Real estate agents and real estate brokers are both there to help you in the purchase of your home. Some states require a few more certifications for an agent to become a broker. An agent needs to have a real estate certification for at least two years and then pass a difficult exam to become a broker. In a lot of places, the two terms are used interchangeably, though. Let’s go through some of the other differences and key functions of both roles.
Functions of a Real Estate Broker
A broker is licensed to perform all the functions of an agent, including negotiating and signing transactions on behalf of their client. Brokers have a higher level of expertise, having put in more hours in terms of course work and exams. They can supervise the work of agents and assist where needed.
If you are in the market to buy a house, you are more likely to be working with an agent. Agents spend more time in the field working with clients. Brokers spend more time at the office with their supervisory duties, overseeing day-to-day business and individual agents, stepping in where necessary.
There may be a hierarchy of brokers at a large firm, for example:
- Principal Broker
- Managing Broker
- Broker Associate
What is a Real Estate Brokerage?
A firm where a broker, agents, and assistants work is called a real estate brokerage. As with any other firm, one supervisory broker is the lead, and all associate brokers and agents report to him.
Depending on the size of the firm, there may be several brokers supervising their particular team and reporting to the main boss. If it’s a small firm, the supervisory broker may also take on clients themselves, while also supervising a small team.
What are the Various Types of Real Estate Agents?
Based on the various roles they take on and the functions they perform for their company, real estate agents can be divided into several types, each specializing in their own niche field:
- Listing agents represent the sellers.
- Buying agents represent the buyers.
- Dual agents represent both the seller and buyer.
- Transaction agents oversee the paperwork, timelines, negotiation, etc., but they don’t advise either party. They are required if dual agency is not legal.
Functions of a Real Estate Agent
When representing the buyers, real estate agents are involved in every step of the process, from the initial search to the day that the final transaction is signed and the deed handed over. Professional and dedicated agents may be bringing more to the table, but these are the basic functions most agents will be performing:
Help Determine Your Budget
A good agent knows the ins and outs of the pre-approval and loan process. They will also help you identify the best lenders and help you set your final budget.
Give You the Best Option
Maybe you have young kids and want to be close to a good school and parks or maybe you need a short commute to work. You might want to be in a relatively secluded spot, far from traffic and noise. Your agent can help you shortlist places based on your needs, specifications, and budget.
Submit Offers and Negotiate
Once you decide on a place that is to your liking, your agent can help you set the offer price and terms. They can submit the offer to the seller on your behalf and even negotiate. A good negotiator will get you a lower price with better terms.
Be Your Reference
A professional agent will also be a source of great references and recommendations for home inspectors, real estate attorneys, and more. Their years working as agents help them form a great network, which can help you get good deals.
File Final Paperwork
Buying a house is not an easy process. There is a lot of paperwork involved to ensure both parties are protected. Most people don’t understand a lot of the legal terms, which is why an agent is essential. Your agent will handle everything from the drafting of the contract to submitting it to the other party for approval, going over the final draft again, and any other paperwork required during the escrow period.
Help with Inspections, Repairs, & Closing
Your agent will be with you every step of the way as your house is inspected and any necessary repairs are made. The agent will make sure the inspectors and repair persons not only provide you a timeline for when everything will be done but that they also stick to the timeline and budget.
The agent will be at the actual closing and handing over of the property from one party to the other to make sure the transition is smooth and problem-free.
Real Estate Help
Essentially, real estate agents and real estate brokers are very similar. Though the two terms are often used interchangeably, real estate brokers have to pass a test and receive more training. Regardless of who you choose to work with, real estate professionals like brokers and agents can help make the home buying and selling process much easier.