My Partner and I Want to Hire an Agent to Help Us Purchase a Home. What is the Difference Between an Agent and a Broker?
The term ‘real estate agent’ is generally used interchangeably between both types of agents, but there is a difference. Following is a general definition and duties of an agent and a broker.
A real estate agent is a person that has passed both state and national exams to become licensed by the state where they will be working. The requirements vary, depending on state laws, but general qualifications include minimum age and education and/or experience and real estate pre-license or college courses. Once licensed, an agent must work under a real estate broker and cannot be paid directly for his or her services.
The general duties of a real estate agent that represents buyers include interviewing clients to determine the type of property they are looking for, preparing documents related to the purchase, presenting purchase offers to sellers, and acting as an intermediary in negotiations between the buyer and the seller. The agent also coordinates with lenders, home inspectors, escrow companies and others to ensure that the conditions of purchase agreements are met before the closing date, coordinates the actual closing, and oversees signing of documents.
Real Estate Broker
A real estate broker is required to have more education and/or experience than a real estate agent in most states. For example, to apply for a broker license in Montana, the person must have two years experience as licensed real estate salesperson. In California, a person must have a four-year degree and eight real estate courses at the college level. Two years experience as a licensed real estate salesperson may be substituted for the four-year college degree.
Broker’s are authorized to work independently, own real estate businesses, and to employ real estate agents. If the broker hires real estate agents, he or she is required to oversee all aspects of selling and buying real estate by those agents to ensure proper representation of clients within the confines of the law.
What is a Buyer’s Agent?
When you hire a real estate agent or broker to assist you in finding and purchasing real estate, he or she will be your buyer agent. Your legal relationship in most states will be with the broker that the agent works under. Some states allow an agent to act for a buyer, rather than the broker, so that the business can take advantage of working for both buyers and sellers without creating a conflict of interest.
Along with the real estate agent general duties described above, your buyer’s agent has the duty to act in your best interests and do everything possible to gain an advantage for you. For example, he or she must assist you in paying the least amount of money possible for a home you would like to purchase. He must disclose any facts that he has about the value of the real estate and any knowledge about the seller, such as his or her motivation to sell, that may have an effect on negotiations.
How To Find a Qualified LGBT Real Estate Agent
Although you may find a gay real estate agent by looking in your local yellow pages, there is no guarantee that he or she is a good agent. The best way to find a reputable LGBT real estate agent is to conduct a free search at GayRealEstate.com. The professionals listed are all highly qualified in their particular areas of expertise and have been interviewed to ensure that their approach to working with the LGBT community meets our standards.