The differences between real estate agents, brokers

Real estate transactions often involve substantial amounts of money. As a result, it is common for both buyers and sellers to enlist the services of a wide variety of professionals with real estate experience.

Both buyers and sellers can partner with real estate agents or brokers to buy or sell their homes. Agents and brokers are not one and the same, and there are some important differences between the two.

Real estate agent

Realtor.com says real estate agents are professionally licensed individuals who can help both buyers and sellers. Brokers can also help property owners rent their homes. The number of training real estate agents need to acquire their licenses varies by state.

Once individuals complete their required education, they are required to take a written exam that verifies their knowledge of real estate laws and general federal principles, as well as the laws that apply to the country in which they wish to obtain a license.

Only after passing this exam do individuals become recognized real estate agents. Investopedia notes that achieving broker status is the starting point for most real estate professionals.

Real estate agent

Real estate agents are those professionals who have continued their education beyond the brokerage level and obtained a broker license. Each state has its own requirements to become a licensed broker. However, education and exams are required regardless of where a person lives.

Realtor.com notes that the additional courses to acquire a broker license focus on a variety of topics including ethics, contracts, taxes, and insurance. Agents may learn about these topics as well, but the coursework for prospective brokers goes deeper than the agent level.

Realtors will also study and learn legal questions related to real estate. Some of the legal issues that realtors may know about include brokerage, property investments, construction, and property management. Requirements vary, but Realtor.com notes that it is common for agents to work as licensed real estate agents for at least three years before they can acquire their broker license.

There is more than one type of real estate agent:

Principal / Designated Brokers oversee all brokers for a given firm and ensure that the brokers act in accordance with all real estate laws.

Broker management typically focuses on hiring and training agents.

Associate brokers have their broker license but work directly under a managing broker.

Real estate agents and brokers can help buyers, sellers and investors manage real estate transactions successfully, and each can serve their customers in different ways. (MC)