A real estate broker is a party who acts as an
intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate and attempts to
find sellers who wish to sell and buyers who wish to buy.
In the US, real estate brokers and their salespersons (commonly called
"real estate agents") assist sellers in marketing their property and
selling it for the highest possible price under the best terms.
When acting as a Buyer's agent with a signed agreement (or, in many cases,
verbal agreement), they assist buyers by helping them purchase property for the
lowest possible price under the best terms. Without a signed agreement, brokers
may assist buyers in the acquisition of property but still represent the seller
and the seller's interests.
Buying a home that is farther away from Marin County may have a lower mortgage
payment, but you'd be surprised at how much more you'll spend by driving to work.
Try comparing a house in-town to a less expensive house out-of-town & see the
actual cost of commuting for yourself.
The difference between salespersons and brokers
In the past, when brokers (and their agents) only represented sellers,
the term ‘’real estate salesperson’’ may have been more appropriate
than it is today, given the different ways that brokers and their
agents can help a buyer through the process rather than simply “sell’’
him or her a property. Legally however, the term 'salesperson' is
still used in many states to describe a real estate agent.
Real estate education: In order to become licensed, most states
require that an applicant take a minimum number of classes before
taking the state licensing exam. Such education is often provided by
real estate brokerages as a means to finding new agents.
Today in many states, the real estate agent (acting as an agent of the
broker with whom he/she is employed) is required to disclose to
prospective buyers and sellers who represents whom. See below for a
broker/agent’s relationship to sellers and their relationship to
While some people may refer to any licensed real estate agent as a
real estate broker, a licensed real estate agent is a professional who
has obtained either a real estate salesperson's license or a real
estate broker's license.
In the United States, there are commonly two levels of real estate
professionals licensed by the individual states, but not by the
Real estate salesperson: When a person first becomes licensed to
become a real estate agent, he/she obtains a real estate salesperson's
license from the state in which he/she will practice. To obtain a real
estate license, the candidate must take specific coursework (of
between 40 and 90 hours) and then pass a state exam on real estate law
and practice. In order to work, salespersons must then be associated
with (and act under the authority of) a real estate broker.
Many states also have reciprocal agreements with other states,
allowing a licensed individual from a qualified state to take the
second state's exam without completing the course requirements, or, in
some cases, take only a state law exam.
Real estate broker: After gaining some years of experience in real
estate sales, a salesperson may decide to become licensed as a real
estate broker. Commonly more course work and a broker's state exam on
real estate law must be passed. Upon obtaining a broker's license, a
real estate agent may continue to work for another broker in a similar
capacity as before (often referred to as a broker associate or
associate broker) or take charge of his/her own brokerage and hire
other salespersons (or broker) licensees. Becoming a branch office
manager may or may not require a broker's license. Some states such as
New York allow licensed attorneys to become real estate brokers
without taking any exam. In states, such as Colorado, there are no
"salespeople", as all licensees are Brokers.
A REALTOR, pronounced “Real-tor” (rē΄əl tōr), is a real estate
salesperson or broker who is a member of the National Association of
Realtors (NAR). All Realtors are brokers/salespersons, but not all
brokers/salespersons are Realtors.