Heather's a Broker - What does that mean?
On September 14, I announced that I officially have my Real Estate Broker's license, which is a very exciting development at my career, but what does that mean?
First and foremost, I can and absolutely will still be selling houses full time, and no one is losing me as their agent.
So what's the difference between a real estate agent and a broker?
Here is a handy dandy infographic that makes it simple:
Every real estate agent must be under a broker that reviews their contracts and paperwork, and is available for questions, and oversees the whole process to make sure that their agents are in compliance with the law. When things go sideways in a transaction, an agent's first resource is their broker.
A broker has over twice as much formal education as an agent, and has at least 3 years of experience as a real estate agent. In addition, we must pass the broker national and state exams, and we must produce a list of transactions to the Division of Real Estate that proves that we have a sufficient amount of practical experience. Each type of transaction is worth a certain number of points, and the state requires a minimum number of 60 points accumulated within the last 5 years. So you can't simply have your real estate agent license for 3 years and become a broker, you have to prove that you know what you're doing by actually helping clients. They even request a copy of all your contracts for a random sampling of your transactions and go through it with a fine tooth comb.
In a nutshell, having my broker's license makes it possible for me to oversee other agents.
So what does it mean that I have my broker's license? What does this change?
There are lots of options that I'm considering right now, and I'm still deciding what direction to take my career. There are a few options available to me, but no matter what direction I go in I will still be selling homes. Here's a breakdown of the options:
I can stay at my current brokerage, without taking on any additional responsibilities, and just keep selling homes as I have been for the past 6 years. Absolutely nothing would change, and I would be known as an Associate Broker, still operating under my current broker. So essentially I would just be a real estate agent, but I have all of that extra education, and the state has certified that I really know my stuff.
I could potentially run a branch of an existing company (the one I'm currently at, or any other brokerage with an opening), in which case I would be a Branch Broker. I would be over all of the agents at that branch of the brokerage, and I would review their transaction files and be their main resource for questions and problem solving. But since it's a branch, it's still associated with the main company, so they take care of some of the responsibilities of running things.
I could also potentially open my very own brokerage - so starting a brand new company as a Principal Broker. I'd do absolutely everything to run the brokerage, in addition to selling homes. I could choose to just have it be me, or I could recruit other agents to be under me.
I haven't made any decisions yet, and am having some conversations to explore all the options. So for now I am an Associate Broker at Unity Group Real Estate, and have no plans to change that at this moment. My primary focus is still going to be selling homes, so don't hesitate to reach out if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell real estate - it would be my pleasure to be of assistance in any way I can!