Real Estate Brokers v/s Agents: 4 Common Differences

Real estate agents are of many different types that can be confusing at times. It’s all about experience and titles giving them their respective positions in the industry. A typical agent could be an associate, a consultant or even a realtor.

Real estate brokers; on the contrary, can work as agents but not as typical brokers/dealers without authentic license. Real estate agent is a licensed salesperson who facilitates transactions in a particular state where he operates whereas a broker can pursue sales activities, own, operates and even manages different real estate offices.

As each state has different license and qualification requisite, defining roles of each professional but, there’re some similarities as well. Agents who also provide property advises to clients and customers must be licensed. Most countries maintain online websites where consumers can easily research over a particular agent and details such as license number, violations, success history and more.

1)  Basic roles & responsibilities

Real estate agents signify buyers and sellers when property is being sold and known to work with both types of clients. Primary duties involve marketing of home listings, client representation throughout the process, look after contracts and negotiations as well as assist with closing procedure.

Real estate brokers supervise sales agents in their activities in a brokerage firm or real estate office. In many different countries, an agent usually works under direction of a licensed broker to obtain and preserve license essentials. The broker also looks after ethics and professionalism of the sales agents therefore can be considered their immediate leads.

Brokers can also pursue independent property business being sole owners, only if they’ve operating licenses.

2) Background requirements

The basic licensing elements are similar in many countries for both brokers and agents however; standards are much higher for brokers since their responsibilities are greater.

Background checks, examination, pre-licensing classes and requirement are quite identical. However, work hours and scope may differ.

In some states, broker’s license is issued to a salesperson with an experience of at-least two years and minimum age limit is 18 for agents and 21 for brokers however, that’s conditional.

3) Additional considerations

When someone lists or buys a home, contracts are developed by the brokerage firm. The seller is liable to pay commission to the broker upon successful deal. Distribution of commission is for the seller and buyer’s agent whereas their immediate firm or agency retains a percentage based on agreement.

As for legal and ethical considerations, operating fairly with customers and clients is prioritised. Agents are responsible for every action and brokers may be held accountable for any illegal activities of business flaw.

Many advanced countries such as US’s Indiana state has eliminated the typical label of “salesperson” or “agent”; simply licensing all professionals as real estate brokers. The aim is simplification of industry laws as well as improving qualifications.

4) Education, expertise & personal skills for;

-> Real estate agent

To qualify for being a property agent, you must’ve;

  • Background of sales and marketing
  • At-least a high-school diploma
  • Some agencies may ask for additional education in real estate law and financing

Licenses can be obtained by taking an exam from recognised institutions or even accredited property firms. Agents must possess an outgoing personality, a sense of understanding the requirements, sufficient level of trustworthiness and maturity.

-> Real estate broker

Qualification of being a broker includes;

  • With sales and marketing familiarity, knowledge of banking is a pro
  • Awareness of financial institutions and lending procedure, current rates and applicable terms
  • Familiarity of credit-worthiness and reporting criteria
  • An edge over mathematics, written and verbal communication

Being extrovert and desirable to understand things happening in the industry as well as oversee implementation is a must.


The above details clarify much about real estate agents and brokers with their respective roles and responsibilities.

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