Fisher College of Business logo

Salespersons vs Brokers

The difference between a Real Estate Salesperson and a Real Estate Broker

The terminology used to identify real estate professionals varies a little from state to state.  In Ohio they are called salespersons and brokers. The major differences between salespersons and brokers are license requirements and client interaction.  However, both do have similar duties.

Brokers are generally required to have more education and experience than real estate salespersons. In Ohio, to obtain a license to be a salesperson you need to complete four classroom components (also known as “pre-examination education requirements”) and pass an exam. You do not need to have any experience to become a licensed salesperson. To obtain a license to be a broker you need at least two years experience, need to complete 8 classroom components, need a minimum of two years of college, need a minimum of two years experience as a salesperson and pass an exam. There are other specific requirements for a license in Ohio.

The person you normally deal with is a real estate salesperson.  The salesperson is licensed by the state, but must work for a broker.  All listings are placed in the broker's name, not the salesperson's name. A broker can deal directly with home buyers and sellers, or can have a staff of salespersons working for him or her. 

Most states require real estate sales professionals to be licensed by the state, so that they can control education and experience requirements and have a central authority to resolve consumer problems. In addition, about 70% of all licensed salespersons and brokers in Ohio are members of a professional association called The Ohio Association of Realtors (OAR). Composed of real estate professionals , who've joined the local, state and national associations of realtors, OAR's members have agreed to abide by the National Association of Realtors' stringent Code of Ethics.

OAR offers services to its members in addition to protecting private property rights for the public. Those member services include: lobbying state legislators on industry issues, research development, current real estate information and member discounts on products and services.