By: Christel Silver Special to the Boca and Delray newspapers
You may find real estate professionals’ various titles a little confusing. There are some important differences between the roles of the various professionals, as well as different requirements for using particular titles.
Real Estate Agent or Real Estate Salesperson: Anyone who earns a real estate license, whether that license is as a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker. Florida Statute regulates the education necessary to become a licensed real estate agent: 63 hours of class work – with completed test – and a successfully completed State test. The annual continuing education requirements are the same for agents and brokers: 14 hours every 2 years in addition to an ethics training. But in order to start selling real estate, you have to find a broker to “hang your license” and pass a 45-hour post-licensing course within a certain time period.
Real Estate Broker: A person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required by state laws and has passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers can then open a company and work for themselves or with other agents. The broker needs 72 classroom hours and a minimum of 2 years experience as a real estate agent and 60 hours post licensing class. If you have hired a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home, that agent typically reports to a broker. The broker owns the listings and handles the earnest money deposit. The REALTOR® has to pay part of the commission to the broker – most of the time.
Real Estate Associate Broker: Someone who has taken additional education classes and earned a broker’s license but chooses to work under the management of another broker.
REALTOR®: A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics. The Code of Ethics establishes obligations that may be higher than those mandated by the law, and a REALTOR® agrees to obey the rules. So when deciding to work with a REALTOR®, you should ask what education they had after the original license. There are many certifications and designations they can achieve like CIPS (Certified International Property Specialist), CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), GRI (Graduate of Real Estate Institute). They all require more than one daily class and all require final exams. REALTORS® are also getting involved in fighting for consumer rights. The REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) gives REALTORS® a powerful voice to help develop, advance and implement legislative objectives that affect the real estate business and the ownership and operation of real estate. RPAC supports pro-REALTOR® candidates running for public office. It does not matter if the candidate is part of the Republican or Democratic Party as long as they are supporting ideas of the REALTOR® Party.
Every REALTOR® joining the Florida Realtors has to pay into the Real Estate Recovery Fund. The fund is created by the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) to reimburse any person, partnership, or corporation adjudged by a court of competent civil jurisdiction in this state to have suffered monetary damages by reason of any act committed, as a part of any real estate brokerage transaction involving real property in this state, by any broker or sales associate. This is an additional benefit working with a REALTOR®.
About Christel Silver
Christel Silver is a full time Broker/Owner of Silver International Realty servicing the East Coast of South Florida. In 1985 she was licensed in Maryland and Washington DC as a Realtor and later as a Certified Residential Appraiser and Associate Broker and has been in Florida since 2001. The National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) President appointed her (2010-2014) as the President’s Liaison to Germany, where she grew up and worked at the Justice Department for 17 years prior to coming to this country. The Germany Real Estate Organization (IVD) has an agreement with the NAR and she is an International member of this organization. Christel is a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), and a certified speaker teaching CIPS classes. Ms. Silver served the Florida Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) Chapter as President, as Regional Vice President helping Chapters to grow, and as a member of the Board of Directors for two years. She is currently an ambassador. Fifty percent of her business is in the International arena. For more information visit www.silverhouses.com.