It was September 1997 and like a dog waiting for it's owner to come home, I waited for the results of my real estate salesperson test.
I passed! I was a real estate salesperson! Or agent. Same thing. And while I could sell homes right then and there, almost, I wasn’t a real-tor yet. A REALTOR® is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. So I joined the club.
As a REALTOR® I began looking to work at a traditional real estate company. In most of the U.S., a person with a real estate salesperson license cannot sell real estate on their own. He or she must work under a licensed real estate broker, who is supposed to provide supervision. In addition, just because someone has broker license, he or she may not own or manage an office. These folks are called “broker associates” and perform the same duties as an agent.
Back to the story. I began working with a local company and began formal training. I started doing presentations and worked with home buyers and sellers.
I remember one couple in particular. After completing my presentation, they wanted to discuss what they heard and promised to call me the next day.
The next day I DID get a call from them. They decided to list their home with someone else. When I asked why they chose the other agent, they said it was because he was a broker associate. Go back a couple of paragraphs, and you’ll see why I was frustrated. I was convinced I could do just as well as the broke associate but understood this couple didn’t know the role of an agent or a broker.
My solution: study for and successfully complete the broker test. So I did.
I’ve been a licensed real estate broker since 2002. You know what? No one ever asked about the difference since.
On a side note, I know many agents with great experience and several brokers with not so great experience. You might be shocked if I told you some of things I’ve seen that some agents and brokers said or did. Oy.
One final point. I learned long ago that people don’t always know what a real estate company does or the role the company plays in the transaction. I believe people think real estate companies sell real estate and do all kinds of important stuff that has to do with the home buying and selling process.
I think it’s safe to say that salespeople, whether agent or broker, sell real estate, not companies. I recently saw an ad that read “Our agents sell a home every 30 seconds…” It didn’t say, “Our company sells a home every 30 seconds.” See my point.
The bottom line is you need to trust your REALTOR®.