Question Details

Alice, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

should I find an agent or a broker for buying a house?

Asked by Alice, San Francisco, CA Thu Jan 5, 2012

1. who should I find for buying a house, an agent or a broker?
2. can I find two people (two agents) at the same time?

Help the community by answering this question:


does an agent or a broker charge the same fee?
does it have any different by working with any one of them?
thanks a lot for answering my questions, and I learn a lot from you guys.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
Alice you should interview a few aqents but only choose 1. A Broker and an agent are similar in their duties, a broker may have more expereince and took the extra step of testing to become a Broker rather than stay an agent. find a buyer broker who will guide you through each step of the buying process and is familiar with the area you are looking in.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
As my most recent buyer said to me 'wow, I had NO idea all of the work you realtors had to do until we went to buy a home!!'

Short of it is that you need someone working on your side. You need someone familiar with all of the different situations to help you navigate the home purchase process.

My advice would be to 'interview' a few or attend some open houses and get a feel for an agent you are comfortable with. You could also ask others you know who have bought who they used for a referral.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
Find somebody(Agent or Broker) you are comfortable with. In your case, somebody with an ABR(accredited Buyer Representative) designation would not hurt as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
Hi, Alice. The roles of agents and brokers vary from state to state so the answer to this question will vary depending on where you live. For example, one of the answers from a California agent mentions that agents can be sub-agents which is true in California but not in my state of Idaho. In Oregon, all agents are also brokers, so the terms are interchangeable. Generally speaking, a broker will have gone through extra education and licensing to have the title of broker. Since you are in California, the answers to this issue from California agents are probably going to be the most relevant to you.

It sounds like your main question is how you go about finding the best, most qualified professional to represent you in buying a home. I would recommend interviewing several buyer's agents or brokers. You want someone with experience who works regularly with buyers. I think it's wise to find one agent (or broker) who is a great fit for you and then work with that person exclusively. Technically you can work with more than one agent as long as you don't have a written representation agreement in place, but I think you will get the highest level of service when you hire one agent who is dedicated to helping you with your home search, negotiating the best deal, and guiding you through a smooth closing.

Approximately 80% of my business is with buyers. I give my buyers 110% of my time, attention and expertise. I do great work helping clients find the best homes in the best locations in my community. This is the start of my tenth year selling real estate as a top-producer in my community and so far not one of my buyer clients has lost their home to foreclosure or short sale. There are many really great buyer's agents out there who can truly make a difference in your home buying experience but those agents, like me, give that top-notch service to their dedicated buyers. I think it's in your best interest to find a great agent or broker and then work with him or her exclusively.

Best wishes to you in your home search!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012

This is a commonly misunderstood concept for non-real estate experienced people.

An agent is a state licensed sales person allowed to participate in the buying and selling of real property.

A broker is a state licensed individual allowed to participate in the buying and selling of real property AND have additional licensed persons working under their supervision buying and selling property for their company.

So, you can purchase property from either an agent or a broker. There are many real estate professionals that hold both the borker and agent license. As you consider your choices there are additional certifications that you may want to keep in mind that agents & brokers can obtain that are above and beyond regular licensing. Some examples are: GRI, ABR, ACRE, ACR, CRE, CRS, QSE, SRES. These additional training designations can greatly increase the cepth of knowledge an agent can draw from to provide services to their customers.

Hope this is helpful,

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012

By definition, an agent is a broker. Many salespersons who work for brokers also call themselves agents when they're really sub-agents. It's a muddy distinction in the industry. Here's a blog I wrote to clear it up:…

All else being equal (experience, personality, professionalism, etc.), then a broker offers the advantage of closing deals faster than salespersons. Sometimes that makes the difference between winning a deal or getting a better price.

Yes, you can use two salespersons or brokers at the same time, as long as you haven't signed an exclusive arrangement with any one. Of course, if you're not committed to one broker, the broker tends to be less committed to you. So, there are mutual benefits to be gained through an exclusive.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
One should expect the same level of service regardless agent or broker; therefore interview in person a few local agents/brokers from different realty companies, then choose the one you like best. Consider working with one agent, keep in mind that in the end, only one buyer's agent will get paid at closing; therefore don't waste someone's valuable time, effort, gas, etc.; if the roles were reversed not sure it would be appreciated.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
Hi Alice,

The best advice that I can give to someone is to interview people no matter if they are licensed as a salesperson or a broker.

A broker of an office does have supervision over the agents in their office and sometimes the broker of the office does not even sell.

I am happy to recommend a couple of fantastic agents that I know in SF that you can talk to.

You can email me or call me at 415-683-6950.

Good luck!

Fred Glick
Broker Licensed by the California DRE 01507615
Web Reference:
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jan 5, 2012
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