Quick Guide to Different Types of Real Estate Agents

Different types of real estate agents explained
Founder of InboundREM an inbound marketing lead generation company focused on SEO. Blogger. Real Estate SEO expert. Real Estate Lead Generation expert. Real estate online marketing fanatic. Podcaster. Occasional public speaker and frequent vlogger.

Table of Contents

The world of real estate is multifaceted, with various professionals playing pivotal roles in assisting individuals and businesses with their property transactions. Among these professionals, the terms “Realtor” and “Real Estate Agent” are often used interchangeably, causing confusion for those entering the field or seeking real estate services.

In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the distinctions between Realtors and Real Estate Agents, explore the four types of real estate agents, discuss agent specializations, and provide valuable advice for aspiring real estate professionals.

Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent

Before exploring the nuances within the real estate profession, it’s crucial to understand the fundamental difference between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent.


    • A Realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
    • Membership in NAR signifies adherence to a strict Code of Ethics, which emphasizes honesty and integrity in dealings with clients and other real estate professionals.
    • Realtors have access to a wide range of resources and networking opportunities through the NAR.

Real Estate Agent

    • A Real Estate Agent is a licensed professional who has completed the required state-specific real estate courses and obtained a license to practice.
    • While all Realtors are Real Estate Agents, not all Real Estate Agents are Realtors.
    • Real Estate Agents may or may not choose to become members of NAR and adhere to its Code of Ethics.

Understanding these distinctions is essential for consumers seeking real estate services and for those considering a career in the industry.

4 Types of Real Estate Agents

Within the realm of Real Estate Agents, there are four main types, each catering to different aspects of the real estate market:

Buyer’s Agent

    • Specializes in representing buyers in real estate transactions.
    • Assists clients in finding suitable properties, negotiates offers, and guides them through the buying process.
    • Provides expertise on market conditions and property values.

Seller’s Agent (Listing Agent)

    • Works on behalf of sellers to market and sell their properties.
    • Sets listing prices, markets properties through various channels, and negotiates with potential buyers.
    • Represents the seller’s interests throughout the selling process.

Dual Agent

    • Represents both the buyer and the seller in a single transaction.
    • Requires a high level of transparency and impartiality to balance the interests of both parties.
    • Dual agency is legal in some states but regulated to avoid conflicts of interest.

Transaction Coordinator

    • Manages the administrative aspects of a real estate transaction.
    • Ensures that all necessary documents are prepared and submitted, deadlines are met, and communication flows smoothly between parties.
    • Facilitates a seamless closing process.

Understanding these types of real estate agents helps individuals identify the specific expertise they need and assists aspiring agents in choosing a path aligned with their skills and interests.

NAR Designations & Specialized Credentials

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) offers a range of designations and specialized credentials that allow real estate professionals to deepen their knowledge and expertise in specific areas. These designations not only distinguish agents in the marketplace but also demonstrate a commitment to ongoing professional development. Here are some notable NAR designations and specialized credentials:

Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)

The CRS designation focuses on residential real estate transactions and represents the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents. It requires a significant volume of real estate transactions and advanced coursework.

Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR)

Specializing in working directly with buyer-clients, the ABR designation emphasizes buyer representation skills, negotiation strategies, and in-depth knowledge of the buyer’s perspective.

Seller Representative Specialist (SRS)

Concentrating on the unique skills needed to represent sellers effectively, the SRS designation covers various aspects of the selling process, from marketing to negotiation.

Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES)

The SRES designation equips agents to address the needs of homebuyers and sellers aged 50 and older. It focuses on housing options, financial considerations, and lifestyle transitions for seniors.

Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE)

Enhancing negotiation skills in real estate transactions, the RENE designation addresses both collaborative and competitive negotiation strategies.

Green Designation

Focusing on sustainable and eco-friendly practices in real estate, the Green designation covers green building principles, energy efficiency, and environmentally conscious home features.

e-PRO Certification

Emphasizing proficiency in utilizing the latest technology and digital marketing strategies, the e-PRO Certification is designed for agents who leverage online tools to meet the needs of today’s tech-savvy consumers.

Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS)

The CIPS designation targets professionals working with international clients or in global real estate markets. It covers international transactions, currency and exchange rate issues, and cultural considerations.

These designations and credentials not only add credibility to a real estate professional’s name but also offer clients assurance that their agent possesses specialized knowledge relevant to their specific needs. Aspiring real estate agents should consider pursuing these credentials to gain a competitive edge in the industry.

Real Estate Agent Specializations

In addition to the primary types of real estate agents, professionals often choose specializations to further focus their expertise. Some common real estate agent specializations include:

Commercial Real Estate Agent

  • Specializes in commercial properties such as office buildings, retail spaces, and industrial facilities.
  • Requires a deep understanding of the commercial real estate market and local economic trends.

Residential Real Estate Agent

  • Focuses on residential properties, including single-family homes, condominiums, and townhouses.
  • Assists clients in buying, selling, and renting residential properties.

Luxury Real Estate Agent

  • Deals exclusively with high-end, luxury properties.
  • Requires a sophisticated understanding of the luxury market and a network of affluent clients.

Real Estate Consultant

  • Offers expert advice and guidance to clients without directly participating in buying or selling transactions.
  • Assists with investment strategies, property management, and market analysis.

These specializations enable real estate agents to carve out niches for themselves, providing tailored services to clients with specific needs.

Advice for Future Real Estate Agents

Here’s a list of advice for aspiring real estate agents from the greatest experts in the field.

These insights are general and aimed at people considering a future in real estate. If you want to dive deep, check out 50 Experts’ Best Advice on Being a Successful Real Estate Agent

1. Set Clear Goals

“Goals are the foundation of any real estate career. Be specific about what you want to achieve, both in the short and long term,” advises Gary Keller in “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.”

2. Prioritize Lead Generation

Gary Keller emphasizes, “Leads are the lifeblood of your business. Make lead generation a priority, and your pipeline will remain robust,” in “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent.”

3. Effective Communication is Key

Kevin Ward, in “The Book of YES,” stresses the importance of effective communication: “Your success as a real estate agent hinges on your ability to communicate confidently and persuasively with clients.”

4. Adapt to Market Shifts

Gary Keller, in “SHIFT,” notes, “Markets are dynamic; they shift. Successful agents recognize these shifts and adjust their strategies accordingly.”

5. Embrace a Hyperlocal Focus

Daniel Lesniak advises, “Being hyperlocal is not just a strategy; it’s a mindset. Dive deep into your local market, and you’ll gain a competitive edge.”

6. Prioritize Productivity

Brian P. Moran emphasizes the power of focused goals in “The 12 Week Year,” stating, “Shorter, focused goals lead to increased productivity. Don’t spread yourself thin; concentrate on what truly matters.”

7. Invest in Ongoing Education

“Continuous learning is not a luxury; it’s a necessity in the ever-evolving real estate industry. Stay updated, invest in your education, and always strive to improve,” echoes advice from various real estate experts.

8. Build and Leverage Networks

“Networking is the backbone of success in real estate. Build strong relationships with other professionals, clients, and your community. Utilize both online and offline networks,” as recommended by various real estate professionals.

9. Negotiation is an Art

Chris Voss, in “Never Split the Difference,” emphasizes the importance of negotiation: “Mastering the art of negotiation is crucial for real estate agents. Understand the psychology and apply it effectively.”

10. Maintain Honesty and Integrity

Mario Jannatpour advocates for honesty in “The Honest Real Estate Agent”: “Trust is the foundation of any successful real estate career. Always maintain honesty and integrity in your dealings.”

11. Focus on Client-Centric Approach

Larry Kendall, in “Ninja Selling,” emphasizes a client-centric approach: “Build relationships and provide value to clients. A focus on their needs will lead to a more successful and fulfilling real estate career.”

Types of Real Estate Agents & Specializations

In conclusion, the world of real estate is diverse, encompassing various professionals with distinct roles and specializations. Understanding the differences between Realtors and Real Estate Agents, exploring the four types of agents, and considering specializations can empower both consumers and aspiring professionals in the field. By following the advice provided, future real estate agents can embark on a successful career, navigating the complexities of the industry with confidence and competence.

Free eBooks for Agents

Free eBooks for Real Estate Agents

Download any or all of our real estate marketing eBooks. These books contain cutting edge information, deep-diving case studies, actionable hacks to skyrocket your business.

Let's have a talk

Schedule a Meeting

Let’s chat about how an SEO-focused website that YOU OWN, Google Business Profile Campaigns, or Custom Email Campaigns can generate high-quality leads and exceptional long-term ROI. If my services aren’t the best move for you, I’ll gladly point you in the right direction

Contact Form

1 Comment

  1. gtbuilders

    “I found this blog on different types of real estate agents to be incredibly useful. It breaks down the roles and specialties of various agents, making it easier to understand and choose the right one. Thank you for sharing this comprehensive and well-written guide!”

Leave a Reply