What is a Real Estate Broker & More Importantly - Why Do You NEED One?

So, what is a real estate broker? Do you need one? If you are buying or selling a home, there is a lot to gain from the experience and expertise of a real estate broker. Many real estate firms have a broker in-house that works in conjunction with the agents and rest of the team to meet the diverse needs of their clients. Is there a difference between a broker and a real estate agent? Here is what you should know:


Real estate agents typically become brokers by taking courses at a recognized institution and with a passing grade on the state broker’s licensure exam. Topics covered vary from legal issues to investments, and property management to ethics and insurance.


Generally speaking, as laws vary from state to state, a real estate agent becomes a licensed broker once they have three years of experience as a licensed agent and pass the broker’s examination.

Three Types

Essentially, there are three types of real estate brokers:

  • A Principal/designated broker typically reviews all contracts and legal documents to ensure compliance with the law.
  • The Managing broker manages day-to-day operation and oversight of the office, sometimes, hiring and training agents and support staff.
  • An Associate broker is licensed and typically works under a managing broker.

Skill Sets

So, what does the broker do? Many work in tandem with agents and directly with clients, while others perform tasks behind the scenes. The diverse range of experience, like taxes and insurance or construction and renovation, can come in handy for those working with the firm. Brokers also are trained and educated in real estate law, which may have direct benefits for some clients.

Hiring Brokers

Naturally, all brokers are unique, and some may be more inspired, motivated, and reputable than others. This is where it pays to do your own homework in terms of finding the right real estate broker for your distinct needs. Ask around and find out who others close to you recommend; next, interview them as you would if you were hiring them for a job- which you are!

Some questions to ask include:

  • How long have you been licensed?
  • What is your availability?
  • Have you bought or sold similar properties lately?

Be wary of any prospective brokers that are resistant or vague when you ask these- and other- questions related to their real estate experience. Look for transparency and positive feedback from previous clients when searching for the best team for your real estate needs.

A real estate broker should have their finger on the pulse of the market in your region. Team Hensley offers a wide range of expertise in buying and selling properties in the Midlothian, Virginia, region- including the services of our in-house associate broker. Let our team help you buy or sell a home; call to learn more today.

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