Whether you’re looking to purchase a new home or to sell your current one, the first step is typically to contact a real estate agent. It sounds easy enough until you start to notice the various, sometimes fancy titles that some agents have. Dual agent? Broker? Transaction coordinator?
What are all the different types of real estate agents?
To help you navigate these sometimes complicated and confusing terms, we’ve compiled a list of real estate agent titles to help you find a professional best-suited to your needs.
Types of Real Estate Agents
When you’re buying or selling property, you’re most likely going to work with an agent, also referred to as a real estate associate broker or simply a salesperson.
Real Estate Agent
In general, real estate agents monitor the market and look for housing trends in areas such as pricing, inventory, location and more. They can tell you about available houses that you can afford as well as take you on tours of prospective homes.
This type of real estate agent helps people that are looking to purchase a house with all aspects of the buying process from the home search to the closing. He or she can help you find the right property, deal with the mounds of paperwork, negotiate the offer and also recommend reliable home-related professionals, such as home inspectors, movers and more.
If you’re selling your home, this agent, also sometimes called the listing agent, works with you step-by-step, from home marketing to closing, as you prepare to sell your home. Additionally, they list your home on the multiple listing service. If you’re buying a house, you deal primarily with the seller’s agent rather than with the seller directly.
This type of real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. If a potential buyer doesn’t have a buying agent working with them, they can contact a seller’s real estate agent and tell him or her to submit an offer on their behalf.
The transaction coordinator or transaction agent helps the real estate agent or broker in processing administrative items for a real estate transaction. He or she manages deadlines, gathers the necessary paperwork, opens an escrow account and makes sure disclosures are properly signed and filled out. He or she simply maintains the transaction between the buyer and the seller and doesn’t represent either party.
Other Real Estate Titles
People often use the term realtor and real estate agent interchangeably, but there’s a difference between the two. As mentioned before, a real estate agent is someone who has obtained a real estate license and can help you buy or sell a house. A realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and adheres to the standards and code of ethics of the association. They can either be agents or brokers.
Real Estate Broker
A real estate broker is one step above a real estate agent. He or she has taken real estate education beyond the agent level and passed a broker’s license exam, meeting state requirements to own or manage a real estate company. They can either work alone, unlike a real estate agent, or hire agents to work for them. Some brokers also provide services for buyers and sellers. All agents hired to help buy or sell properties report to a broker.
The broker also handles earnest money deposits – money that the buyer puts down to buy a home and is delivered when the sales contract or purchase agreement is signed, and bears responsibility for the actions of real estate agents under his or her supervision. If you have any issues that can’t be resolved directly with the agent, the next step to take would be talk with the broker.
Real Estate Associate Broker
The associate broker is a real estate agent who has taken additional education classes and earned a broker’s license. He or she could work independently, but they choose to work for a broker or join a larger real estate network.
Did you know about these types of real estate agents? Let us know in the comments.