Transaction Broker Vs. Buyer's Agent

Nov 01, 2019

The duties of a transaction broker and buyer's agent differ in many ways. This article explores the salary, job outlook, and responsibilities of both roles.

Comparing Transaction Broker to Buyer's Agent

In real estate, transaction brokers are neutral mediators between buyers and sellers while a buyer's agent represents only the buyer's interest. A transaction broker is also licensed to run his/her own brokerage business and can work independently while a buyer's agent must work with a real estate broker.

Job Title Educational Requirements Average Salary (2019)* Job Growth (2018-2028)**
Transaction Broker Real estate courses and Broker's License (requirements vary by state) $54,774 (for real estate brokers) 7% (for real estate brokers and sales agents)
Buyer's Agent Real estate courses and Agent's License (requirements vary by state) $48,196 (for real estate agents) 7% (for real estate brokers and sales agents)

Sources: *, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of a Transaction Broker vs. Buyer's Agent

Both transaction brokers and buyer's agents may work with residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural properties. They must take state-approved real estate courses before taking a licensing exam. A transaction broker may obtain a broker's license by undergoing additional formal training and obtaining 1-3 years of experience as a sales agent. Both brokers and agents work varied hours to accommodate client schedules and regularly travel to properties and networking events.

Transaction Broker

A transaction broker may have a real estate office with employees, either managed independently or under a national franchise. If a client wants to transact with another client from the same firm, the firm's real estate broker may choose to act as their transaction broker. He/she must treat both the seller and the buyer fairly and does not owe confidentiality to either party. A transaction broker shares details of offers, mediates any oral or written agreements and assists the two parties close the real estate transaction.

Job responsibilities of a transaction broker include:

  • Hiring and overseeing sales agents
  • Understanding real estate laws
  • Finding properties for sale
  • Building clientele of buyers and sellers
  • Helping rent or manage properties for a fee

Buyer's Agent

Buyer's agents can be independent contractors who split commission with a broker, a salaried employee of a brokerage firm or a contractor who pays a monthly fee for brokerage services but keeps 100% of the commission. A buyer's agent has a duty to represent the best interests of his/her client, but must also be honest with the sellers and their agents. Buyer's agents must understand the buyer's requirements and budget and provide emotional support during the transaction. They also research and stay up to date on the real estate market in their area and help their clients understand the local communities and market prices.

Job responsibilities of a buyer's agent include:

  • Understanding real estate financing options and government programs
  • Staying current on housing and zoning laws
  • Accompanying buyers to see properties
  • Communicating purchase offer to sellers
  • Preparing contracts and deeds
  • Advertising services to potential clients

Related Careers

If you're interested in the transaction broker role, you may want to learn more about mortgage loan brokers who also help clients with real estate purchases. Those interested in the buyer's agent role may want to read about the real estate appraiser position, which also requires real estate knowledge and plays an important role in the buying process.

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