What does an Associate Broker do?

Geri Terzo

In real estate, an associate-level broker assists with tasks related to selling a home without having the responsibility of operating his or her own firm. This associate has passed the necessary training requirements related to the field. An associate broker can perform many of the same duties as a brokerage owner but typically does not earn the same percentage of profits from a sale as someone who owns their own real estate brokerage.

An associate broker in real estate generally does not run his or her own firm, and typically earns a lower percentage of profits on a sale than a brokerage owner.
An associate broker in real estate generally does not run his or her own firm, and typically earns a lower percentage of profits on a sale than a brokerage owner.

To become an associate broker, an applicant must achieve a certain level of education, including earning a high school diploma or the equivalent, and in some instances college training. Depending on the region in which a broker resides, he or she might need to take and pass a real estate course to be eligible for certification in that region before practicing as a licensed associate broker. Typically, a broker will have to be of a certain age before a license can be granted to him. The age requirement in the United States is age 21.

Associate real estate brokers perform many of the same duties as brokerage owners.
Associate real estate brokers perform many of the same duties as brokerage owners.

Once licensed, an associate broker in real estate serves as an intermediary between buyers and sellers in a buying, selling or rental transaction. He or she performs tasks for the party being represented. For instance, if brokering a purchase, there is a checklist that an associate broker must undertake. He or she must make sure a potential buyer is qualified to receive a mortgage in addition to researching and showing properties and scheduling appointments. Eventually, an associate broker will have to submit, negotiate and ideally close a deal.

When representing a seller, an associate broker must similarly follow some routine. He or she becomes responsible for marketing the property, such as placing signs in front of the building or home to advertise its availability, writing advertisements for that property and informing other brokers that the property is for sale. Open houses are conducted to display a listed property to other associate brokers and interested buyers, and eventually a sale must be negotiated.

Although the education requirements for becoming as associate broker are quite liberal with the exception of having to pass a regional certification process, there are certain skills that an associate broker must possess in order to be successful. For instance, communication is a valuable attribute since there will be ongoing contact with other people. Displaying an air of professionalism is similarly important, because real estate is among the most expensive investments that someone will make.

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Real-estate is an expensive business to be in. Discount brokers have to cut costs somewhere. If a discount broker is offering $1,500, half his commission, to other brokers vs. 3 percent of a $150,000 house $4,500, which house do you think will be showed more often and advertised in more places?

There is a reason there are not many discount brokers versus traditional brokers. It's just not feasible.


@Charred - What is a broker, really? It seems that a lot of recent trends have turned the definition over on its head.

The associate broker is one such example (that’s the first I’ve heard of it). Another idea is that of the discount broker. This is something that I’m quite familiar with, because it was a discount broker that sold our house.

I had been warned about going with them; friends told me that the discount broker wouldn’t market my property aggressively, or wouldn’t list it with MLS, etc.

None of it was true. I paid a flat $3,000, avoided the typical 6% commission, and saved a bundle of money. My house sold within three weeks. The fact is, all brokers, traditional, associate or discount, have access to the same database of information. It’s just a matter of how hard they’re willing to work for you.


It seems that broker associates could get benefit from some of the upside in doing a real estate business while avoiding the downside.

For example, I had always considered the possibility of entering the real estate business, but friends told me that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

They said that as an independent agent you have to do a lot of your own advertising, putting up ads on billboards, bench signs, and of course in the phone book. There’s a lot of up-front investment, and of course nowadays a lot of people are doing their own searches online.

As an associate broker, you could avoid a lot of the up-front expenses and still make some extra money. It might be ideal for someone wanting to do it part-time. Even with a smaller commission it would be worth it.

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