Ask A Realtor: What’s the Difference Between a Sales Representative vs. Broker?

When getting involved with real estate — either as a client or customer — it’s important to have a solid overview not just of how the profession works, but how its professionals work.

On that note, a matter of specific interest regards the difference between a sales representative and broker-of-record. But rather than just provide two textbook definitions, wrap this up quickly and get on with our day… we’ll do you one better and paint a bigger picture.

To do that, it’s best to start by generally outlining the role of the brokerage itself.

As far as this industry is concerned, a brokerage is authorized to trade in real estate on behalf of another person. Incidentally, the three ownership options when forming a brokerage are: sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. The choice of brokerage to set up depends on individual circumstances, such as tax considerations and personal goals.

Anyway, the brokerage as an owner employs or appoints sales representatives to perform day-to-day listing and selling functions in the real estate trading process.

These activities are always performed under the guidance and direction of the broker-of-record.

This broker of record is responsible for ensuring that the brokerage complies with the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA 2002), and its regulations. Additional responsibilities include maintaining the brokerage trust account and reviewing and signing trade record sheets.

When enlisting the services of a specific brokerage—like PSR, for example—it’s not likely that you will be directly handled by the broker-of-record. That’s what the sales representatives (realtors — ever hungry for their next commission), are for! But be advised that the broker-of-record will be at the helm of the business in the background, assessing details of transactions and, when necessary, acting as support for your real estate sales representative.

After all, much like the owner or manager of any business, it’s in the broker-of-record’s interest to ensure the satisfaction of clients, and to make certain the sales representatives of the brokerage are complying with rules and regulations.

Here is the difference between the designation of sales representative vs. broker:

Any sales representative in Ontario can become a real estate broker by successfully completing OREA’s Broker Registration Education Program, which includes one additional elective course from the Articling Segment of the Salesperson Registration Education Program and then the Real Estate Broker Course.

That said, many sales representatives pursue broker qualification without becoming brokers/owners. Instead, these individuals remain with their particular employing brokerages and are legally recognized as brokers, but not necessarily as a broker-of-record.

In the end, no matter the designation—sales representative, broker of record, broker—when working with licensed professionals of this caliber, you’re not just guaranteed a high level of knowledge or professional standards, but a committed infrastructure to support, guide and inspire confidence in your real estate transactions.