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What’s the Difference Between a Real Estate Broker and a Real Estate Agent?

When buying or selling your house, there are a number of decisions to be made before you sign on the dotted line.

One of those decisions, and arguably the most vital, is whether to use a broker or an agent, or if you should go down the path of a private sale. Opinions vary, but the insight a real estate professional supplies is invaluable. 

But what’s the difference between a real estate broker and an agent?

In short, a broker is an agent who has passed their Broker’s License Exam, which allows them to own a real estate firm and employ fellow agents and brokers.

That doesn’t explain the services they offer though, and if you’re a first-time home buyer or seller, this makes it hard to decide which option is best.

Make your choice easy, below is a summary of the different types of brokers and agents and their responsibilities to clients just like you!


Your Local Real Estate Agents

“You’ve seen their smiling faces on signs across town, passed their branded cars on your drive to work, and they are likely your first point of contact during a sale.”

Real estate agents represent a realty company that provides them with a variety of tools to assist their clients’ needs. Some agents serve a wide variety of home buyers and sellers, while others focus on niche markets with specific needs and requirements.

That in mind, real estate agents and realtors serve one of the following three roles:

  • Listing 
  • Buying
  • Listing and Buying

Agents who specialize in listing focus their energy on helping clients sell their homes or property – they offer advice on staging, highlight cost-effective renovations to increase your list price, and negotiate with buying agents and home buyers to ensure you get top dollar.

An agent niched in buying makes it easier for their clients to buy a house – they provide a curated list of properties that meet your needs, know what to look out for when viewing a home, and have insider knowledge on market trends to help increase the value of your investment.

Those who do both are like a double agent, but instead of spying, they help clients buy and sell their houses – having experience with both selling and buying gives clients an advantage during the negotiation process as counteroffers can be anticipated and handled pro-actively.  

Did you know a Realtor is a broker or agent who has trained to become a designated member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)?

Realtors have access to discounts, educational materials, and other career development tools, which make them better equipped to solve your real estate needs.

Fun Fact: our U.S. neighbors have Transaction Agents who assist clients that are not represented by a buying agent – if the agent of a property being considered chooses to become a transaction agent, they become an impartial intermediary that neither represents the buyer nor the seller.

The Real Estate Broker Nearby

As mentioned, a broker is an agent who completed the Broker’s License Exam, which allows them to own a brokerage firm or manage a realtor company.

Similar to real estate agents, brokers are split into three different types who have their own individual roles and duties:

  • Broker of Record or Designated Real Estate Brokers
  • Managing Brokers
  • Associate Brokers

The Broker of Record is the individual responsible for a brokerage firm and all its employed agents – they are hands-on in all aspects of the business or operate in the background.   

Managing Brokers are hired by the Broker of Record to oversee the firm in their place – Managing Brokers are very active in the day-to-day tailoring agents to clients based on needs, budget, and other individual requirements (buying, selling, country-living, downtown in the city, etc…).

Associate Brokers are a broker who works beneath a Managing Broker or the Broker of Record – Associate Brokers have the skills and licensing to fulfill the same roles as their peers but prefer to work alongside agents and directly with clients.

“Associate Brokers have advanced training when compared to agents, which can give you the upper hand during your home buying or selling experience.”


Don’t Sell Privately, Choose a Brokerage Firm Instead

Now that you know the difference between a real estate broker and an agent, is a private sale still an option?

Ask yourself, are you ready to manage a real estate transaction from start to finish?

Be responsible for EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL?

There are rewards to be had by buying and selling privately, sure, but the ratio of success does not favour most.

Unless you’re a real estate professional, of course.

Focus on preparing for the next chapter of your life. Choose Bickerton Brokers and rest easy knowing your real estate needs are handled by a team of experienced brokers and agents!

Tell us about your dream home, complete the dream home finder and one of our associates will contact you right away.

Discover how much your house is worth, fill out the value calculator and a listing agent will be touch with your evaluation.