The Difference Between a Real Estate Broker vs. Agent

Posted by Darren Daltorio | Posted on 07/07/2018
  •  Uncategorized
  • If you are trying to buy or sell commercial or residential real estate in the Los Angeles area, there is a pretty good chance that you have talked to or worked with a real estate agent or broker. Similar to the relationship between a dentist and an orthodontist or a medical doctor and a surgeon, there are some important differences to consider, based on your specific situation or needs.

    At the office of Michael Millea, we want you to have a complete understanding of what you’re looking for in a real estate partner before you make a decision. Below, we’ve outlined the differences between real estate brokers and agents in an easy-to-read chart:

    Real Estate Agent Real Estate Broker
    Overall Job Responsibilities

    Real estate agents help people buy, sell, or rent property. Agents talk with clients to find out what kind of property they want, what they are willing to sell or pay, and any specific amenities they are looking for. They study property listings, interview prospective clients, accompany clients to property sites, discuss conditions of sale, and draw up real estate contracts. They work to find properties that suit their client’s needs. By law, only a real estate broker can facilitate a real estate transaction between a buyer and a seller; therefore, all real estate agents must have a sponsoring or supervising broker in order to work as a real estate agent.

    Real estate brokers can perform all of the duties of the real estate agent, PLUS, they oversee all licensed real estate agents at the firm and ensure that agents are operating in compliance with state and national real estate law. Brokers review all real estate contracts and resolve transaction disputes with other brokerages  They hire & train new agents, and manage any administrative staff.


    Real estate agents are trained in marketing all types of property – commercial and residential. They understand the legal ins and outs of buying and selling as well as contracts.

    Brokers typically have more experience which can come in handy if you’re trying to navigate a more complex transaction, like buying probate property or selling investment real estate in South Bay. Real estate brokers are also typically very knowledgeable about real estate law.


    Gets paid on a commission that is a percent of the property sold.

    Earnings can fluctuate from month to month, depending on the volume and types of transactions completed.

    Earns about $30,000 a year, according to a National Association of Realtors® survey.

    Gets paid on commission—taking a cut of the commissions of the sales agents they supervise, when not directly involved in the sale.

    Earns on average $102,200 a year, according to a National Association of Realtors® survey.


    Real estate agents are required to take real estate classes and pass the state real estate licensing exam.

    A Los Angeles real estate broker must spend one to three years working as a real estate sales agent before they can apply for licensure. It may take additional weeks or months to complete the required training course and pass the broker licensing examination.

    Business Ownership

    Must work in a licensed firm under a sponsoring broker.

    Can own real estate firms and hire/manage agents in that firm.

    Day-to-Day Job Responsibilities
    • Represents sellers & buyers
    • Markets homes for sale
    • Negotiates pricing
    • Manages transactions
    • Shows homes
    • Prospects seller & buyer leads
    • Conducts open houses
    • Works assigned office hours for walk-ins
    • Rents residential & commercial units
    • Recruits new agents
    • Trains agents
    • Resolves conflicts
    • Reviews contracts
    • Establishes escrow accounts
    • Markets the brokerage
    • Manages properties
    • Distributes leads to agents
    • Manages compliance
    • Manages brokerage office & staff
    • Serves as representative for government and professional associations
    • Manages relationships with vendors
    • Keeps records

    Contact Your Local Real Estate Experts Today!

    With more than 20 years of combined real estate and legal experience in Southern California, Mike Millea is the go-to professional for real estate brokers in Los Angeles, including Torrance and the South Bay. Combining his law degree and experience with his real estate passion, he has special expertise in probate, wills, trusts and conservatorship real estate deals. If you have any questions about our expertise, contact us today at (310) 939-9356.

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