What is the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker?

Asked by Trulia San Francisco, San Francisco, CA Thu Jan 24, 2013

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Jeff Teperme…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Many people believe that a Real Estate Agent and a Real Estate Broker are the same, but this is actually a mistake. So, what exactly is the difference between them? Below are some:

1. A RE Agent is a person who works under a licensed RE Broker.
2. Anyone who wants to become a Broker must either have years of experience, or adequate education in lieu of experience, take additional courses and pass a Broker's state exam. Such include RE Practice, RE Economics, Escrows, RE Appraisal, RE Finance, RE Law and Loan Brokering. Therefore, the RE Broker has more credentials to thir name.
3. While the Аgents perform many of the same functions as the Broker, the Broker is the one that is ultimately responsible for the transaction to be completed properly. In a difficult situation, the success of the transaction may depend on the abilities of the Broker.
4. When someone lists a home for sale or agrees to have an Agent to help them buy a home, an Agency is created. ALL agency agreements are made between the clients and Brokers only, not with Agents. The RE office assigns the RE Agent to work directly with the seller or buyer on its behalf.
5. All Contract terms, commissions, etc. can be negotiated only with the RE Broker.
6. Each Agent is coverd by Broker's Error & Ommission insurance.
0 votes
Cindy Davis, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Big difference. A broker is the only legal entity that may conduct a real estate transaction. All agents must work for a license broker. Also, the broker typically has more extensive education and experience than an agent.
1 vote
Jed Lane, Agent, Petaluma, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
A real estate agent has a license, issued by the state, that allows them to act as a fiduciary agent for principals (people) in real estate transactions UNDER the supervision of a Broker.
A Broker is licensed to act as a fiduciary for principals in a real estate transaction without supervision and can supervise other licensed agents. All contracts are between Brokers and principals.
Only a licensed Broker can manage rental property.
A Realtor is a real estate agent that is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Not all licensees are Realtors but all Realtors are licensees. Realtors swear an oath to abide by a code of ethics that is above and beyond what the law demands of licensees.
From all of this you can deduce that a Broker’s license is harder to get, requires more experience, knowledge and expertise.
A brokerage is a firm lead by a licensed broker and has other licensees under supervision. The agents are all independent contractors.
If a licensed Broker is working with another broker they are referred to as a broker associate. I have a broker’s license and am associated with Coldwell Banker.
0 votes
Laura Coffey, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
A Realtor has to tie their license to broker but it does not necessarily mean that all brokers are better.
I choose not to have my license though I have the education because of liability. I share that with my broker because I want to be apart of ReMax.
There is lots of brokers that have less experience and knowledge than Realtors.
It comes down to each individual.
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