If you’re looking into real estate you might hear a lot of different terms. What’s the difference between a realtor and a broker? Are listing agents different than buyers’ agents?
If you need clear definitions for these terms you’re in the right place. Whether you’re buying your first house or considering the real estate field, this post will help you out.
Defining 3 Different Titles
A lot of people use ‘real estate agent’ and ‘realtor’ and ‘broker’ interchangeably. However, there are distinctions.
Let’s explain these 3 different titles: real estate agent, realtor, and broker.
1. Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is someone who represents a buyer or seller of real estate. And real estate is land, buildings, and ‘immovable’ property such as crops.
This is the broadest term in our listing. Realtors and brokers are two kinds of real estate agents.
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A realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. In America, this is the largest trade group.
Realtors are licensed with this group and must hold to a code of ethics. They are obligated to look out for a client’s best interests.
Not all real estate agents are realtors, but the majority of them are.
A broker is typically a manager. They’ve completed more education than the average real estate agent.
There’s a licensing exam for a broker to pass. Each state has its own requirements, so the laws may look a little different state to state.
Brokers have taken on more responsibility than agents since they run their own firms.
4 Types of Real Estate Agents
Now that we’ve cleared up those 3 titles, let’s take a look at the 4 most common types of real estate agents:
1. Seller’s Agent (Listing Agent)
A seller’s agent is the agent representing the seller. They’re also called listing agents.
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If you want to sell your house, you go to a seller’s agent. Then the seller’s agent lists your home on the market, which is called a listing. Hence the term ‘listing agent.’
They’re familiar with the real estate market and try to properly price your house. They’ll also be responsible for identifying your house’s selling points.
A seller’s agent can also assist with leasing property.
2. Buyer’s Agent
On the other side, a buyer’s agent is the agent representing the buyer. They help with the process of purchasing real estate.
Buyers’ agents are familiar with local areas, pricing trends, and many properties. They assist a homebuyer by finding a house that’s suitable for their finances and desires.
They negotiate for the best possible price and terms for the house. Afterward, they help the client through the legal process of acquiring the home.
3. Dual Agent
A dual agent does both jobs of a buyer’s agent and seller’s agent. They act on behalf of the buyer and the seller of a home.
Many point out the flaw in this type of real estate agent. The dual agent must act in the best interests of both parties simultaneously.
They have to sell and buy the home at the best price for both clients. Therefore, some argue dual agents always have a conflict of interest.
4. Transaction Coordinator
Transaction coordinators help with the more technical work in real estate transactions. They help with the closing of escrow, filling out paperwork, and keeping deadlines.
Sometimes even agents and brokers hire transaction coordinators.
Distinctions that Matter
Keeping your terms straight will help avoid confusion and give you clarity.
If you’re looking to buy a house, don’t go to a listing agent. If you’re looking for an agent who’s more experienced and educated, look for a broker who’s managing a firm.
Be careful using dual agents. There may be a time and place to use them, but remember they can have conflicts of interest.
Are you thinking about using or becoming a real estate agent?