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Know the Difference: Realtors, Real Estate Agents and Brokers

10 March 2014 No Comment

Real estate agents, real estate brokers, and realtors. What’s the difference? They all sell property, right? They’re all collecting commissions, and they all know how to negotiate deals. Why bother learning what the difference is? It’s sort of like a red house vs a blue house. They’re both houses, right? Not so fast. There are actually some key differences between all three of these designations. Knowing them might mean the difference between selling your home and keeping it for another year.

What An Agent Does

An agent is a real estate professional that works on your behalf to find you the right home. He negotiates for a price that you should be happy with, and he does not chase sales for commissions. Even though he does earn a commission on every sale, he has a fiduciary duty to make sure that you’re getting the home you need and deserve. He has a responsibility to you, the consumer.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t hire another independent inspector to check out the home – even when you’re working with an agent from trusted sources, like Agent Harvest. Having a second opinion can confirm what the agent is telling you.

What A Broker Does

A broker is a real estate professional that usually has more experience. He is a senior agent with additional education and training under his belt. He’s also probably in a more managerial role at a real estate brokerage.

He may also be a specialist when it comes to certain types of property. However, real estate agents and real estate brokers are sometimes interchangeable, depending on where you live in the country. If you’re unsure whether there’s a difference where you live, ask. It’s the easiest way to clarify any misunderstanding, and it might just make the difference in how much you get for your home.

For example, if you have the opportunity to work with a broker, a senior agent, you might get better service than from an agent (someone younger in the business). If your broker doesn’t really specialize in the types of home that you have, or the area where you live, then a broker might mean the difference between selling the house quickly and staying where you are for another year.

That’s a serious consideration, especially if you have to move because of a job relocation or you just need to sell the home to downsize or pay off debts.

What Realtors Do

Realtors differ from real estate agents and brokers in that they are members of the National Association of Realtors. This is an independent organization of real estate agents, brokers, and other real estate professionals.

It’s not so much that these people are radically different in what they do. It’s more that they may have more extensive training and they are bound by a specific code of ethics and a fiduciary duty that brokers might not have. Even agents aren’t held to the same standards as Realtors. So, choose wisely, and regardless of who you choose, always do your research. Just because someone has the education and training, or even experience, doesn’t mean they will be a good fit, personality-wise.

Phillip Waterman’s career in real estate spans decades. With a keen eye and clear manner, he enjoys writing about navigating the real estate market for today’s buyers and sellers.


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