listing Service proficiency are required (MLS)

Brokerages license real estate associates

A brokerage represents clients looking to sell their home or purchase another property. Associates are normally licensed in one of two ways: as full members of their brokerage (which allows them to represent clients) or as non-members (who may act as project managers).

Both associate types must abide by their brokerage’s code of ethics, which includes not using prospecting leads from other brokerages.

Salaries pay real estate associates.

Associates are generally not paid based on commissions. Instead, associates are typically salaried employees who work within a real estate firm. 

Duties of a Real Estate Associate

Difference between a Real Estate Agent and an Associate
  • Assist in obtaining fresh listings, negotiating a price with the seller, and eventually finding a buyer for the property also assist with improving the home to interest purchasers or haggle on the asking price. 
  • They also help in activities like conducting open houses to networking with people in their local communities.
  • They are usually involved in the process from start to finish and work closely with both buyers and sellers to ensure that everyone is satisfied with the transaction.

Differences between the Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Associate 

A real estate associate works with an established broker, managing clients’ home-buying or home-selling needs. This person typically has at least three years of experience in real estate but hasn’t yet passed their state licensing exam—and must remain under their broker’s supervision while working. In contrast, a real estate agent has already earned their license and can (often) work on their own.

Real Estate Agent Real Estate Associate
A real estate agent is a professional who helps people buy and sell properties.  A real estate associate is a professional who works with a real estate agent to help people buy and sell properties.  
Licensed to work independently in brokerage houses    Licensed to work under a broker’s supervision in brokerage houses  
Real estate agents are typically paid a commission based on the sale price of the home.  Associates are typically salaried employees who work within a real estate firm
Negotiate the best deals for their clients. They meet with clients, show on their properties, and prepare paperworkAssociates are a helping hand in performing all these duties

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the distinction between a property dealer and a property associate?

Property dealer: A professional who simultaneously handles sellers and buyers of real estate.

Property Associate: The real estate sales associate will present the house to investors and purchasers, settle the contract, and enter a purchase agreement. Sellers may also use real estate sales staff.

What’s the distinction between a realtor and a sales associate?

REALTOR is a designation offered to licensed real estate professionals. It’s the copyright of the National Association of Realtors – the nation’s real estate Union and one of the largest unions in the US. Membership requires an active real estate license, the payment of an annual fee, and some light training on the Realtor Code of Ethics.

A real estate salesperson is simply someone who has a state license. They can choose to be or not be a Realtor – it has no bearing on their ability to represent someone to buy or sell a home.

A real estate broker is a person who is licensed to operate as an agent – someone who is a fiduciary for another.

The broker is the “agent” in real estate, while the salesperson is the broker’s “sub-agent.” Unless they actively work for a broker and are under the broker’s supervision, salespeople cannot legally represent someone else in a real estate transaction or earn a commission.

Brokers can also become Realtors; however, this is an optional step that does not influence their ability to work in real estate.

In California, for example, I’m a licensed broker who can represent anyone looking to buy or sell a home. Because I chose not to be a member of the Union, I am not a Realtor.

What’s the distinction between Real Estate agents, realtors, and Brokers?

In the United States, state licensing for commercial and residential properties is the same (at least in every state where I looked into getting a license). So, whether you’re a licensed salesman or a broker in the making, you can operate on both commercial and residential properties.

On the commercial side, real estate agents (who have a sales license) are referred to as “brokers,” which isn’t exactly correct but is only a matter of semantics. Also, even if you have a broker’s license, you are not required to be the Designated Broker, which has additional duty and responsibility; instead, you can be an Associate Broker.


Whether you call them associates or agents, all real estate professionals have one thing in common: They’re licensed to sell real estate. But while they all perform similar duties, they are not alike. That’s why it’s important to know which title you prefer and what each designation means if you want to select a career.

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