What’s the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Real Estate Broker?

What's the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Real Estate Broker?Back To School

The main difference between an agent and a broker is that the broker must complete more coursework. Both hold licenses and are allowed to sell houses. Because brokers spend a little longer studying, they can do some things that agents can’t do. For example, they can manage a brokerage.

If you work for a real estate company, you can be an agent and sell houses. However, if you’re independent, you must be a broker. In layman’s terms, brokers have more power and more responsibility than agents. They complete more schooling and therefore have more knowledge of the industry. Typically, agents work under brokers.

Don’t Knock Your Agent

Now, it’s starting to sound like agents are just brokers’ henchmen, cleaning around the office, making coffee, occasionally smiling at customers as they walk in. While it’s true that agents are basically the salespeople of a brokerage, this doesn’t mean that they’re generic hired help. Agents are capable of doing for you much of the same things brokers do.

In an actual real estate brokerage, they do largely the same work. Agents may be buying properties to list, acting as intermediary between buyer and seller, securing financing from lending institutions, searching titles and more. They’ll also have complete knowledge of neighborhoods, prices, tax and zoning laws, and buyers’ needs. In fact, they may be the only one you see from the beginning to the end of the entire process.

Brokers are not wizards with the magic powers to make a house yours. With all of their extra knowledge and schooling, what they can do is own a real estate company. Their extra training is in how to run this business, manage employees, and basically run the show.

A Few Words Of Warning

As if it weren’t confusing enough, many people use the two terms interchangeably. Even real estate professionals will sometimes mix them up. It benefits you to understand this bit of knowledge, so that you can understand what’s going on during your house buying adventure.

Another word of warning – in Canada, the two terms ARE interchangeable. Both broker and agent are referred to as “agents.”

Finding Good Real Estate Agents And Brokers

All agents and brokers must be qualified and licensed. This guarantees that they’ve been through the training they need and that they follow a strict code of ethics.

The best way to find a good one is through referrals. Happy customers will always tell you about the company that helped them get their dream house. You can also do an Internet search. There is a plethora of websites that’ll help you find a good local agency. Another way is to attend open houses. They’ll always have a sign and plenty of information about other listings as well. You can always drive around and scope out signs, too.

Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, you’re ready to search. Happy house hunting!