The Difference Between a Real Estate Agent, Broker, and REALTOR®
The journey of buying or selling a home can often resemble a maze, with countless twists and turns, unfamiliar terminology, and an array of professionals ready to guide you. For those unacquainted with the intricacies of the real estate world, it can be bewildering. Yet, understanding the key players in this arena is the first step to finding your way through this complex terrain.
What is a Real Estate Agent?
So, you’ve decided to buy or sell your property, and you’re stepping into the world of real estate. The first person you’re likely to encounter is a real estate agent. But what exactly does a real estate agent do?
Real estate agents are licensed professionals who facilitate the buying and selling of properties. They serve as the bridge between buyers and sellers, ensuring a smooth transaction. To become an agent, one must first complete pre-licensing training, which varies by state. This training encompasses critical aspects of the trade, such as federal and state real estate laws, principles, and state-specific regulations.
Once the training is complete, aspiring agents must pass a written licensing exam to earn their real estate agent title. This examination typically covers a wide range of topics, from property laws to contract negotiations.
Agents function in two major ways, acting as either a listing agent or a buyer’s agent.
Listing agents represent homeowners looking to sell their property. Their responsibilities range from setting an appropriate listing price and marketing the property to coordinating open houses and negotiating offers on behalf of the seller. Listing agents are instrumental in ensuring that a property is showcased effectively to attract potential buyers.
Buyer’s agents assist individuals seeking to purchase a home. Their duties include helping buyers find suitable properties, arranging property visits, and guiding them through the offer and negotiation processes. Essentially, they’re the advocates for buyers, ensuring they get the best possible deal.
Real estate agents typically earn their income through commissions, which are a percentage of the property’s sale price, and in Florida are typically paid by the Seller. This commission is often shared between the buyer’s agent, the listing agent, and their respective brokerage firms.
What is a Real Estate Broker?
Real estate brokers take the profession to the next level. These individuals own and manage real estate brokerages, which often serve as the umbrella for agents and the hub of real estate transactions.
To become a broker, one must undergo additional education and pass a more comprehensive broker’s license exam. This additional coursework covers topics such as ethics, contracts, taxes, insurance, and real estate investments, providing brokers with a more profound understanding of the real estate industry.
Unlike agents, brokers have the autonomy to operate independently and can even hire other real estate agents to work for them. In essence, they are both professionals who have completed the extensive requirements of a real estate agent’s training and those additional criteria that qualify them as brokers.
Let’s explore the varieties of real estate brokers:
Broker associates usually work as real estate agents but possess the training and licensure required to broker real estate transactions. For many agents, this is a pivotal step in advancing their careers.
Typically, designated brokers are the owners or managers of real estate firms. They hire real estate agents to work with clients, buy and sell properties, and resolve client issues. They often play a mentorship role, developing training materials to improve their agents’ sales skills and knowledge.
The responsibilities of brokers of record can vary from state to state, but they usually oversee all activities conducted on behalf of the firm by its agents and other employees. This includes ensuring all employees comply with real estate laws, maintaining accurate records, managing trust and escrow accounts, reviewing paperwork, and distributing commissions.
Much like brokers of record, managing brokers supervise the daily operations of a real estate firm. They are responsible for training and mentoring agents, overseeing marketing efforts and property listings, and ensuring legal compliance throughout all client interactions and transactions.
What is a REALTOR®?
Now, let’s introduce a special term you might have heard before – REALTOR®. A REALTOR® can be either an agent or a broker, but what sets them apart is their membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
As members of this trade organization, Realtors subscribe to a stringent code of ethics that places them on a higher standard. This code dictates their conduct and ensures a commitment to honesty, transparency, and the best interests of their clients. While it’s important to note that all licensed agents and brokers must adhere to state standards, the NAR’s code adds an additional layer of commitment to ethical behavior.
Misty Morrison is not just a real estate agent; she’s a Broker Owner with a wealth of experience in the industry. With two decades of dedicated service in Brevard County’s real estate market, Misty has earned a reputation as a seasoned professional who excels in every aspect of the business. With the right real estate professional by your side, you can confidently navigate the property market. Your journey toward finding or selling your dream home begins with informed choices. Reach out to Misty Morrison Real Estate & Company for expert guidance on your real estate journey.