I rarely introduce myself as a real estate broker. I usually say I am a real estate agent or a Realtor®. Most people do not know what a real estate broker is or does but they do understand what a real estate agent does.
Being a broker means that I have a brokers license which in Minnesota requires that I first have a real estate license for a few years and that I get additional training and pass a test. My license is also more expensive and costs more to renew.
Real estate agents need to work under a broker if they want to sell real estate. We say that a real estate licensee’s license is held by a broker. If the broker loses his or her license then the real estate agent is unlicensed until they find another broker.
There are real estate companies that just have a broker and no agents.
A license is not required to buy or sell real estate for yourself. A license is required to represent another for a fee when they are buying or selling real estate.
Some brokers sell real estate and others have are more like managers. Associate brokers have a brokers license but are not “The Broker”. Each real estate company must have one broker of record who is responsible for all of the transactions of his or her licensees.
In some of the bigger companies, there is one broker of record and each office has a manager who often has a broker license. The manager supervises the agents and checks the paperwork. In some offices, it is an unlicensed administrative person who checks all of the paperwork.
Even though real estate agents are independent contractors brokers are required to provide supervision which is really more like oversite because real estate agents are independent contractors, not employees. Every home buyer or seller who is being represented by a real estate agent is doing so through a broker.
When there is a problem with an agent some brokers are reluctant to confront the agent because it is the agents who bring in the money. The more agents a company has the more real estate they sell and the more money they make.
Some real estate companies are run owned by huge corporations. They spend a lot of time recruiting and training agents and giving them fancy offices so that the agent will work under their brand.
Being a broker and having my own company is a good job especially for those who do not mind paying for their own health insurance and never getting a paid vacation. There are a lot of risks involved but it is mostly worth it. I have some control over my hours and a lot of control over who I work with.