Requirements for licensing real estate professionals can vary by state. When it comes to the title of a real estate agent or broker, the difference is normally standard. A real estate broker is required to have a higher level of education in real estate, have more experience and pass a complex exam to earn the broker title.

Real estate agents

An agent is normally the person that you will be in contact with most during a real estate transaction. Agents are required to complete between 40 to 99 hours of class work before a licensing test can be taken. An agent must work for a licensed broker.

Real estate brokers

Brokers may work directly with buyers and sellers or have agents perform the majority of the work.

  • Brokers may be allowed to perform real estate appraisals or market analysis in their state.
  • The broker is the individual that can be liable for issues with real estate transactions.
  • A broker may own a real estate company.
  • Brokers can hire agents to work for them.
  • In many states, a broker can prepare documents for leases and contracts and handle the paperwork required for sellers in for-sale-by-owner transactions.
  • Brokers should have more knowledge of real estate laws and complex factors of mortgage interest rates and types of mortgages.

Many real estate agents will have the educational level of a broker. The agent may not have taken the broker exam. The exam can also present difficulties for many agents in the math portion of the testing, which normally covers compound interest. Some states have an additional category of an associate broker. This individual is more than an agent but not a fully licensed broker.

Looking to buy or sell a home? Find a local realty expert who can help or search our real estate listings.