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Real Estate Agents vs Brokers—What’s the Difference?

real estate broker going over contracts with buyers in their home.

If you’re talking to a non-real estate professional and they refer you to a real estate broker, they’re more than likely referring to a brokerage firm. Sometimes, they may refer to me as the broker or my broker for ease of communication. However, the fact of the matter is that a broker isn’t always a brokerage firm. It could also refer to a real estate agent! This can leave you terribly confused at times, leaving you scratching your head and wondering what to do next.

Of course, while a broker or an agent won’t come up too often in a conversation, they’re still vital for you to understand to ensure you do not run into any problems during your transaction.

So, with that in mind, let’s talk about real estate brokers and real estate agents:

What Is a Real Estate Broker?

A real estate broker is an individual independent contractor who acts as a liaison between the buyer and seller. Unlike a real estate agent, who is paid a commission based on the sale commission, a real estate broker will charge a flat fee and, in most cases, will collect a small fee from the seller.

Brokers don’t always operate out of an actual brokerage firm, which is why you may rarely hear of a real estate broker. Instead, they operate out of their own office, which is often just a desk or an office. Like real estate agents, real estate brokers are heavily regulated by the state and the federal government in order to ensure you’re working with a professional. You can find more information on real estate broker requirements here.

 

What Is a Real Estate Agent?

Real estate agents are licensed by the state and are paid a commission from the seller. They work in the best interest of their seller – not the buyer – and are often paid a portion of their commission when the transaction goes through, and the funds are received by the seller.

An agent is able to work for a buyer, but this is primarily if the buyer is buying a home from the same office where the agent is working. In most cases, agents will not be able to represent a buyer who is not looking in the same place they are. The same goes for a seller – sellers will also rarely work with an agent who is working to buy a home.

The agent is also a liaison between the buyer and seller, but unlike a real estate broker, the agent is actually working for the buyer, not the seller.

 

Which of the Two Do You Need?

The difference between a broker and an agent can be confusing, especially when a broker is an agent. However, when it comes down to it, there really isn’t that much difference between the two.

In most cases, a real estate agent will have access to a large database of contacts of other real estate agents since they’re often working in the same area or areas. This can make it easier to find a real estate agent.

A broker, on the other hand, may have fewer contacts since they’re on their own. However, you may find a broker to be more reliable. This is especially true if you’re buying a home and you’re only looking in a few places.

This is because a real estate agent may be more likely to spread around your information since they’re not difficult to find in the first place. However, a real estate agent may not have the same level of experience as a broker since they’re just beginning to work in real estate, which is why they’re referred to as a broker.

 

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, a real estate agent is just as reputable as a real estate broker. It’s true that a real estate broker may be more established, but a real estate agent has the opportunity to gain the same experience if they’re working in the field properly. Either way, both of these professionals are heavily regulated, so you can rest easy knowing you’re in good hands.

Evergreen Investments helps homeowners build wealth in a variety of ways from their residential property assets. If you are looking for real estate brokerage services, get in touch with us today!

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