Real Estate Agent Versus Broker: What’s The Difference?

Are you looking to invest in or sell a home? As you carry out this business, you will most likely require the services of a real estate agent or broker. Both professionals will readily help you accomplish your sale or purchase effectively. However, before embarking on your search for one, here is a description of each profession and their variations.

Who Is A Real Estate Agent?

This is a professional with a license allowing them to facilitate the sale, purchase, or rent of real estate. They bring the buyer and seller together and are paid a commission (a percentage of the property’s selling price). You may also find them as real estate salespeople or real estate associates.

Different states have different requirements for licensed real estate agents, and no federal license exists. However, in addition to being over 18 years old and a legal citizen of the United States, a real estate agent must be sponsored by a licensed real estate broker and pass a background check and the state real estate licensing exam. All states also require their real estate agents to participate in professional classes for the license.

Different types of real estate agents are:

  • Buyer’s agent (Selling agent): a real estate agent that represents a client looking to buy real estate property.

  • Seller’s agent (listing agent): an agent that represents a client intending to sell real estate property.

Who Is A Broker?

A broker is a real estate agent that furthers their education to receive an additional license: the state real estate broker license. They do almost the same thing as real estate agents: For a buying client, they find properties that match their clients’ descriptions, oversee negotiations, prepare offers and counter-offers, and assist with any other issues about the close of the sale. For selling clients, they determine a resale value, list and show the properties, present all offers made, and other activities related to the sale.

Different kinds of brokers include:

  • Associate brokers: brokers that work in a brokerage firm and report to another broker.

  • Managing brokers: these brokers oversee the running of a brokerage firm and hire real estate agents.

  • Principal/ Designated broker: a high-level broker that supervises agents to ensure they are compliant with local, state, and national laws. Every real estate brokerage firm has at least one principal broker.

The Differences Between A Real Estate Agent And A Broker

  • A real estate agent has to share some of their commission with the agency while a broker does not, which means you may have an opportunity to negotiate on their fees.

  • A real estate agent is limited to the options made available by their agency, while a broker may have access to more property options as listed by several agencies.

  • A real estate agent is not allowed to work independently, while a broker is allowed to start their brokerage and hire other real estate agents.

  • Brokers can work as real estate agents, but real estate agents cannot work as brokers unless they have a broker’s license.


The terms real estate agent and broker are sometimes interchangeable, but they are not necessarily the same. The differences are mostly reflected in their qualifications and level on the professional ladder. 

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