Brokerage Vs. Real Estate Team Vs. Realtor: What’s the Difference and Who’s Right for You?

May 11th, 2023 | Team

Selling or buying a home can be the largest financial transaction of your life, and choosing the right real estate agent or broker is a critical step in the process. Picking the right person or team to represent you can be crucial to a successful transaction, but as you make plans to buy or sell a home in Park City, where should you begin?

As the old adage says, “knowledge is power,” so understanding the distinctions between real estate teams and brokers — and how they affect the agents working under each — can be helpful as you decide with whom to partner. While terms such as “realtor,” “agent” and “broker” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same.

Read on for more about each as we break down the differences between them and offer a few tips on what to look for as you navigate your Park City real estate journey. 

What is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is licensed to help people buy and sell real estate, and is paid a commission when a deal is completed — usually a percentage of the property’s sale price. An agent may represent either the buyer or the seller, or both. 

In Utah, prospective agents must be at least 18 years old and hold a high school diploma (or equivalent), have successfully completed 120 hours of pre-license education and passed the final course exam. Additionally, an agent has to pass the Utah real estate sales agent licensing exam, which covers both state and national requirements. Finally, an agent must complete the license application, which includes a $157 fee, fingerprint submission and background check.

However, once an agent is licensed, they can’t operate alone. All agents must operate under the supervision of a broker.

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What is a real estate broker?

Unlike real estate agents, brokers can work independently, start their own brokerage and hire other real estate agents. While each state determines its own agent and broker licensing requirements, the requirements for a broker’s license are typically much stricter and agents must take additional training as well as have worked a certain number of years as a real estate agent. Brokers earn money by taking a share of the commissions earned by the real estate agents who work under them. They also earn commission from their own transactions, but unlike agents, brokers don’t have to split their commission with anyone.

In Utah, brokers must have three years of “full-time, licensed, active real estate experience,” 120 hours of education consisting of 30 hours of Utah law, 45 hours of broker principles and 45 hours of broker practices, passed the state broker exam and complete the application process. 

Brokers fall into three main categories with various degrees of responsibility:

  • Associate brokers have broker licenses but choose to work under another broker. In general, associate brokers don’t supervise other agents.
  • Managing brokers oversee transactions and daily office operations including managing schedules and administrative staff. They also hire agents, train new hires and work with clients.
  • Principal/designated brokers supervise real estate agents to make sure they follow state and national real estate laws. 

What is a real estate team?

A real estate team is a group of people, most or all of whom are licensed agents, that works together to pursue the same leads. Teams can include just a couple people or can stretch to hundreds, but they almost always work for a real estate broker or brokerage and are typically directed by a team leader. Conversely, not all real estate brokers or brokerages employ real estate teams. Brokerages may instead employ a group of solo agents who work independently on their own individual leads.

At Chin|MacQuoid|Fleming|Harris, our team includes a range of real estate professionals who work together to provide unparalleled service while buying or selling your home in Park City. Our agents have been helping Park City and Deer Valley clients for nearly three decades and have acquired a wealth of knowledge that we’ll share with you. Additionally, CMFH boasts an extremely organized administrative team that takes care of important granular tasks like contracts, appointments, prospective buyer and broker feedback, MLS listings and more. From start to finish we handle the entire process, ensuring you stay informed and feel confident throughout your real estate transaction.

Meet your Park City real estate experts. Learn more about the individuals who make up the CMFH team right here!

What is a Realtor®?

The term Realtor® is a “registered collective membership mark” for industry professionals who are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association in the United States. To be a Realtor®, real estate professionals must hold a valid real estate license, follow NAR’s strict code of ethics, complete orientation and regular ethics training requirements, and stay current on NAR membership dues.

While the terms “realtor” and “agent” are often used interchangeably, the designation of Realtor® is actually open to a variety of professionals in the industry including residential and commercial real estate brokers, agents, sales staff, property managers and appraisers.

One of the best ways to find the best Park City real estate agent for your unique situation is to read the reviews! Google is a great place to start. You can also read reviews from past CMFH clients on our website here.

Is it better to use a real estate broker or real estate agent?

Oftentimes, whether you use a real estate broker, team or agent will not matter much for the buyer or seller of a home. It’s worth noting, though, that an independent broker might have access to more properties listed and may also be able to offer some “wiggle room” on fees since they don’t have to share a percentage.

Ultimately, choosing a real estate broker, team or agent is a personal decision. This will be the person you communicate with the most during your real estate journey, so finding the right professional to work with is imperative. Be sure to ask the right questions, including their experience with the market and your kind of property, their marketing plan, negotiating strategy, methods of communication, references, and connections with other real estate professionals.

Are you thinking about buying or selling real estate in Park City or Deer Valley? Get in touch by calling 435-647-8035 or emailing us at today!

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