All states require licensing before a real estate agent can become a broker. Depending upon the state, real estate agents must have one to three years of experience before they can apply for a broker's license. Real estate brokers can deal in a number of different types of property, including commercial, industrial and agricultural property and residential buildings and land, and can hire real estate agents to help them with their workload.
Real estate brokers list properties on behalf of sellers. This process involves searching for recent properties sold in a local market, to determine a fair listing price for a property. Brokers will then list the residence on the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, so buyers can find the property. Listing involves posting the details of the home and the price, providing contact information and showing pictures of the residence. While real estate agents have access to the MLS to search for properties, they cannot list on the MLS without the help of a broker.
Licensed real estate brokers can act as an intermediary between buyers and sellers of a property for a fee, or they can act as a representative of the buyer or the seller. These professionals will ensure that both sides receive a fair price when an agreement is reached on a property sale. Brokers may mediate contractual disputes between the seller and potential buyer, such as who will pay for repairs or closing costs.
Brokers can start their own real estate business and hire agents to help them sell or find buyers for listed property. While real estate brokers can show off a property on behalf of a buyer, or help a seller locate a property, and then keep the full commission, they usually delegate this responsibility to real estate agents. This way, they can manage a larger volume of home sales. Real estate brokers usually handle the administrative work of the business, such as scheduling meetings between agents, buyers and sellers; handling inquiries about a property; and performing title searches.
Once an agent working for a broker sells a property or locates a buyer, the broker will usually write up and review the contract of sale to make sure the sale complies with all federal and state regulations. He may also attend the final closing to oversee the transfer of the property. After completion of a sale, the broker will collect the home sale commission and pay out monies owed in commissions to the agents representing the buyer and the seller.