Casanova Brooks
Casanova Brooks

Licensed Agent

Real Estate Broker vs Real Estate Agent: What’s the Difference?


Table of Contents

The real estate market is one of the most lucrative industries in the United States. It is one of the few industries that are continuously growing by the day. Real estate actors are making millions each year as they sell and buy homes for their clients. In 2015, for example, it was estimated that over $1 trillion worth of property changed hands nationwide. This figure can be enticing, and one can easily think of joining. But before you make that call, you probably need to first know a few things about real estate and real estate broker vs real estate agent. Do you know the difference? Well, don’t worry about that as this article will provide a clear difference between the two, and perhaps you can make an informed decision based on the knowledge you’ll get by reading this article.

Real estate professionals have various names, based on the roles that one does in the real estate industry. Some of the common names include realtor, real estate broker, real estate agent, and many more. While most people use these terms interchangeably, there is a significant difference among them. Let’s look at each one of them and the roles they do to get the difference;

Real estate broker

A real estate broker is a person who has trained as a realtor and is certified to act on behalf of the client in negotiating with potential sellers. Brokers are responsible for analyzing market conditions, appraising property values, determining fair price ranges for properties based on neighborhoods, and other factors like amenities or views, among others. They will advise clients on where they should buy a home as well as when an offer needs to be made.

How to become a real estate broker

In order to become a real estate broker, one must be a licensed real estate agent and complete an additional course in brokerage. The license is awarded by the state where they are practicing their profession as well as the National Association of Realtors; this organization also has strict requirements for maintaining the certification status with continuing education courses on topics relevant to brokers.

Broker’s License

To become an active real estate broker in most states, professionals are required to either pass a four-year degree for those with undergraduate degrees or two years of experience as well as take continuing education courses every year. A license from your respective state will need to be obtained before becoming completely independent; this means not working under another broker. You probably need to learn how to get a real estate license from your state, as the procedures might vary depending on the state you come from.

Types of real estate brokers

To become a real estate broker, you will have to choose among a few categories. Some of the common categories of real estate brokers include;

Principal/designated broker

In a real estate office, you will find a principal broker, also known as a designated broker. A principal broker in a firm is mandated to oversee all the licensed real estate agents working under the firm. As an actor with relatively more knowledge about the real estate industry in a given state, thanks to the education requirement for real estate brokers, this person ensures that all the licensed real estate agents work in accordance with the state or national real estate law.

Managing broker

A managing broker, just like a principal broker, is based in an office of a real estate brokerage firm. The main work of this person is to oversee the day-to-day activities of the firm as well as provide supervision to the real estate agents. Put simply, a managing broker plays a leading role in all the activities that go on in a real estate firm, including hiring real estate agents, train new agents and manage administrative staff.

Associate broker

This is more of an assistant to the managing broker. His role is to assist the managing broker to run the activities of a real estate firm effectively. However, an associate broker does not supervise other real estate agents.

How much do real estate brokers earn?

You are probably thinking of what is the real estate broker salary, as this is one of the main determinants of whether one can pursue this line of careers or not. Well, a real estate broker, just like real estate agents, earns on a commission basis. Usually, they take a cut on the commissions paid to the real estate agents they supervise.

However, not all real estate brokers are paid on a commission basis. There are some that have a monthly salary, and the commissions just act as a motivator to have them work harder.

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent, on the other hand, is a licensed real estate professional who works on behalf of clients, usually buyers and sellers. They will handle the transactions for their client by contacting other agents to find a property that meets their needs. This includes showing homes to prospective buyers, negotiating offers with sellers, and presenting offers to potential sellers. Real estate agents work for brokerages which consist of one or more real estate brokers working together in offices.

The professionals do not have to be licensed but must complete additional courses before they can work independently. They are also not allowed to list homes or act as listing agents. Real estate brokers work independently and can represent both buyers and sellers in the transaction process, but they must complete a broker’s license before being able to do so during transactions with other realtors.

Certified Real Estate Agent

In order to work independently without supervision, you’ll have to complete at least five core subjects about the business including contracts, finance, and marketing before taking additional requirements based on what type of property they want to work with. This includes classes about residential, commercial, and industrial property.

Types of real estate agents

Just like the real estate brokers, there are various types of real estate agents that one can choose to become part of. They include the following;

Listing agent

A real estate listing agent is someone who is in charge of selling the property that’s been listed with them. This person may or not be a licensed real estate professional. They help the seller with a variety of tasks such as advertising the property, preparing it for sale, and negotiating with potential buyers.

Seller’s agent

A real estate seller’s agent is someone who helps the seller to sell their property. Their job includes advertising, listing, and pricing the property so that it can be sold for a profit. They may also negotiate with potential buyers on behalf of the owner of said property.

Buyer’s agent

A real estate buyer’s agent is someone who acts on behalf of a person or company that wishes to purchase land, commercial buildings, or other types of properties. Buyer’s agents usually have knowledge about the area in which they operate meaning they’ll be able to provide expert advice for buyers.

As a home buyer, however, you don’t need to worry about paying buyer’s agents. This is because home sellers always foot the expenses of their buyer’s agents as well as seller’s agents.

Rental agents

A rental agent is someone who negotiates and manages the renting of property which may include apartments or houses. They will be able to find a space for you, negotiate with landlords on your behalf, set up leases, show potential properties in person, and even help tenants move into their new homes.

Rental agents typically work independently, and they are not usually legally required to be licensed. They do have a real estate license, which allows them to represent clients in real estate transactions as well as list properties for sale on behalf of their broker or another company.

While the person renting is relying on this agent’s expertise, the renters may also wonder if there might be some bias because of an increased commission that would result from a successful rental transaction. A landlord has no incentive to show you everything available in your price range when he knows you’ll take it at any cost – so these problems can’t always simply be chalked up to personal experience with landlords rather than industry standards.


A realtor is an agent who is licensed by the state to work on behalf of buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. They do not have to complete broker’s classes or a broker’s license but must be certified through an organization such as the National Association of Realtors (NAR) before being able to sign agreements for their client with other agents.

Once you become a member of organizations such as the NAR, you will have to subscribe to its standards and code of ethics.

The difference between a broker vs an agent is based on how much responsibility you want as well as your future career goals. An agent may eventually become part of an agency at some point by becoming a salesperson or branch manager while brokers cannot because they are independent contractors running their own business with no other agents working under them.

An agent typically works for a commission and is paid whenever they are successful in closing an offer. A broker, on the other hand, will charge either a flat fee or base salary plus commissions depending on the agreement with their clients.

A broker can be found handling all aspects of transactions from start to finish without assistance (unless it’s required) while agents work as employees under brokers who oversee them throughout their career path. If you would like to have more control over your own business and avoid someone else overseeing you then becoming a real estate broker may be what’s best for you.

Which is the best real estate profession for you: Broker or agent?

Deciding which between the two is best for you entirely depends on what you want. Is it the freedom and independence of a real estate broker or the commissions and guidance that come with being a real estate agent?

Now that you have an understanding of what each profession entails and the benefits of each, it is now time to figure out what is best for you.


As you can see, there are some key differences between brokers and agents. If you’re interested in becoming a broker or agent for real estate, it’s important to know the difference before deciding which profession is best suited for your needs. We hope this blog post has helped clear up any confusion about the two professions! For more information on how we can help with your career goals please feel free to reach out.

Stuck on what to do next? Let’s hop on a call to discuss how eXp can help you rapidly build/scale your real estate career.

casanovabrooksCasanova Brooks is a real estate entrepreneur. With a background as a licensed realtor at Berkshire Hathaway and currently serving as a Change Agent at eXp Realty, Casanova brings a wealth of expertise and experience to the table. Beyond real estate transactions, Casanova is a seasoned motivational speaker, author, and podcast host. His book, “Real Estate: Play the Game Like the Winners,” reflects his commitment to sharing insights and strategies for success in the ever-evolving world of real estate. Join him on his journey as he continues to make waves in the world of real estate and beyond.

More to explore

One Response

  1. My mother would like to become a real estate agent, and that is why she has decided to start looking for a program where she can enroll. Well, thank you for sharing here that a real estate broker will help the buyer determine the various price ranges. It’s also a good thing that you clarified here as well the importance of obtaining a four year degree course when getting a broker’s license.

Comments are closed.