Commercial Real Estate Brokers & Agents


A real estate broker, through the activities of a commercial real estate agent is a party who acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers, and for tenants and landlords of commercial real estate when a lease is involved. In the United States, the relationship was originally established by reference to the English common law of agency with the broker having a fiduciary relationship with his clients. Estate agent is the term used in the United Kingdom to describe a person or organization whose business is to market real estate on behalf of clients.

In the US, real estate brokers and their salespersons (commonly called "real estate agents") assist sellers in marketing their property and selling it for the highest possible price under the best terms. When acting as a Buyer's agent with a signed agreement (or, in many cases, verbal agreement), they assist buyers by helping them purchase property for the lowest possible price under the best terms. Usually the landlord or seller is responsible for the commissions owed to commercial real estate agents for closed transactions.

In most jurisdictions in the United States, a person is required to have a license in order to receive remuneration for services rendered as a real estate broker. Unlicensed activity is illegal, but buyers and sellers acting as principals in the sale or purchase of real estate are not required to be licensed. In some states, lawyers are allowed to handle real estate sales for compensation without being licensed as brokers or agents.

The commercial real estate agent differs from the residential real estate agent in that commercial real estate agents generally cover only commercial property for sale or lease. Occasionally you will find that residential agents on occasion dabble in commercial real estate property transactions. The commercial real estate agent works for a commercial real estate broker that also generally handles only commercial real estate transactions.

Commercial real estate agents are licensed by the state in which they practice commercial real estate. They “hang” their agency license with the commercial real estate broker who compete to retain the top agents in each market they serve. Some commercial real estate brokers staff a small number of commercial real estate agents, while other larger regional commercial real estate brokers may staff more than a hundred commercial real estate agents spread throughout a few offices within the region.

Commercial real estate brokers differ from the commercial real estate agents not only by how they are licensed, but their responsibilities to the clients who use their services to conduct commercial real estate transactions. The commercial real estate broker must obtain a broker’s license and pass a commercial real estate exam given by the state in which they practice. Typically the commercial real estate exam is the same test given to the commercial real estate agent but the commercial real estate broker must pass the exam with a higher percentage of questions answered correctly.

Commercial real estate agents perform a great deal of duties for the principals of any sale or lease transaction. Commercial real estate brokers assist the commercial real estate agent by providing resources necessary for any transaction to occur. commercial real estate agents typically gather information, conduct property tours, and negotiation on behalf of the client. They work to perform a great deal o due-diligence on behalf of their principals, and must disclose any information relevant to the transaction at hand.

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