If you’re considering diving into the housing market business, it’s best to understand the difference between a real estate agent and broker.
Most people assume the two are one and the same. While that’s half-right in some instances, there are several major distinctions between an agent and broker, including responsibilities, salaries and much more.
Do you know the differences? Read on to find out.
The Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and Broker
The biggest difference you’ll notice between the two is that a broker has many more options. You’ll discover why here.
Let’s start with a real estate agent.
A real estate agent is responsible for a myriad of tasks:
- Representing sellers and buyers
- Negotiating pricing
- Marketing and showing homes
- Prospecting leads
These are the people you think of when you consider the face behind purchasing a home. They are in direct contact with buyers and sellers and attempt to persuade individuals to purchase a home at a good price for their client.
However, a broker’s responsibilities vary wildly depending on his or her position. If the desire strikes, a broker can open his or her own business and hire real estate agents. Consequently, they have a number of different responsibilities:
- Managing a business
- Hiring and training agents
- Resolving disputes
- Reviewing contracts
- Keeping records
These are only a few of the possibilities in a real estate broker’s daily list of chores.
However, a broker can also have the exact same list of responsibilities as a real estate agent if he chooses to remain an associate broker. Associate brokers have more education and experience than real estate agents, but they undertake the same tasks.
As you can imagine, a broker has much more room for growth than an agent. Brokers can be classified in three ways:
- An associate broker
- Managing real estate brokers
- Designated real estate brokers
As mentioned, an associate broker works under another broker with the same responsibilities as an agent. As a result, they are usually paid more.
A managing real estate broker manages a group of agents or brokers. These individuals are in charge of supervising day-to-day operations within a company and overseeing agents. However, some company owners choose to do this themselves.
A designated broker is in charge of a company. He or she is responsible for all transactions occurring within it. For this reason, many prefer to hire managing brokers to reduce the chances of future litigation. If a designated broker chooses to hire other professionals, he or she splits commissions and decides fees.
Comparatively, real estate agents must switch into a slightly different position or obtain further education for growth. Many choose to become appraisers, architects or loan officers.
However, the position itself is quite versatile. Agents can be buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, dual agents, facilitators or even transaction coordinators.
The potential for advancement is a reflection of the education received. Both professions require an intimate knowledge of the real estate market and property values.
However, the specific amount of education varies depending on location.
To become a real estate agent, most states require a certain number of hours in pre-licensing courses and a passing score on the real estate licensing exam.
Agents learn the basics of the trade in their courses and the skills necessary to successfully represent clients and make sales.
Brokers typically have a few years of experience as a real estate agent or a degree (typically a four-year degree). In addition, they must have additional hours of broker pre-licensing courses and a passing score on the state’s broker exam. Some states require certain point limits related to experience in the field.
Courses are broader and more business-focused in nature than they are for agents, as brokers have the opportunity to begin their own company.
Always check the regulations in your state to ensure you meet the qualifications.
As you can tell, starting out as an agent may lead naturally to becoming a broker with extra education.
Do you have what it takes to be an agent or broker? Depending on what you want to focus on in the real estate industry, there are some key characteristics that will help you find success.
An agent interested in selling and purchasing residential houses, for instance, should be a people-person. By “people-person,” we mean transparent and able to handle the emotional side of the business.
These agents excel at bringing buyers and sellers together, finding common ground and (perhaps even more importantly) planning and marketing.
Those interested in selling and purchasing commercial entities typically have these same charismatic properties, but they are more number-focused. This helps them get along with company executives.
Designated and managing brokers should have an entrepreneurial spirit. Successful brokers know their agents’ strengths and weaknesses, have strong business intelligence, are adaptable and stay technology-focused.
Senior Vice President Bryan Brooks of Franchise Sales for HomeSmart International puts it eloquently: “Successful real estate brokers lead teams effectively, guide the financial stability of the brokerage and create ongoing opportunities for agents to harness their own skills to serve homebuyers and sellers with the highest levels of knowledge and service.”
By now, it won’t come as any surprise when we explain that brokers have higher wages.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average mean salary in 2017 for a real estate agent was $59,630. The median salary was $45,990. Salaries vary by state, with the lower percentile making $23,130 and the highest $109,490.
Real estate brokers had an average mean salary of $75,910 and a median salary of $56,730. Individuals in the lower percentile make $24,160 while those in the highest percentile average $151,660.
As you can see, the business opportunities and educational endeavors for brokers pay off with higher hourly wages and annual salaries.
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So now you know the difference between a real estate agent and broker. It really all comes down to wages and responsibilities.
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