A real estate broker works to negotiate and arrange real estate transactions. This licensed individual has daily duties that include writing contracts and overseeing transactions for sales and purchasing activities on homes, land and commercial properties. A broker has attained a higher-level license than a real estate agent and can hire real estate agents to work as a team under their supervision.
In some states, every real estate professional is licensed as a broker, such as in Colorado and New Mexico. However, even if you are licensed as an independent broker, you must attain another higher-level license if you want to hire agents or other brokers to work under you. There can be considerable risk involved if agents are not properly trained and supervised, particularly with regard to fair housing and environmental regulations. Brokers who allow agents to make major mistakes can end up sharing in the penalties, both financial and legal.
Agents often set up their websites. A supervising broker assumes the responsibility of reviewing their agents’ websites periodically to make sure no regulation violations exist.
Real Estate Brokers Working for Sellers
While an agent working on a broker's behalf will often take on the following duties, the broker handles transactions for sellers as well. In some states, all licensed individuals are brokers, though only some are licensed to supervise agents. Some of a broker's duties on behalf of sellers include:
- Listing homes for sale on the local, MLS, Multiple Listing Service
- Sharing the brokerage listings with other MLS broker members to get buyers to the property
- Sharing the listing commission with successful buyer brokers
- Advising the home seller in preparing their home for listing and showings
- Supervising showing, report to sellers results and feedback
- Submitting any offers to the seller for consideration
- Helping the seller negotiate offers to try and execute a purchase contract with a buyer
- Working on the seller's behalf in coordinating the transaction process
- Delivering and explain documents, disclosures and transaction items
- Working with the seller through the closing and their move-out from the home
Working with Buyers
On the other side of the transaction, brokers work with people wanting to buy a property by providing advice and services to help them to find a property that fits their needs and completing the steps of the transaction, such as:
- Helping buyers locate all properties in their desired area in their price range and meeting their criteria
- Coordinating and helping buyers to visit and view properties
- When a decision is made to attempt a purchase, helping the buyer craft their initial offer and purchase agreement
- Working with the buyer on their behalf in negotiations with the seller through their agent/broker
- Once a purchase contract is executed, coordinating the transaction process on the buyer side
- Delivering and explaining documents in the transaction process
- Coordinating inspections, reports and repair negotiations
- Assisting buyers through to closing and taking possession
Brokers and Supervising Agents
When a broker is licensed to have agents working under them, sometimes called a supervising or managing broker, their agents handle most or all of the brokerage transactions. As part of the supervisory responsibilities for agents, the broker:
- Verifies continued licensing of all brokerage agents
- Instructs and trains or provides training resources for agents
- Is responsible for agent behavior, performance, and legal compliance
- Provides some services and marketing resources for agents
- Often maintains a brokerage website for agent marketing
Real estate brokers licensed at the highest state levels set standards of practice in the area and are tasked with maintaining high levels of customer/client service and compliance with all state-based real estate laws.
Considerable risk exists in the operation of a brokerage. To minimize this risk, brokers assume the responsibility of educating and constantly monitoring their agents. Many agents are happy to work in that manner, but ambitious agents may choose to take advantage of the higher-level opportunities that come with working as a real estate broker.