A real estate broker, realtor or brokerage company is someone who represents buyers or sellers of commercial real estate or residential real estate. An individual broker can work alone, but most typically an agent works under a licensed broker in order to legitimately represent clients. Brokers consult with buyers and sellers to determine whether a specific transaction is a good fit for both parties. They negotiate the deal, help arrange financing and handle all the paperwork involved in the closing of the sale.
In most states, a broker must be registered with the secretary of state and be registered on its premises. A complete listing of all registered brokers can be located on the secretary of state’s website. There are several professional organizations that assist those looking to purchase or sell real property. These organizations provide information to buyers and sellers as to which professional organizations across the United States specialize in the type of real property, they are looking to purchase or sell.
In some states, real estate agents are required to be fingerprinted and obtain a copy of the fingerprint. This copy is sent to the office of the attorney general. The attorney general keeps the fingerprint record on file and uses it to perform background checks on prospective buyers and sellers. Most states do not require fingerprinting or criminal background checks, however some states do not require fingerprinting and criminal record searches either.
In most states, before a real estate broker can take an examination to become a real estate broker there is a written exam. At the conclusion of the written exam, if the candidate passes the exam he/she must complete either a certificate program or continuing education classes in order to keep his/her license active. There are no special licensing requirements for internet or online brokers, nor are there any continuing education courses required to maintain a broker’s license in most states. It is not mandatory for most states to have a minimum amount of training experience in real estate to sit for the exam. The only requirement is that the person must pass the written exam.
In some states a brokerage is defined as having an agreement between the broker and a seller to carry out certain transactions. A brokerage license in these states is separate from the license to sell or buy real property. Once a brokerage license has been issued, it remains inactive until it is renewed. Realtors may reapply after having their licenses expire for a period of time to get their broker’s license back after it has been revoked. When a brokerage license expires, the broker is removed from the practice and the business is closed down.
Many states allow real estate agents to work directly with sellers, providing direct sales support. In these states an independent licensed real estate agent may serve as a salesperson for a seller who has licensed salespeople under the same business name. In this state, if a broker fails to renew his license within the prescribed time period, then he must provide proof that he has attended continuing education courses as ordered by the state.
In many states a broker must sign an additional seller listing agreement. This agreement spells out the responsibilities of both brokers and holds the seller responsible if the buyer decides not to purchase the home. For example, if the buyer does not close on time, then the listing agreement requires the seller to provide the broker with all of the appropriate funds needed to close on time. If the broker fails to get the money from the seller within a reasonable period of time then the listing agreement requires the seller to repay to the broker the full amount of the commission to continue to be a licensed broker.
It is also important for realtors to understand the difference between a realtor and a real estate broker. A realtor is typically a salesperson hired by realtors to assist them in selling homes. On the other hand, a broker is an individual who works independently. Brokers help sellers locate suitable buyers, negotiate the contract, and close the sale.