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Real Estate Agent vs. Real Estate Broker: What’s The Difference?

different between real estate broker and agent graphic

There are many terms and titles in real estate that have specific meanings. For example, real estate agents and real estate brokers are sometimes mistakenly used interchangeably. While both are practicing real estate professionals, there are some key differences.

Let’s explore the differences between a real estate agent and a broker, so that you can be more informed when working as or with a real estate professional.

What Is A Real Estate Agent?

Let’s review a few quick basics. More specifically, let’s define the title of a real estate agent.

A real estate agent is a licensed professional that assists and represents buyers, sellers, and renters. Agents provide guidance and representation during the buying or selling process. 

Agents also typically organize and submit the proper documentation when necessary, taking a huge load off their clients’ already full plate. Additionally, real estate agents also facilitate negotiations, making sure that their clients receive the best deal and value possible.

Real estate agents also have the option of becoming a realtor. For more information, please visit our article “Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor: What’s The Difference.”

What Is A Real Estate Broker?

Real estate brokers can serve multiple purposes. Often, brokers are heavily invested in business and staff (agent) management. 

Brokers often oversee and facilitate transactions, manage everyday operations, draft contracts, recruit and train incoming agents, and communicate with government agencies and housing associations.

Types of Real Estate Brokers

A designated real estate broker (sometimes referred to as a principal broker) supervises agents at their firm. They ensure that all agents work under state and federal regulations and real estate law. Designated brokers can also receive a salary instead of commission.

A managing broker manages the daily operations of a real estate firm and its employees. They are often tasked with recruiting, hiring, and training incoming agents. They also perform record-keeping tasks, monitor compliance, and manage vendor relationships.

The associate broker is more of a client-facing position. This position is the closest to a traditional real estate agent, as they focus on representing clients. A key difference is that brokers can perform their duties without the oversight of a managing or designated broker.

What Are Key Differences?

A real estate broker has many of the same responsibilities as an agent – which is where things can get confusing. Something to keep in mind is: that anyone with a real estate license is considered an agent. However, agents must work under a broker or brokerage.

Brokers are also much more heavily invested in the day-to-day operations of the brokerage or real estate firm. Although brokers work with clients, many handle office and staff management tasks, organize paperwork and ensure proper compliance with real estate laws. To become a real estate broker, licensed agents must complete additional training and licensing requirements.

What Career Is Right For You?

The answer to this question depends entirely on you. Do you wish to have a heavier hand in the business management side of real estate? If so, completing the necessary training and licensing might just be the correct path for you. 

Or maybe you’d rather work for yourself as an independent broker paid via commission – there are many options available when it comes to a broker career.

However, if you wish to focus solely on selling, buying, and representing clients, it might be best to stick with your real estate agent status. This way, you can keep your focus on performing the best possible services for your clients without additional training or licensing processes.

No matter what, you have to first obtain your real estate license. If you’re ready to take your first steps into the real estate industry, we invite you to browse our list of upcoming licensing courses.

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