First, it helps to understand that there are real estate brokers, and there are the real estate agents who work for them.
Both are licensed by the state, but brokers have taken their real estate education a step further. Brokers can work independently, and they can also hire agents to work for them in an agency. Agents, on the other hand, must work under a licensed broker who is legally responsible for them.
Real estate professionals go by different names. There are agents. Brokers. Realtors. Associate brokers. Seller's agents. Buyer's agents. The list goes on.
If you’re entering the real estate market, you may find real estate professionals' various titles a little confusing. Sometimes consumers use these titles interchangeably, but there are some important differences between the roles of the various professionals, as well as different requirements for using particular titles.
The real estate profession is regulated by state governments, which have different requirements for earning a license. In general, though, the titles you may come across include:
While you are more likely to work directly with a real estate salesperson or an associate broker, some brokers provide services for buyers and sellers themselves. If you have hired a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a home, that agent typically reports to a broker. The broker handles the earnest money deposit and establishes the escrow account.
In addition, the broker bears responsibility for the actions of the real estate agents under his or her supervision. While the majority of real estate transactions go through without any glitches, a broker will step in if there are any problems with your home purchase or sale.
If you are unhappy with your real estate agent and cannot resolve the issues directly, your next step should be to talk with the broker to ask for help and perhaps another agent for you to consult.
Real estate brokers not only have higher education requirements than real estate salespersons, they also must have experience working as an agent.
If you want to work with someone new to the profession, you may want to ask to meet the broker as well so you can feel comfortable that someone with experience will be representing your interests.