Real Estate Agent vs. Real Estate Broker – What’s the Difference?


If you are new to the industry or are considering starting a career in real estate, you may have wondered what the difference is between a real estate agent and a real estate broker.

The terms “real estate agent” and “real estate broker” are often used interchangeably. It is easy to confuse the two terms when both an agent and a broker are licensed to sell property. The basis of both roles is the same. However, an agent and a broker in the real estate industry hold two completely different jobs.

The jargon used within the real estate industry often seems like a foreign language. But, the differences between the two positions are easy to distinguish. They differ through their specific responsibilities and educational requirements.

What Is the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Broker?

A real estate agent is an industry professional who facilitates real estate transactions under a brokerage. A broker may work independently to facilitate real estate transactions or start their own brokerage and employ real estate agents to work for them.

Real Estate Agent

Ultimately, a real estate agent is responsible for connecting buyers and sellers to facilitate the sale of the real estate or real property. Agents are industry professionals who take and pass all state-specific courses and fulfill licensing requirements. An agent is capable of representing both buyers and sellers for real estate transactions. Additionally, an agent works under a brokerage and cannot work independently.

Responsibilities of a Real Estate Agent

  • Match a Buyer’s wishlist to Available Properties on the Market

    Real estate agents listen to what a buyer is looking for and attempt to find a match by targeting specific neighborhoods and evaluating the features of a property.

  • Submit Offers and Negotiate

    After a buyer finds a property they are interested in buying, the agent submits and offer and is capable of negotiating until terms are agreed upon by both parties.

  • Finalize Purchases

    Real estate agents are responsible for guiding clients through the finalization of purchases. They complete tasks such as finalizing paperwork, facilitating repairs and inspections, and navigating the closing of the sale.

Types of Real Estate Agents

Type of Agent Job Description
Seller’s Agent (Listing Agent)

When you decide to sell your home, you will need to work with a seller’s agent.

A seller’s agent or listing agent is responsible for representing the person who is selling a property in the real estate transaction. These agents are industry professionals who have exstensive knowledge of local housing markets and are excellent at negotiating and moving quickly throughout the selling process.

A seller’s agent has the following responsibilities.

  • List the home or property on a variety of listing services
  • Negotiate prices and conditions for the seller
  • Coordinate and shedule showings of the property
  • Price the home or property being sold
  • Advertise and market the propery to potential buyers
  • Help the seller with closing paperwork

Buyer’s Agent (Selling Agent)

When you decide to buy a new home, you will need to work with a buyer’s agent.

A buyer’s agent or selling agent works with the individual who is purchasing real estate or real property – the buyer. Buyer’s agents are industry professionals who understand the complex transaction process and who have in-depth knowledge of local housing markets so that they can present the buyer with properties that match what they might be looking for.

A buyer’s agent has the following responsibilities.

  • Locate unique properties that meet the needs of the buyer
  • Help buyers with financing
  • Conduct showings
  • Price the home or property being sold
  • Works to negotiate fair pricing of properties
  • Help the buyer with closing paperwork

Real Estate Broker

Brokers typically complete more training than real estate agents. Their training allows them to independently facilitate property transactions or own a brokerage, supervising other agents. A brokerage company’s primary duty is to act as a middleman who assists or represents buyers and sellers in the transaction process. A broker who owns a brokerage employs other real estate agents to work under them. Brokers are capable of overseeing more technical parts of real estate transactions.

Responsibilities of a Real Estate Broker

  • Can Do Everything Real Estate Agents Can Do

    Before someone can become a broker, they must first pass the real estate licensing required in their state. They are capable of completing each step of the real estate purchasing process.

  • Supervise and Guide Other Agents

    Brokers who oversee a brokerage manage the day-to-day of running a firm, providing support to agents in the form of technology, marketing, mentoring, and listings. Many go through advanced training courses in order to become a broker and can help with complicated real estate transaction.

Is It Better to Be a Real Estate Agent or a Broker?

It all depends on what you are looking for.

Some real estate agents are happy to continue working with their team. They enjoy having the available resources their brokerage offers. Working for a brokerage provides an agent with brand presence, networking opportunities, and one-on-one training.

But, for the self-motivated agents who are aspiring to be their own boss, becoming a broker may be the next step in their career.

The process and requirements to become a broker are different in every state. For example, Colorado brokerage licensing requires the following certifications: completion of a 24-hour Brokerage Administration Course, two (2) years of active real estate experience, and must meet the requirements of Colorado Rule A-27.

In Texas, however, agents who wish to become an individual broker must have 4 years of active experience (3600 points), take 270 hours of qualifying education including the Brokerage Administration Course, and pass the Texas license exam.

Written and Published by: VanEd


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