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Monday Nov 23, 2020

The difference between an estate agent and a broker

While the difference between a real estate agent versus a broker or principle will have little to no effect on their clients, the distinction will have some career implications for the real estate professional in question.

According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, the difference ultimately boils down to a higher qualification and the ability to run your own office.  

To qualify as a registered estate agent, Goslett explains that one must have successfully completed grade 12 as a minimum requirement before he/she can begin training. "The qualification process includes a 12-month internship under a certified principal estate agent as well as completing a Further Education and Training Certificate (FETC): Real Estate (NQF 4) qualification, as well as writing the final Professional Designation Examination (PDE). To become a principal estate agent or broker, one needs to study a bit further to acquire an NQF 5 training certificate," he clarifies.

The main reason some choose to get their broker or principle estate agent qualification is so that they may open their own office and work for themselves rather than working under another real estate principle. This allows them freedom as well as the opportunity to hire other real estate agents in order to grow their earning potential. 

"What makes the RE/MAX business model unique is that it is built around the concept of entrepreneurship. Each RE/MAX office is independently owned and operated and top producers have the opportunity to join an office as an independent contractor. This means that no matter if join as an agent or as a broker, you are allowed the freedom to run your own business," he explains.

For brokers, this means that they can own their own business with the support of the RE/MAX SA regional office that organises network-wide events, facilitates training, provides IT infrastructure, rolls out national marketing campaigns, and ensures that all use of the RE/MAX logo is brand compliant. "Our Regional Support Office does not get involved in the day-to-day running of an office and does not extend influence over how the office chooses to run their businesses unless it is tarnishing the overall reputation of the RE/MAX brand or is in breach of the RE/MAX Franchise Agreement," says Goslett.

For agents who join RE/MAX as independent contractors, they can earn as much as 100% of their commission and are allowed to operate as their own independent entity and are not under the direct control of an office. This acts as an incentive for them to work hard and enjoy the full reward of their efforts.

"For homeowners, it might not make much of a difference whether their real estate professional is a broker/principle or an agent. What really makes the difference is how strongly motivated the real estate professional is about selling the home. This is why RE/MAX is structured around the concept of entrepreneurship. Nothing motivates a person more than knowing that they work for themselves, but not by themselves. This is what gives RE/MAX agents and brokers, as well as their clients, the unfair advantage over their competitors," Goslett concludes.

For more advice or to get in touch with a real estate professional from the world's leading brand in real estate, visit


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