Whether you are looking to buy or sell a home, or you are considering a career in real estate, you are not alone if you find yourself wondering what the difference is between a real estate salesperson and a real estate broker. While these two terms are often used interchangeably by people outside of the industry, and there are similarities between the two, a salesperson and a broker serve different roles within the industry.
Though real estate agents and brokers are both specialists trained to help clients buy, sell, or rent a property, brokers typically serve in more senior positions and are required to have additional experience and training. To help you better understand the inner workings of the real estate world, here is a quick overview of the similarities and differences between a real estate agent and a broker.
What is a Real Estate Salesperson?
A real estate salesperson is an individual who is responsible for connecting buyers and sellers in order to help people buy or sell housing or other forms of real estate. They can represent either the buyer, the seller, or both, but their key function is to help facilitate real estate transactions, and they are paid a commission for their work. Real estate salespeople must complete certain licensing requirements and pass a real estate exam in their state before they are allowed to represent clients. Once they pass their exam, a real estate salesperson works under a brokerage, as they cannot work independently.
What Are The Requirements to Become a Real Estate Salesperson?
As previously mentioned, a real estate salesperson must become licensed before they are allowed to work with clients. However, the exact licensing requirements to become a real estate agent can vary wildly from one state to the next. For instance, while Virginia requires real estate salespeople to take 60 hours of pre-licensing coursework, California requires 135 hours of coursework before an aspiring real estate salesperson can take their written exam. While the requirements to become a real estate salesperson can vary greatly from one jurisdiction to the next, one must generally meet the following requirements in order to be a practicing real estate agent.
A real estate agent must:
• Be a legal U.S. resident.
• Be at least 18 years old (19 in some jurisdictions)
• Complete their states required pre-licensing coursework
• Pass a state real estate licensing exam
• Complete a background check
• Be sponsored by, and work under, a licensed real estate broker
What Does a Real Estate Salesperson Do?
Once a real estate salesperson has passed their licensing exams and has been hired by a brokerage, they can start representing clients. The primary function of a real estate salesperson is to facilitate the sale of real estate and real property. They are responsible for carrying offers and counteroffers between parties during a sale, and they are also responsible for negotiating with the other party’s agent on behalf of their client to get them a fair deal. Once an agreement for a sale has been reached, a real estate salesperson will guide their clients through the process of finalizing the sale by helping them to fill out paperwork and navigate the closing of the sale.
What is a Buyer’s Agent?
An agent who represents a buyer is referred to as a buyer’s agent. In addition to the duties mentioned above, a buyer’s agent helps prospective homebuyers create a wishlist of what they want in a property. They will then research properties in their client’s desired price point and compile a list of potential properties to show them. Once a buyer finds a property that they are interested in, their agent submits an offer on their behalf and will negotiate a deal both parties agree upon. When the sale is being finalized, a buyer’s agent is there to help guide them through the final requirements of the sale and to help arrange appraisals and inspections.
What is a Listing Agent?
Alternatively, an agent who represents a seller is known as a listing agent. These agents will work with someone interested in selling a property to help them set a listing price, suggest updates that will increase the property’s value, and help stage the property to get it ready to show to potential buyers. A listing agent will then market the property via their Multiple Listing Service (MLS) as well as through other local channels, and they will schedule and arrange open houses and private showings of the property. The listing agent will then bring offers to the property owner, negotiate the final sale price on their behalf, and help them prepare, submit, and file documents related to the sale.
How Does a Broker Differ From a Real Estate Salesperson?
So how exactly does a broker differ from a real estate salesperson? The main difference between a salesperson and a broker is that a broker has additional training and experience and the broker may work independently where a salesperson must work under a broker. Before someone can become a real estate broker, they usually must have a few years of experience. They then complete additional training courses and pass a separate broker licensing exam.
While real estate brokers can do a lot of the same things that salespeople can, brokers do not have to work under another broker. Brokers are responsible for managing the brokerage, supervising and training the licensees under them, and developing and negotiating contracts. In addition to earning commission on any sales they complete, real estate brokers also get a share of commissions earned by the real estate agents who work under them.
Thus, while real estate salespeople and brokers serve similar functions, a broker has more training and experience, and they have the ability to work in a supervisory capacity.
If you are considering starting a career in real estate, feel free to contact us to learn more about the process of becoming a real estate agent, the differences between a salesperson and a broker, and how you will know if a career in real estate is right for you!
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