When it comes to the world of real estate, the terms "real estate agent" and "real estate broker" are often used interchangeably, but they have some important differences. In this article, we'll explore the contrasting roles and responsibilities of these professionals in the industry.
Real Estate Agents
A real estate agent is licensed to assist individuals in buying, selling, and renting properties. Their main objective is to bring together buyers and sellers and facilitate successful transactions. Agents earn their income through commissions, which are typically a percentage of the property's sale price. They can represent either the buyer or the seller in a transaction and are also referred to as real estate associates or salespeople.
Real Estate Brokers
Real estate brokers perform similar tasks to agents but have obtained further education and hold a state real estate broker license. Unlike agents, brokers have the flexibility to work independently and establish their own brokerage. They also have the ability to hire other real estate agents to work under them. Brokers earn commissions on their own deals as well as a percentage of the commissions generated by the agents they employ.
Types of Real Estate Brokers
There are three primary tiers of real estate brokers, each with different levels of responsibility:
1. Associate Brokers: These brokers possess the necessary broker license but choose to work under another broker. Generally, they do not supervise other agents and focus on their individual transactions.
2. Managing Brokers: Responsible for overseeing transactions and daily operations within the brokerage, managing brokers also hire agents, train new recruits, and handle administrative tasks.
3. Principal/Designated Brokers: This category of brokers supervises real estate agents to ensure compliance with state and national real estate laws. Every real estate office is required to have one designated broker.
Although real estate agents and brokers share similarities in their roles, brokers have additional qualifications that grant them more independence and the ability to build their own brokerage. Whether you're considering a career in real estate or looking to engage professional assistance, understanding the distinctions between agents and brokers will help you make informed decisions throughout the buying or selling process.