A real estate broker is a person who has been officially licensed to provide real estate advice and services on behalf of clients. A real estate broker may operate independently, or they may collaborate with other brokers to create a group called a brokerage. The brokerage operates to provide real estate services in the surrounding area.
A broker is different from a real estate agent (although people sometimes use the same term to apply to any real estate worker). Agents technically work for brokers and are often not licensed by the state. They often perform different tasks, leaving major decisions and procedures for the brokers.
Real estate brokers can represent either sellers or buyers in the transactions. Traditionally, they represented sellers in the market. Modernly, brokers can represent either party, and in some cases, both parties. Duties towards clients who are sellers include:
- Ensuring that the home has property sales exposure through listings, advertising, and other channels
- Informing the home owner of potential buyers and offers
- Holding open house events to showcase the property
- Acting as a liaison or contact person for those who have questions about the property
- Managing paperwork and forms
- Engaging in negotiations with buyers
- Prescreening buyers and performing financial background checks
- Closing deals
For clients who are buyers, duties of brokers include:
- Alerting the client to potential buying opportunities
- Assisting with offers and initial negotiations
- Informing the client of any responses to offers
- Helping with negotiations
- Assisting the buyer when attending home walk-throughs
- Arranging for inspections and appraisals
- Acting as the buyer’s fiduciary
Violations of client rights or confidentiality can often lead to a legal dispute between the broker and their client. Claims against agents and brokers are among the most common types of real estate disputes. These types of lawsuits typically end with a damages award or other similar remedy, depending on the violation involved.
Broker liability is a common subject for many real estate lawsuits. You may wish to hire a real estate lawyer if you need help with a dispute or if you need to research the brokers in your area. Your attorney can help with background checks to ensure that the broker has a valid license and will be acting in your interests. Also, if you need to file a lawsuit, your attorney can assist you with the process, and can file a legal claim on your behalf.