A real estate broker, realtor or real estate agent is someone who acts as a representative of buyers or sellers of commercial real estate. An agent may work on their own, but most often an agent works under a registered agent to represent clients. This is where they receive all commission fees for their services. They are not allowed to act in the interest of the buyer or seller directly, but must rely on the information they are given by the client. The agents have a fiduciary responsibility and are legally obligated to act in the best interests of their clients.
To become a realtor or broker associate, one must obtain a broker’s license. In most states an associate’s license is sufficient in order to work in the field as a real estate broker. Broker associates also have to undergo an extensive training program in order to meet the state licensing standards. Broker associates can also take continuing education courses, as required by their state licensing board.
The majority of real estate brokers work on their own. Some also work as part of a team with other real estate professionals. Most agents have a specific area of expertise, such as marketing or real estate law. While there are no formal licensing standards, most agents carry at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field. As is the case in many fields, experience proves highly beneficial. Those who wish to be licensed real estate brokers need to work under experienced brokers who have a combined experience of more than a few years.
Many agents work as independent contractors. These individuals receive a percentage of the commission that is earned by their team. When working as an independent contractor, the agent needs to understand how much work needs to be done and complete it all within the time frame specified by their client. In some cases, they may be requested to perform additional work for specific clients. Some real estate brokers who are self-employed work as employees of companies that provide general contracting services.
A major advantage of being an independent contractor is the ability to work as much or as little as needed. For example, if a buyer wants assistance with selling their home but does not have the funds to do so, they may want to work with one of the many independent contractors available. In this manner, they would pay the real estate broker’s a percentage of the listing fee in exchange for the right to market the property to buyers on their behalf. The same scenario could be applied to sellers who are unable to sell their home themselves. They can contact a seller with whom they are affiliated with to obtain a percentage of the listing fee in exchange for advertising their listing.
In summary, the vast majority of real estate brokers are paid on a contingency basis. This means they receive a percentage of the money earned on each sale. They are also paid by the percentage of sales completed, which is typically two to three percent. The majority of states require that agents obtain a state real estate broker license in order to legally practice in that state.