Technically no you don't need either. But I want to clarify some terminology for you. The broker is the responsible party for the brokerage and there can only be one Broker in each company, any others who have completed the additional 130 hours of training are Associate Brokers. A Realtor for Real Estate Agent has completed 60 hours of training to gain their license and in order to be a Realtor must be affiliated and supervised by a Broker. Technically, no you don't need either to transact real estate. Keep in mind, however, the agent whose sign is in front of the property represents the seller and cannot represent you. They can facilitate the transaction, write your contract and take the deal to settlement however, they can not give you advice as to price, condition, whether you should have an inspection, the terms and conditions of the contract of sale, nor will they protect your rights under the contract of sale because their duty is to their client, the seller. And, by not having an agent of your own you won't be getting any deals because the seller is saving money on the transaction because chances are the listing agent will then get both sides of the commission. In the beginning the seller agrees to pay a commission, say it's 6% and the seller and agent agree to cooperate with other brokerages therefore splitting that 6% with another brokerage but if there is no other brokerage then that 6% goes to the listing agent. A buyer's agent will help you determine what your real estate needs are, and identify properties that meet those needs, they will also advise you with regards to community ammenities, they will advise you as to what price you should offer, assist you in the home inspection process and help you determine which items from the home inspection you should ask the seller to repair, assist you in the mortgage process, assist you in choosing service providers who will help you with title work and settlement. An agent will also help you write a contract, (the contract can now be as many as 60 pages in length),by determining which addenda are needed, what clauses you'll need to include and what conditions you'll need in order to protect your rights in the event that the home inspection reveals some hidden defects that you just can't live with and need to withdraw from the contract. And, a buyer's agent does get paid, most times, by the seller. As a first time buyer, I would never recommend that you try to navigate the process without representation, it just makes sense to have an advocate on your side.