A real estate broker is a person who has been educated and licensed by the state to provide various services and perform real estate-related tasks for clients. Traditionally, real estate brokers represented the selling party in a home sales transaction. Modernly, however, real estate brokers can represent sellers, buyers, or both parties in the transaction.
The term “real estate broker” is often used interchangeably with “real estate agent”. Technically, a broker is licensed, whereas an agent may not always be licensed, and often works on behalf of a licensed broker.
What Do Real Estate Brokers Do?
When real estate brokers represent sellers, they are often responsible for tasks such as:
- Placing the home in for sale listings and maintaining for sale signs
- Preparing and finalizing sale documents
- Acting as a go-to person for interested buyers
For clients who are buyers, brokers may perform duties like:
- Locating property for buyers
- Arranging for a walk-through or showcase of the home
- Assisting with the negotiation and sales process
What Are Some Legal Considerations Regarding Real Estate Broker Liability?
Regardless of which party the real estate broker is representing, they are bound by various state and federal laws regarding ethics and codes of professional conduct. Some of the duties of real estate brokers include:
- Fiduciary duties (especially to seller clients)
- Duty to perform tasks with reasonable amount of care
- Maintaining client confidentiality and loyalty to the client
- Obeying terms of a broker agreement or contract with the client
Brokers must make full disclosures when it comes to prices, descriptions of property dimensions, and various other important pieces of information. Violations of professional standards can lead to civil lawsuits. Broker liability for a violation may require them to compensate a client or other party for losses caused by their conduct.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Real estate transactions may often involve the assistance of a real estate broker. You may need to hire a real estate lawyer if you have any legal disputes or conflicts with a broker. Your attorney can help review your claim to determine what types of legal remedies are available for you. Your lawyer can also represent you in court if you will be appearing in court.