What is the difference between a real estate AGENT and a BROKER

Have you tried to buy or sell a plot? Different people come up to you offering help they identify themselves by various titles; these include real estate agent, real estate broker or realtor. How do you tell the difference?

Many times we use these terms interchangeably. However there are some important differences, and also varying conditions for using particular titles. Let’s break it down one by one;

  1. Real estate agent

A real estate agent is a person who represents sellers or buyers of real estate or real property. Real estate agents are divided into four categories:

  • Seller’s Agents, aka “listing agents,” are contracted by owners to assist with marketing property for sale and/or lease.
  • Buyer’s Agents are salespersons who help buyers purchase property.
  • Dual Agents help both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. To protect their operating license, this agent owes both parties fair and honest dealing and must ask both parties (seller and buyer) to sign a dual agency agreement. Special regulations often apply to dual agents, especially in negotiating price. In a dual agency situation, a conflict of interest is probable, usually resulting in the loss of advocacy for both parties. 
  • Transaction Agents: This applies in a situation where a buyer is not represented by their own exclusive agent, the listing agent may have to write an offer for the client.

2.Real estate broker

A real estate broker negotiates, arranges, and oversees real estate transactions. They may also run a brokerage firm. In developed countries to qualify as a broker you must have taken education beyond the agent level and passed a broker’s license exam. They are also more experienced.

In the proper sense, brokers have in-depth knowledge of the real estate business they act as an umbrella company and the agent is essentially a salesperson working for that company.

Common responsibilities of real estate agents and brokers include:

  1. Represent buyers and sellers
  2. Marketing residential sales and rentals, commercial sales and rentals, industrial sales and rentals or lands for sale
  3. Negotiate prices and managing transactions
  4. Prospecting buyer and seller leads
  5. Hold open houses and showing homes
  6. They also source for clients’ needs if they do not have the property in their listings.
  7. Manage properties on behalf of the landlord
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