Difference Between a Real Estate Broker & an Agent

6:00:00 PM

When I first started blogging I wrote a post titled, "75 Things I Wish I learned in High School." I touched upon the fact that I wish I had learned how to buy a house. It's such a huge step in our lives and yet there's no one that really tells us the right way to do it. That's why I decide to write a blog series about my experience and tips on buying a house!

My first post in this series was, of course, the introduction titled, "We Bought A House!" In that post, I explained that I wanted this series to be both educational and entertaining. Buying a house is pretty serious and I want to help others figure out the best way to do it!

"Finding the Right Mortgage Lender" was the second post in this series. In that post, I shared my experience with finding a mortgage lender and six tips on finding one of your own.

The last segment I wrote was titled, "Finding the Right Real Estate Agent." In that post, I shared my experience finding my real estate agent and six things to keep in mind when choosing one for yourself.

Today's blog post is about the differences between a real estate broker and an agent.

Honestly, when my husband and I met with our agent, we had no idea that there was a difference between those two labels. We just figured broker, agent, and realtor were all interchangeable, but we soon learned that they are not. 

According to Realtor.com, "The real estate profession is regulated by state governments, which have different requirements for earning a license."

They then explained the general titles found in the real estate field:
  • Real estate agent: Anyone who earns a real estate license can be called a real estate agent, whether that license is as a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker. State requirements vary, but in all states you must take a minimum number of classes and pass a test to earn your license.
  • REALTOR®: A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.
  • Real estate broker: A person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required by state laws and has passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers can work alone or they can hire agents to work for them.
  • Real estate salesperson: Another name for a real estate agent.
  • Real estate associate broker: Someone who has taken additional education classes and earned a broker’s license but chooses to work under the management of a broker.
In addition to the terms used above, you may also run into a few other titles. For example, you may hear of a buyer's agent, an accredited buyer's representative, a seller's agent, a listing agent, and/or a dual agent.

From what I understand, the following terms are defined as: 

  • Buyer's agent: An agent that represents the buyer. 
  • Accredited buyer's representative: A buyer's agent who has completed advanced training and can help buyer's through the entire home buying process. An ABR is also a realtor and sometimes requires clients to sign a Buyer Representation Agreement.
  • Seller's agent: An agent that represents the seller.
  • Listing agent: Another name for a seller's agent. However, they sometimes have a different focus or responsibilities.
  • Dual agent: A dual agent is one that represents both the buyer and the seller in one transaction. This will happen when the property is under the same brokerage firm that the buyer's agent works for. 

Not only that, but you can also have various titles too. In addition to the buyer, you can also be referred to as either a customer or a client, but we'll get more into that next time!

Anyways, that's all I've really got on the differences between a real estate broker and an agent. Choosing who you should work with is just one of the many steps of buying a house, but it's a very big one! There are tons of agents all over the place, it's just a matter of time until you find the right one.

I hope this has helped all of those looking into the process of buying a house! Let me know if these tips helped in the comments!

Also, feel free to ask any questions that you'd like to see answered in upcoming posts in the "Buying A House" series!

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  1. This is interesting! I'm off to check out the other posts in the series as I hope to buying a house in the next few years!

    1. Thank you! I hope you find them helpful! Please do ask any questions that you have about the process. I want to make sure the series is both entertaining and educational for everyone 😊

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