Agents, Brokers, and Realtors – What’s the Difference?

Real Estate Agent signing contract

When you decide to buy or sell a home in Albuquerque, you need to first decide who you’re going to have on your side to help you complete your transaction succesfully. Albuquerque real estate professionals come in three types - agents, brokers, and Realtors. So what really is the difference between them, and why does it matter?

There are overlaps between all three, but at the same time, distinctions.


A real estate agent is a person working in the field who has studied for and passed the relevant real estate courses. They are also licensed to practice in the state of New Mexico.

An agent represents either the buyer or the seller in a transaction. Some specialize in working with buyers, others with sellers, others do both.

An agent's job description includes collecting offers and counteroffers, negotiating, and assisting clients with the paperwork. Real estate agents are able to provide their clients with additional services that aid in tying up loose ends, such as arranging any necessary home inspections. They usually receive a commission on a successful transaction, so they receive a percentage of the sale price.


A real estate broker is someone with more education than is required to become a real estate agent and has obtained their broker license. A real estate broker might need to complete courses in topics like insurance, taxes, and ethics. Brokers also learn topics like property management and real estate investments. The coursework is more in-depth compared to what agents are required to complete.

There are three types of brokers.

A principal or designated broker is a person who works in every real estate office. They make sure the legal compliance of the office. Additionally, they get a commission of the sales their agents make. Next, there’s a managing broker, who may have greater influence over the agents at the office. An associate broker works under a managing broker but usually doesn’t supervise others.

Real estate brokers can work for themselves. They can also hire agents who work under them.

After passing a broker's exam, you can continue to work under another broker, in which case you will be called an associate broker. This was briefly touched upon earlier.

Brokers and real estate agents share the same responsibilities. The main difference is that a broker may earn more money than an agent by having a team under their management.


Realtor is a third term often used to denote an agent or broker. Realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors or NAR.

NAR members agree to adhere to NAR’s strict ethical guidelines. Besides agents, Realtors can also include other professionals in the industry. For instance, property managers and appraisers can be Realtors since it's a profession that originates from a group membership.

When you become a Realtor, you can use the trademark as part of your title.

This trademark has been assigned to Sandi Pressley since 1979. Sandi has listed and sold more homes than any other agent throughout New Mexico. Through her dedication and hard work, she has been able to help over 12,200 families buy or sell their property. Sandi has been the top realtor in Albuquerque as well as in the state of New Mexico for 35 consecutive years. Sandi and her dedicated team of real estate professionals stand ready to help you realize your real estate goals in Albuquerque.