June 13, 2024
Real Estate Agent vs. Real Estate Broker What’s the Difference? VanEd

The Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and Broker

Understanding the Roles and Responsibilities

When it comes to the world of real estate, two key players are often mentioned – real estate agents and brokers. While they may seem similar, there are distinct differences between these two professionals that are important to understand. In this article, we will explore the roles and responsibilities of both a real estate agent and a broker, shedding light on their unique contributions to the industry.

Real Estate Agents

A real estate agent is an individual who has completed the necessary education and licensing requirements to represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. They are often referred to as sales agents and work under the supervision of a licensed broker. Real estate agents are typically the first point of contact for clients looking to buy or sell a property. They assist with property showings, negotiations, and the overall transaction process.

Real Estate Brokers

Real estate brokers, on the other hand, have taken their real estate career a step further by obtaining a broker license. This additional qualification allows them to work independently and oversee real estate transactions. Brokers can hire and supervise agents, and they take on more responsibilities such as managing escrow accounts, handling legal documents, and ensuring compliance with real estate laws and regulations.

Education and Licensing Requirements

In terms of education and licensing, there is a difference between real estate agents and brokers. To become a licensed real estate agent, individuals must complete a certain number of pre-licensing hours and pass a state licensing exam. The requirements vary from state to state. On the other hand, becoming a real estate broker requires additional education and experience as most states require agents to have a certain number of years of active practice before they can apply for a broker license.

Income and Compensation

Real estate agents and brokers earn income through commissions on the transactions they facilitate. However, there is a difference in how they are compensated. Agents typically work on a commission split with their broker, meaning they share a percentage of the commission earned from a sale. In contrast, brokers often keep a larger percentage of the commission and may also charge additional fees for their services.

Scope of Work

Real estate agents primarily focus on assisting clients with buying and selling properties. They help clients find suitable properties, negotiate offers, and guide them through the closing process. On the other hand, brokers have a broader scope of work. They may engage in property management, real estate development, and commercial leasing in addition to facilitating transactions.

Professional Growth and Advancement

While real estate agents provide valuable services to clients, many aspire to become brokers to gain more independence and take on additional responsibilities. Becoming a broker opens up opportunities for professional growth and advancement in the real estate industry. It allows individuals to build their own brokerage firms, mentor new agents, and potentially earn higher income.


In summary, both real estate agents and brokers play vital roles in the real estate industry. Agents are licensed professionals who assist clients with buying and selling properties, while brokers have additional qualifications that allow them to oversee transactions and operate independently. Understanding the differences between these two professionals is essential for anyone looking to navigate the world of real estate successfully.