Real estate professionals go by several titles, which sometimes get used interchangeably and may be confusing to some people. There are, however, key differences to what those titles mean. While real estate agents and brokers have similar functions, their scope of responsibilities has subtle distinctions. Both require licenses before working, but one is more limited than the other. Here’s a guide to clear up the confusion.

How Real Estate Agent & Broker Differ

Since real estate is a highly regulated industry, professionals have to earn their licenses according to state laws and requirements. A real estate agent has to take a minimum number of classes and pass a licensure exam to become one. But, to be called a real estate broker, an agent needs to undergo further, in-depth education, which includes coursework on ethics, contracts, taxes, and insurance among others. They have to be familiar with real estate law and its application on property management, investments, construction, and brokerage firms. Before taking the broker’s exam, a licensed agent has to have at least three years of related experience in real estate.

What to Look for in a Real Estate Professional

real estateIt’s not uncommon to find real estate agents working under a broker, although some may be independent contractors as well. If you’re in the market to purchase or sell a property, you’re more likely to work with an agent than with a broker; the latter only steps in when there are issues with the transaction since they’re more adept with real estate laws.

Principal and managing brokers supervise the agents, but they also handle affiliate brokers that work with a brokerage firm. Whether you choose an agent or broker to assist with your transaction, always ask how long they’ve been working in real estate. Don’t hesitate to ask for references; if you’ll be working with someone new to the profession, meet with their broker or supervisor to gauge their capacity in representing you. Keep in mind that if you choose to hire a broker instead of an agent, you are likely to get a higher level of service. However, broker fees tend to be higher as well.


When you’re on the lookout to buy property or sell a house, rely on a seasoned real estate agent or broker from Extreme Realty. Based in the Bronx, NY, their team of real estate professionals has been providing first-rate services to clients throughout the city’s five boroughs, including Westchester County. Call (718) 600-8890 to schedule a consultation or visit the website for real estate listings.