Real Estate Resources

The Different Types of Agents

Real Estate Roles and Titles, Explained

Even if you're an experienced buyer or seller, you may not be familiar with the specific titles and roles that come with being a real estate agent. Though many people use the terms "agent," "Realtor," and "broker" interchangeably, they're actually all different from one another. If you're feeling a little confused or just want to learn what sets each of these real estate professionals apart, we're here to break it all down for you.

real estate agents

The Roles of Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents are all licensed professionals who have taken necessary classes and passed their state's license exam. They all monitor local market activity, but assist buyers and sellers through their transactions in different ways. Here is a brief explanation of the types of real estate agents and their roles.

Buyer's Agent

A buyer's agent works exclusively with the home buyer and guides them through everything from the home search to closing the transaction. Specifically, your buyer's agent will:

  • Help you find your dream home
  • Negotiate with the seller
  • Recommend professionals like home inspectors
  • Assist with the paperwork

Seller's (Listing) Agent

A seller's agent works exclusively with the home seller and guides the seller through everything from home marketing to the closing. Specifically, your listing agent or seller's agent will:

  • Help you prep and stage your home
  • List your home on the MLS
  • Market your home to buyers
  • Negotiate the terms of the transaction

Dual Agent

This real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. This can help streamline a transaction, though it can also create a conflict of interest for the agent because they must remain loyal and honest to both clients.

Transaction Coordinator

A transaction coordinator assists a real estate agent or a broker with the administrative tasks of a transaction, including gathering all paperwork, opening the escrow account, making sure the disclosures are properly signed and filled out, and managing deadlines.

real estate titles

Real Estate Titles

Generally, "real estate agent" is a blanket term that encompasses a wide variety of titles. Here's what you should know about some of the most common agent titles and the services they provide.

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is someone who has passed a real estate exam and possesses a license that allows them to buy or sell homes in a specific area. Here in Michigan, this license must be renewed every three years.


A Realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. To become a member of the NAR, an agent must pay annual dues, take educational courses, and adhere to a strict code of ethics.

Real Estate Broker

Real estate brokers are agents who have received additional education, passed a broker exam, and completed a certain number of transactions. They are also able to own their own firms and supervise teams of agents. Each firm has only one broker.

Associate Broker

Like agents, associate brokers work under brokers, but they have received their broker's license and simply choose to be supervised by another broker. They may also be called broker associates, broker-salespersons, or affiliate brokers.

Thinking About Buying or Selling?

If you're eager to buy a new home or list your current one in the Detroit metro area, just contact Coldwell Banker Preferred Realtors to get started. We have the tools you need to navigate every step of the transactions, and our team of trained real estate pros would love to help you every step of the way.