Whether seeking a new career path or considering purchasing a home, you have likely come across the terms ‘real estate agent’ or ‘real estate broker’ and been confused regarding the difference. While these two individuals handle similar tasks, they are in different positions requiring slightly different steps. Learn everything you need to know about the difference between these positions. 

What is a Real Estate Agent?

For those unfamiliar with the term, a real estate agent is a person, sometimes called a realtor, who represents the buyer or seller in a real estate transaction as a middleman. They are licensed professionals in the real estate world, which allows them to conduct these transactions. Two types of real estate agents are involved: listing or buying agents. The former represents the seller, and the latter represents the buyer. 

The Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent

While the steps to becoming a real estate agent can vary from state to state, becoming a part time real estate agent in California requires the following: 

  1. Complete 135 hours of pre-licensing education
    1. These 135 hours must include three college-level courses, including:
      1. Real Estate Principles
      2. Real Estate Practices
      3. One of the following courses:
        1. Real Estate Appraisal
        2. Real Estate Economics
        3. Real Estate Finance
        4. Property Management
        5. Real Estate Office Administration
        6. Legal Aspects of Real Estate
        7. Business Law
        8. General Accounting
        9. Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
        10. Escrows
        11. Computer Applications in Real Estate
  2. Pass the final exams for all courses
  3. Pass the California agent licensing exam
  4. Pick a sponsoring real estate broker
  5. Complete your entire real estate application

What is a Real Estate Broker? 

A real estate broker is essentially a real estate agent with a wider breadth of knowledge and a more specialized real estate license. Real estate brokers typically own or manage a brokerage employing several agents. Generally, at the level of a broker, they do not manage individual transactions; rather, they oversee the transactions agents take care of. 

The Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Broker

To become a real estate broker, you must have an active agent’s license. In addition to this, the following eight courses must be completed (if they were not completed during your real estate agent license coursework):

  1. Legal Aspects of Real Estate
  2. Real Estate Finance
  3. Real Estate Appraisal
  4. Real Estate Economics or Accounting
  5. Three more courses from the above list

Become an agent or broker today

Real estate agents and real estate brokers handle similar tasks, with brokers being able to take on more complex assignments while also managing real estate agents underneath them. Most people in the home buying or selling process will end up working with a real estate agent, but it is helpful to know the differences between the two outlined above in case you need to work with one over the other. 

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