A real estate broker or real estate agent is a person who acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate/real property and attempts to find sellers who wish to sell and buyers who wish to buy. 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, but there are significant differences between the actions and liabilities of brokers and estate agents in each country. Beyond the United States, other countries take markedly different approaches to the marketing and selling of real property.
In the United States, real estate brokers and their salespersons (commonly called “real estate agents” or, in some states, “brokers”) 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, although a broker may not be legally entitled to his commission unless the agreement is in writing), they assist buyers by helping them purchase property for the lowest possible price under the best terms. The real estate broker “broker” is obligated to provide fiduciary duties to whomever that broker services as client, this agency relationship can become very confusing; if the broker is helping both the buyer and seller, this is called dual agency. Traditionally, the broker represents the seller, and has a fiduciary duty to the seller. If the broker suggests to the buyer that he will help them negotiate the best price, then it is said the broker is practicing undisclosed dual agency, which is unethical and illegal in all states . Under a dual agency transaction it is vital the broker discloses to either/or part whom they represent as client, and whom they represent as customer. A real estate broker owes his client fiduciary duties, those duties include care, confidentiality, loyalty, obedience, accounting & disclosure. A real estate broker owes his customer fair & honest dealing. A real estate broker must request all parties(seller & buyer)sign a dual agency agreement, to protect their license.
In most jurisdictions in the United States, a person must have a license before they may 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.