Bakersfield Realtor vs Agent vs Broker: What’s the Difference?

Making a major move can be stressful and complicated, and navigating the world of real estate to buy or sell a home is no exception. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or an experienced property owner, you’ll likely need assistance from a real estate professional.

But to whom should you turn? It’s important to understand the differences among a Bakersfield Realtor®, a real estate agent, and a broker to determine which professional is best suited to help you with your real estate needs.

Forge on for a comprehensive guide to the differences among these three dedicated professionals.

What is a Bakersfield Realtor?

Realtor vs. real estate agent vs. broker: what's the difference?

A Realtor® is a real estate agent who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Members of The National Association of Realtors swear to uphold the code of ethics in real estate and strive to provide their clients with the best service possible. In addition to real estate agents and brokers, property managers and real estate appraisers can also join the NAR.

All members of the NAR pledge to abide by the standards and code of ethics set forth to ensure their clients receive a quality experience. By joining NAR, Realtors stand out from the competition since they have pledged to hold themselves accountable for their professional behavior. Given their higher standards, Realtors are well-equipped to provide their clients with the best possible service.

Realtor Code of Ethics

The Realtor Code of Ethics, adopted by the NAR in 1913, was one of the first codes of ethics for businesses. It regulates the relationship between Realtors, their clients, and the public interest based on the principle of “let the public be served.”

Realtors must follow the Code of Ethics as an integral part of their business practices. A Realtor must conduct themselves as follows:

  • Clients and Customers: They must protect their clients’ interests but treat all parties involved in a transaction fairly.
  • The Public: Realtors must meet professional competency standards and oppose discriminatory housing practices.
  • Other Realtors: Realtors should not make false or reckless statements about their fellow professionals.

A number of common themes are outlined in the Code of Ethics that outline best practices for real estate as a whole. These themes include:

  • Fairness and honesty
  • A high level of competence and integrity
  • Keeping high standards of personal and professional conduct
  • Constant improvement
  • Community support and awareness

Duties and Responsibilities of a Bakersfield Realtor

According to the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors, realtors must adhere to a strict code of conduct when dealing with clients, customers, the public, and other realtors. 

Duties to Clients and Customers

  • Respect the interests of clients and customers.
  • Be honest and accurate in all communications with clients and customers.
  • Cooperate with other Realtors to serve the best interests of the client.
  • Disclose any personal interest in a property.
  • Refrain from recommending services for kickbacks or collecting money under the table.
  • Keep client funds separate from personal funds.
  • Present all documents for the transaction to buyers and sellers in understandable terms.
  • Abide by all applicable laws, regulations, and codes of ethics for real estate professionals.
  • Maintain a high level of professionalism with clients and customers at all times.

Duties to the Public

  • No denying services based on discrimination.
  • Provide clients with competent services only within a Realtor’s professional scope.
  • No false or misleading advertising.
  • Do not break the law.
  • Cooperate with the Realtor board’s investigative proceedings if charged with a violation.

Duties to Realtors

  • No false or misleading statements about other Realtors.
  • Do not solicit clients that have already signed an exclusive listing agreement with another Realtor.
  • Contractual disputes must be mediated or arbitrated by the Realtor Board.

What is a Real Estate Agent?

employ real estate agents, facilitate real estate transactions

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who is responsible for bringing buyers and sellers together in the purchase or sale of a property. They are usually paid a commission – usually a percentage of the property’s sale price. To become a real estate agent, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a legal resident of the U.S.
  • Complete the state pre-licensing class
  • Pass the state real estate license exam
  • Pass a background check
  • Be sponsored by a licensed real estate broker
  • Complete the continuing education classes required to maintain the license.

Responsibilities of a Bakersfield Real Estate Agent

Real estate agents are responsible for organizing and facilitating transactions between buyers, sellers, renters, and owners. They act as intermediaries by carrying offers and counteroffers and by responding to any queries.

Agents also ensure clients are fully aware of the requirements to complete the sale or purchase, such as inspections, moving, and closing dates.

Listing agents help to set listing prices, suggest improvements that will increase the home’s value, and market the home. Buyer’s agents seek out properties that match the buyer’s criteria and price range and help to arrange appraisals and inspections.

Agents also negotiate prices, closing costs, and other fees and help prepare, submit, and file the necessary documents for each transaction.

In some cases, agents can act as “dual agents,” representing both the buyer and the seller in a single transaction. However, this is not recommended due to potential conflicts of interest.

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Real estate agents work on a commission basis, meaning they receive a percentage of the sale price for each property that is sold. The average commission rate is typically somewhere between 5 and 6% of the purchase price, although this is negotiable depending on the situation.

This commission is then split between the listing agent, the buyer’s agent, and their respective broker firms, who pay for insurance and oversee all transactions. For example, if the purchase price of a home is $300,000, and the commission rate is 6%, then a typical split could look like this:

  • Listing agent: 1.5% ($4,500)
  • Buyer’s agent: 1.5% ($4,500)
  • Listing agent’s broker: 1.5% ($4,500)
  • Buyer’s agent’s broker: 1.5% ($4,500)

What is a Real Estate Broker?

real estate business, associate broker

A real estate broker is a licensed real estate agent who has taken extra steps to gain more knowledge and become certified in the field. Unlike real estate agents, someone with a broker’s license can open their own real estate brokerage to represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. They are also capable of working independently and hiring other real estate agents. Brokers have a greater knowledge and understanding of the industry, which often enables them to provide better advice and guidance for their clients.

Responsibilities of a Real Estate Broker

The role of a real estate broker is similar to that of an agent in many ways. The brokers who work for buyers look for properties that meet the criteria set by their clients. They also negotiate, make offers, and help buyers with any other issues before closing. On the other hand, seller’s brokers (or listing brokers) determine how much their clients’ homes are worth, list and show the homes, discuss offers with the sellers, and help with the process of making counteroffers.

Brokers fall into three main categories based on their level of responsibility:

  1. Associate brokers are licensed brokers who work under another broker. Associates are generally not responsible for supervising other agents.
  2. Managing brokers oversee the office’s daily operations and transactions. Managing administrative staff, hiring agents, and training new hires are also part of their duties.
  3. Principals/designated brokers supervise real estate agents to ensure they comply with state and national laws. It is the responsibility of each real estate firm to designate a broker.

How Do Real Estate Brokers Get Paid?

Real estate brokers typically make money by taking a percentage of the commissions earned by the agents they manage. This income is usually in addition to any commissions they make from their own deals. 

Since brokers do not have to split any of the commissions with other offices, they typically make more money than agents do. They are also in a better position to negotiate higher commissions and fees with clients. This allows them to maximize their income from each deal they manage.

What Are the Differences Among a Bakersfield Realtor, a Real Estate Agent, and a Broker?

Below are the main differences:

  • A Bakersfield Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors.
  • Some real estate agents and brokers are not Realtors.
  • Realtors, real estate agents, and brokers can all assist buyers or sellers with the purchase or sale of real estate and may represent either party. 
  • Realtors, real estate agents, and brokers earn income through commissions paid out when a deal is completed. 
  • All real estate agents, including Realtors, must work under a broker who provides legally required oversight.
  • Brokers have completed additional training and licensing requirements, can work independently, and can hire real estate agents to work for them. 
  • Brokers are entitled to a sales commission on their own transactions, as well as a cut of the commissions of the agents they employ. 
  • Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and must comply with a code of ethics. They may be real estate agents, brokers, or other real estate professionals.

In conclusion, all three are professionals in the real estate industry, and each has their own unique responsibilities. However, Realtors have additional obligations due to their membership with the NAR. Understanding the differences among a realtor, real estate agent, and broker is important when considering who to work with in any real estate transaction.

Real Estate Broker vs. Real Estate Agent: Which One Is Better?

When choosing between a real estate broker and an agent, it can be beneficial to understand the differences between the two. Brokers typically are more knowledgeable about the details of a transaction and may be able to provide more flexibility in terms of fees. However, some brokers are simultaneously trying to manage other agents and back office operations, which can be a distraction. Agents, on the other hand, can sometimes offer more one-on-one guidance and advice, as well as a deeper knowledge of a specific area of Bakersfield.

Ultimately, it may come down to finding an individual who is best suited to meet your individual needs. Both brokers and agents can offer valuable assistance during the home buying or selling process, so it is important to consider both options before making a decision.

What Is the Difference Between a Buyer’s Agent and a Seller’s Agent?

A buyer’s agent, also known as a selling agent, is responsible for helping a prospective homebuyer locate and purchase the ideal property. They will be able to access properties from various sources, such as the local Multiple Listing Service, as well as through other agencies and personal contacts. A seller’s agent, or listing agent, is tasked with showcasing a property for sale. This includes staging, hosting open houses, and marketing through a robust online presence.

When a house is sold, the commission typically gets split between both the buyer’s and seller’s agents, with each agent typically splitting their cut with their brokerage/agency. Understanding the difference between these two agents and their respective roles is important to get the best results from your home sale or purchase.

Should I Hire a Bakersfield Realtor, Real Estate Agent, or Broker?

When it comes to hiring a real estate professional, there are several different types to choose from. Realtors, real estate agents, and brokers are all important members of the real estate industry. Each one offers different expertise and services to help you achieve your real estate goals.

Realtors are real estate agents, but must be members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). They must abide by a strict code of ethics and are held to higher standards when it comes to representing clients. Realtors have the most comprehensive knowledge of real estate market trends and regulations, which can be of great benefit to buyers and sellers.

Real estate agents are licensed to sell real estate in their state but are not necessarily members of the NAR. They typically specialize in certain types of real estate, such as residential or commercial properties. Agents, like realtors, often work for a broker and are limited in the services they can provide.

Brokers have more experience and knowledge than real estate agents because they typically run their own businesses. They may employ agents or other professionals and can provide more comprehensive services to clients. Brokers are held to the highest standard when it comes to representing clients and must have a higher level of education and experience than real estate agents.

Choosing the right professional to help with your real estate needs is an important decision. Consider the type of services you need, your budget if you are a seller, and the level of expertise required to make sure you get the most out of your real estate experience.

No matter what type of professional you choose, always make sure they are properly licensed and have the experience to meet your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your research to ensure you get the best service possible. Good luck!

Contact Us to find the best Bakersfield Realtor for you!