Home Buying in Elizaville>Question Details

Westl, Home Buyer in Elizaville, NY

What is the difference between a buyers agent and a buyer broker? I thought they were the same thing...

Asked by Westl, Elizaville, NY Wed Mar 9, 2011

Help the community by answering this question:


Buyer's Agent and Buyer's Broker are essentially the same thing. The agent is performing real estate related activities under the authority of their Broker. Agents' licenses are held by the Brokerage they are affiliated with. Each brokerage has a Managing or Qualifying Broker. In your transaction you are represented by the brokerage who you have hired to protect your interests. Your daily communications will be with your agent who is working under the authority of their broker.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
A Buyer's Agent or Buyer's Broker (they are exactly the same thing), works exclusively for you, must act with utmost good faith, loyalty, and fidelity in your best interests; and must advocate solely on your behalf.
Only when you and any real estate agent have a written agreement can they be your Buyer's Broker.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
They are somewhat the same. A buyer broker is a person with more education, therefore receiving a broker’s license, in which they could have a company that represents only buyers. This would make them a Buyer Broker. A buyer's agent could be the person that has a real estate license that practices real estate out of that company representing only buyers. Which in turn would make them a Buyer's Agent.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
In some states, the buyer broker will be the company the agent works for, the buyers agent is the person who you work with and actually represents you. That agent may be an associate broker, or not. To be an associate broker requires additional education, experience through transacting a certain number of transactions and passing a different exam as well. If the home is listed by the same broker as the one who is representing you that broker will be a dual agent, representing both buyer and seller, whilst the buyers agent may only be representing you and as such is a designated agent. All depends on the agency law in your state.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
OK, stay with me for a minute.

Agent and broker (with a little "b") can be used interchangeably. The agent/broker is performing real estate related activities on behalf of their Broker (with a big "B"). The (designated) Broker is the primary licensee and holds the licenses of all the agents that are working for the "Brokerage" (company/organization).

Agents can achieve the Broker designation(indicating a higher level of education and understanding of license law), but there is only one Designated Broker per brokerage, therefore that agent is referred to as an Associate Broker as long as they associate with an established brokerage.

Clear as mud, right?

Keep in mind, the Realtor designation is also special, and requires an agent and Broker to be members of the local, state and national board of Realtors. The Boards set the standards for professionalism and ethics and enforces them within our industry. All Realtors are agents, but not all agents are Realtors.

Hope that helps!
Stacy Carter
Associate Broker
Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011

Likely the same real estate professional... different terminology.

Although, there are agents (often brokers) who work exclusively with buyers and have a contractual relationship with their buyers. They don't list properties. I think it would be most accurate to call that real estate professional a buyer broker.

A buyer's agent could be an agent acting on behalf of a buyer in a transaction, but also lists properties, etc.

I hope I didn't confuse the matter!


Tom Lynch
Associate Broker, Massachusetts and New York
Berkshire Property Agents
12 Railroad Street
Great Barrington, Massachusetts 01230
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
Every agent has to have a Broker to hang their license under. I broker holds a specific license and has to have a trust account set up (to handle earnest money) and can own or manage their own brokerage. An agent has a "salesperson" license and act on behalf of their broker. Each Real Estate Brokerage has to have a "Designated Broker" who is responsible for all transactions in their office. An agent can get their brokers license (in most states the requirements are additional education and a certain period of time as an agent), yet still not be the designated broker for their office. My particular office has 1 "designated broker" and 50 "agents", 10 of which also have their Brokers licenses. Hope that helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
No, they are not the same thing. The agent works under the broker for the buyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
Westl, Agency terminologies vary from state to state and some stay the same where in other states it is close with a slight variation. Be sure to get an answer from your state.

Chris Rocheford
KW Realty Integrity NW
Licensed in MN
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
The real answer is the difference between a BROKER and an AGENT. The Broker usually is the BOSS, has a higher standard of care and has taken more education. An AGENT is just that, he or she works for a Broker and represents a buyer or seller in their quest for a home or seeking to sell one. An Agent has less requirements education wise,,they must have a renewal of 24 hours each 2 year period, with certain required courses and a few optional hours out of the 24.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
You are right they are the same. The only difference could be the amount of training for licensing in some cases. Some states have agents and brokers and others just have brokers. It appears that your question is about who represents you as a buyer and an agent or a broker can provide that service. Some are exclusive to representing buyers. This usually requires an agency agreement, but not in all cases. It is important to know talk to the agent / broker you decide to work with and discuss agency relationship prior to any services. Hope this helps.

All the best,
Gary Geer

0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
All agents are brokers in Washington state as well. A managing broker will be over other brokers in the agency.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
Tom gave the best answer. There actually is a difference, I guess depending on what state you are in. However, in most states the agent works for the broker. One broker, many agents. But people do use the terms interchangeably. I didn't know that "all agents are brokers" in Oregon.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
For all intent and purposes, there is none. There are many more pressing questions than this to concern yourself with when purchasing a new home, such as checking the background and knowledge of the person who is representing you as well as being on the same track and being comfortable with that person.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
In the state of Oregon there is no difference. All agents are brokers. However a supervising broker is called a Principal Broker and has a higher level of education.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
A BUYER'S AGENT represents a buyer. There may also be a contract that is signed between the 2 parties. . Many people are confused by the term "broker". A "broker" is someone who has a higher level of education and is held to a higher standard than a sales associate licensee. Most Realtors are sales associates that can represent buyers or sellers and they must work under a "BROKER". I would use the term buyer's agent since the term broker can often be misunderstood.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
You are absolutely correct...they are the same thing.

There is a difference, however, between an agent and a broker; it has to do with experience, education and licensing.
Web Reference: http://GailGladstone.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
They are the same thing, different way of saying it. Some agents are not brokers so they might use the buyer agent rather than using the word broker since they are not a broker. All agents are not brokers, but all brokers are agents. You have to go to more classes and or have more experience to be a broker. Each office will have a broker who is in charge of the agents under the broker and they are called the managing broker or principal broker or broker-in-charge. Each state uses different terms.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 9, 2011
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