The real estate world can seem confusing at first, particularly when you look at the terminology. You are probably familiar with the fact that if you want to buy or sell a house or a piece of property, you need a real estate professional to guide you and act as an intermediary. The question is, do you need a real estate broker or a real estate agent? Are these two different titles with differing job descriptions, or are they two different names for the same thing? This article will help clear up some of the confusion by focusing on defining the differences between a real estate broker vs agent, who uses their services and how to obtain them, and some important terms you will come across when working with a real estate broker vs agent.

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What Is a Real Estate Broker vs Agent?

The primary difference between a real estate broker vs agent is that real estate brokers are qualified to work on their own and employ other real estate professionals, while a real estate agent is required to work under a real estate broker. Both are licensed to work with clients who wish to buy or sell property.

Becoming licensed as a real estate agent is the first step to work as a real estate professional. It requires taking real estate classes and passing a state licensure exam. To become a real estate broker, professionals must take additional classes and pass a licensure exam specific to brokers.

Who Uses a Real Estate Broker vs Agent?

The goal for both a broker and an agent is to connect those who are interesting in purchasing property with those who are selling. If you are interested in buying or selling property, then you probably need a real estate professional. For sellers, the real estate professional manages marketing the property, scheduling open houses for potential buyers, and negotiates the price. The professional also helps buyers by finding properties that match their criteria, showing them the property directly, negotiating the price, and finding lenders.

Buyers and sellers typically work with real estate agents rather than a broker. Real estate brokers are qualified to work with clients, but in larger businesses with multiple real estate agents they are tasked with managing the real estate agents and hiring new ones, appraising properties, marketing their business, and resolving conflicts. Clients will typically only work with a real estate broker vs agent if the broker is working independently.

How to Find a Real Estate Broker or Agent

It’s easy to find a real estate agent. Just go online or turn on the TV and it won’t be long before you come across an advertisement for a real estate business. You can also drive around any neighborhood and you will probably see “For Sale” signs with the agent’s name, business, and contact information. The question is, how can you find a real estate agent who is right for you?

The first step is to do your research online. Check to make sure that the real estate professional is licensed and has the proper credentials—they may have extra certifications that align with your goals. You should also find out how long they have been working in real estate and if they have won any awards. Essentially, you want to find someone who is active and has a lot of knowledge and experience in the field.

After you have narrowed down your search, you can continue the process in person. See if you can talk to former clients of the real estate agent about their experience and opinions. You can also speak directly with the agent or broker to get a sense of their expertise and customer satisfaction rates.

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6 Terms to Know When Working with a Real Estate Broker or Agent

Once you have selected a real estate agent or broker to work with, it is time to start buying or selling your property. The real estate world has its own jargon, which can get overwhelming for the first time buyer or seller. Below are six important real estate terms to get you started—you should be familiar with these terms when working with your real estate professional.

1. Appraisal

The appraisal is the estimated value of the property the buyer want to purchase. A licensed professional starts the appraisal process once the buyer makes an offer on the property and the seller accepts.

2. Buyer’s Agent vs Listing Agent

There should always be two real estate agents or brokers involved in a transaction. The buyer’s agent represents the buyer, and the listing agent represents the seller. One agent representing both parties is a huge red flag.

3. Contingencies

Contingencies are conditions that the buyer wants to be met before agreeing to close. The number and extent of contingencies largely depend on how in demand is the property—if there is low demand for the property, the buyer can afford to add more contingencies.

4. Closing

Closing is the finalization of the sale. During closing, the buyer signs all necessary documents and pays the closing costs.

5. Inspection

After the buyers make an offer but before closing, they must hire an inspector to inspect the house. The inspector will review every part of the house and make a list of everything that needs repairs. An inspector’s suggested repairs can be included in the contingencies.

6. Listing

A listing is the information on the property for sale. In should include the price and size of the property, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc.

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Summing Up

Now that you know the differences between a real estate broker vs agent, how to find the right one for you, and some key real estate terms, you are fully equipped to get started. What are you waiting for? You now know how to go online and find a real estate professional that can help you meet your goals. If you have experience with buying or selling property, what other important tips would you add?

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