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New York Real Estate Salesperson Vs. Broker: What’s The Difference?

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In navigating the New York real estate landscape, understanding the differences between a real estate salesperson and a broker is crucial for anyone considering a career in this dynamic field. As a real estate salesperson, you’re licensed to assist in the buying and selling of properties and you represent a brokerage. You work closely with clients to understand their needs and act on behalf of the brokerage in transactions. On the other hand, a real estate broker carries a higher level of responsibility, including owning or managing a brokerage, and has additional licensing requirements set by the New York Department of State.

A real estate salesperson presents a property to a client, while a broker oversees the transaction

The path to becoming a real estate salesperson or broker in New York involves specific educational prerequisites and the successful completion of licensing exams. As a salesperson, your journey begins with completing a qualifying course for real estate salespersons. Brokers, conversely, have more stringent education requirements and need to demonstrate sufficient experience in the industry. Both roles offer unique benefits: salespersons can learn the ropes of real estate without the demands of ownership, while brokers enjoy the autonomy to run their own business and supervise others.

Key Takeaways

  • A real estate salesperson operates under a brokerage, while a broker can own or manage a brokerage.
  • Licensing and educational pathways differ for each role, with brokers facing stricter requirements.
  • Both careers in real estate offer unique advantages, whether starting as a salesperson or advancing to a broker.

What Is The Difference Between A Real Estate Salesperson Versus A Broker In New York?

A bustling New York City street with a real estate salesperson showing properties to clients, while a broker oversees multiple deals and negotiations

In New York, a real estate salesperson works under a supervising broker and is the initial point of contact for clients in property transactions. To become a salesperson, you must complete a 77-hour pre-licensing course and pass a state exam.

On the other hand, a real estate broker has advanced beyond the salesperson level, undertaking additional education – typically a minimum of 120 hours of coursework – and has passed a more comprehensive state broker’s exam.

Licensing and Education:

  • Real Estate Salesperson: Must be at least 18 years old, complete a 77-hour pre-licensing course, and pass the salesperson’s state exam.
  • Real Estate Broker: Must first be a licensed salesperson, with at least two years of experience, undertake 120 additional hours of education, and pass the broker’s state exam.


  • Salesperson: Works with clients on buying, selling, and renting properties but must do so under the authority of a licensed broker.
  • Broker: Can operate their own real estate business or manage a brokerage, and may employ salespersons. They handle more complex transactions and have a greater level of legal responsibility.

Keep in mind, schools like Corofy offer a comprehensive, fully online approach to the necessary education, providing flexibility and depth in your learning experience in New York’s real estate field.

What Is A Real Estate Agent Or Salesperson?

In New York, a real estate agent, often referred to as a salesperson, plays a crucial role in facilitating real estate transactions. As someone looking to navigate the housing market, you’ll encounter these professionals, who are licensed to represent buyers or sellers in the sale, lease, or rental of property.

  • Duties: Their responsibilities include listing properties, marketing them effectively, and negotiating deals. They must operate under the supervision of a licensed real estate broker and earn a commission for their services.
  • Licensing: The New York Department of State oversees the licensing of real estate salespersons to ensure they meet the required educational and ethical standards. To become a salesperson, one must complete a state-approved real estate education course, pass a licensing exam, and work alongside a broker.
  • Marketing Skills: A salesperson’s ability to successfully market properties involves understanding the target demographic, effective use of advertising tools, and leveraging online platforms.
  • Commission Structure: Salespersons earn their income through commissions, usually a percentage of the property’s sale price. This incentivizes them to close deals at the best possible price.

If you’re contemplating a career in real estate or engaging an agent’s services for your transactions, it’s important to understand their role within New York’s real estate framework. They serve as the navigators, guiding clients through the often complex journey of buying, selling, or renting property, while upholding professional standards and regulations.

What Are The Benefits Of Becoming A Real Estate Agent In New York?

Embarking on a career as a real estate agent in New York opens doors to a dynamic market with significant opportunities for personal growth and financial reward.

It’s How You Get Started

To begin your journey in the real estate industry, securing a license is your foundational step. By completing the required education, which can be done through an online real estate school like Corofy, and passing the state exam, you become part of a regulated profession. With a license in hand, you have the credibility to engage in sales and contracts and are responsible for facilitating transactions that can have profound impacts on your clients’ lives.

Working As A Free Agent

Freedom in your career is another compelling benefit. As a real estate agent, working independently allows you to craft your personal brand and grow your network. Your commissions serve not just as income but as direct reflections of your ability to market properties and close deals successfully. Moreover, ongoing continuing education courses ensure you remain at the forefront of marketing and networking strategies, keeping your skills sharp in a competitive environment.

Real Estate Agent Types

In New York, navigating the world of real estate agents can become complex, given the variety of roles they play. You’ll encounter different types of agents, each with distinct responsibilities and areas of expertise.

Who Represents Whom?

  • Buyer’s Agent: As you might guess, a buyer’s agent represents you if you’re purchasing property. Their job is to find listings that meet your needs, arrange showings, and help you through the purchasing process.
  • Seller’s Agent: Conversely, if you’re looking to sell, a seller’s agent is your advocate. They assist with pricing your property, marketing it, and negotiating with potential buyers on your behalf.
  • Dual Agent: A dual agent acts for both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. While this can streamline communication, remember that their impartiality is critical since they must not favor one party over the other.

Levels of Licensure

  • Real Estate Salesperson: This is your starting point in New York real estate. Salespersons must operate under a licensed broker and cannot work independently.
  • Associate Real Estate Broker: After gaining experience, a salesperson can become an associate broker. These individuals have broker’s licenses but choose to work under another broker rather than heading their own office.

Each type of agent and brokerage level brings unique benefits to a real estate transaction. If you’re eager to learn more or pondering a career change, consider exploring an online real estate school like Corofy for flexible, comprehensive education opportunities. Remember, in New York, any real estate professional you work with must be properly licensed to ensure they’re qualified to guide you through the intricate process of buying or selling property.

What Is A Real Estate Broker?

In New York, a real estate broker plays a pivotal role in the property market. Unlike real estate salespersons, brokers have additional responsibilities and autonomy. To become one, you must navigate through stringent licensing requirements that involve in-depth knowledge of real estate law and significant experience in the industry.

Brokers are authorized to own and manage a brokerage, which entails supervising real estate salespersons and ensuring all transactions comply with state laws. They facilitate the buying, selling, leasing, and renting of properties, and they may also handle property management.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Overseeing real estate transactions
  • Managing a team of salespersons
  • Ensuring compliance with New York real estate law

Moreover, brokers in New York have the flexibility to work independently or employ other salespersons and brokers. Pursuing education through online platforms, such as a fully online real estate school, can be a viable path to acquiring the knowledge necessary for this career.


  • Extensive industry experience
  • Completion of advanced real estate coursework
  • Passing a state-administered licensing examination

To sum up, if you’re considering a step up from salesperson to broker in New York, be prepared to undertake additional duties, from transaction oversight to team management, all while ensuring strict adherence to the laws governing real estate.

What Are The Benefits Of Becoming A Real Estate Broker In New York?

As you consider a step up in your real estate career in New York, becoming a real estate broker offers distinctive advantages, from higher earning potential to entrepreneurial opportunities.

Be The Boss

As a licensed real estate broker in New York, you have the capability to run your own brokerage and be your own boss. This career advancement opens up doors to management and leadership roles within the real estate sector. You’re no longer just following policies; you create them.

Tax Breaks

By establishing your own brokerage, you can take advantage of significant tax breaks and benefits. You can often write off business expenses, which may include a home office, travel, and marketing, allowing you to optimize your earnings and minimize your taxable income.

Earn More

In terms of salary, a real estate broker in New York typically earns more than a salesperson. With the added responsibility, your commission rates and salary expectations can exceed the average national salary of real estate professionals substantially. By recruiting agents to work under your brokerage, you can further increase your earnings through their sales, amplifying your income potential.

Real Estate Broker Types

In New York’s dynamic real estate market, understanding the types of real estate brokers can guide your professional interactions.

Managing Brokers have the authority to oversee the daily operations of a real estate office. They ensure compliance with state and national real estate laws, and typically, they guide a team of agents and other brokers.

A Principal Broker is similar to a managing broker but is often the main broker of a real estate firm. They hold the ultimate responsibility for legal documents and transactions.

Licensed Brokers have met New York State’s education and examination requirements, allowing them to conduct real estate transactions independently or establish a brokerage.

The Sponsoring Broker is the licensed broker who sponsors real estate salespersons until they obtain their broker’s license. They provide mentorship and support to salespersons.

Broker Type Role Description
Managing Broker Oversees brokerage operations and ensures legal compliance. Provides guidance and support to real estate professionals.
Principal Broker The leading broker in a firm, holding legal liability for transactions and often participates in higher-level management.
Licensed Broker Has fulfilled all requirements to operate independently, capable of owning a brokerage or working under another broker.
Sponsoring Broker Supports and sponsors real estate salespersons, guiding them through their licensing journey and initial practice.

These roles are critical in the structure of a real estate business in New York. Each has distinct responsibilities and requires a specific level of experience and licensing. Whether you are beginning your real estate journey or looking to advance your career, familiarize yourself with these nuanced roles to better navigate the industry.

Should I Become A Real Estate Agent Or A Broker In New York?

Deciding between becoming a real estate agent or a broker in New York depends on your career goals, qualifications, and desire for independence in your work.

As a real estate agent, you start by supporting buying and selling processes for clients while working under a licensed broker. To qualify, you’ll need to complete a 77-hour pre-licensing course, pass the New York real estate salesperson licensing exam, and be sponsored by a licensed broker.

Real Estate Agent Real Estate Broker
– Work under a broker – Operate independently or hire agents
– 77-hour pre-licensing course – Additional coursework of 45 hours
– Salesperson licensing exam – Broker licensing exam

If your ambitions lie in running your own business and hiring agents, becoming a real estate broker might be your path. After accumulating at least two years of experience as a licensed agent, or three years in the real estate field, you can pursue broker qualification. This entails 120 hours of approved real estate coursework and passing a separate broker licensing exam.

Your responsibilities expand as a broker, as you’ll manage transactions, oversee agents, and ensure regulatory compliance.

Whether you opt for being an agent or a broker, ongoing education is crucial. You can take advantage of fully online real estate schools like Corofy, which provide the flexibility to fulfill your educational requirements around your schedule.

Evaluate your education goals, experience level, and licensing needs when making this career decision. While agents have the benefit of learning the industry ropes and building experience, brokers benefit from a wider scope of operation and higher earning potential.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Broker?

To become a real estate broker in New York, you need to go through a series of steps that typically include education, exam, and experience requirements. The timeframe to complete these steps can vary significantly based on individual circumstances.

Firstly, you are required to complete a 75-hour broker qualifying course, unless you qualify for a course requirement waiver based on professional experience. Taking this course at a fully online real estate school like Corofy can offer flexibility and may expedite the process compared to traditional classroom settings.

Following the coursework, passing the New York real estate license exam is a critical step. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions, and you must achieve a passing score to move forward. Most candidates prepare for weeks or months to ensure they pass on their first attempt. The state exam schedules vary, so it’s essential to plan and register early.

If you have at least two years of experience as a licensed real estate salesperson or three years of experience in the real estate field, you may be eligible to take the broker exam. Gathering and documenting this experience is a substantial part of the timeline.

In summary, the process from starting your education to obtaining your broker’s license could span from several months to over a year. The key factors affecting the duration include:

  • Time taken to complete the broker qualifying course
  • Study time for the state exam
  • Availability of exam dates
  • Documentation and validation of relevant experience

Each step requires careful attention and planning to ensure you meet all the necessary criteria to become a licensed real estate broker in New York.

How Long Must a Real Estate Agent Work Under a Broker Before Working Independently?

In New York State, if you’re pursuing a career as a real estate agent, you’re required to work under a licensed real estate broker initially. This is non-negotiable and ensures that you are adequately prepared to handle transactions with the necessary oversight and guidance.

Experience Requirements: To be eligible to graduate from an agent to a broker, you need to amass a set experience level. Specifically, you need a minimum of two years as a licensed real estate salesperson.

Transactional Experience: Apart from duration, New York mandates that you participate in a certain amount of qualifying transactions. The requirements entail a varied mix of experience points that you accrue through different types of real estate deals.

Educational Prerequisites: Additionally, you must complete 120 credit hours of approved real estate education, which includes the 75 hours required for your initial salesperson license plus another 45 hours of broker-specific education.

Broker’s Exam: Finally, you’re tasked with passing the New York State real estate broker’s exam. This comprehensive test evaluates your knowledge and competency as a broker, ensuring you’re ready to work independently.

It’s important to note that while you’re gaining this experience, you have the opportunity to learn under the tutelage of established professionals. This is where a fully online school like Corofy can be highly beneficial, providing you the flexibility to learn and work simultaneously.

Keep in mind these steps, as you chart your path towards working independently in New York’s dynamic real estate market.


In New York’s competitive real estate landscape, understanding the distinctions between a real estate salesperson and a broker is crucial for your career path and business success. As you weigh your decision on which role to pursue, consider your long-term goals within the real estate business.

  • Real Estate Salesperson: You must complete the necessary education, pass the state examination, and work under a licensed broker. Your primary role involves facilitating transactions, helping buyers and sellers, and maintaining your real estate license with continuing education.
  • Real Estate Broker: After gaining experience as a salesperson, you can aim to become a broker. This involves additional education and passing a broker’s exam. As a broker, you have the ability to run your own business, manage salespersons, and have a deeper involvement in the property market.

Your success hinges on compliance with local regulations, a thorough grasp of the market, and the ability to adapt to changes. Real estate licenses serve as a gateway to both roles, with brokers holding a more advanced position.

Your journey in real estate begins with quality education. Enrolling in a reputable institution, such as a fully online real estate school, provides flexibility and the foundation needed to thrive in either role. Remember, your career progression depends not just on obtaining a license, but also on your commitment to continuous learning and adapting to the dynamic New York real estate environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

When navigating the New York real estate market, you may encounter a range of professional titles and responsibilities. Understanding the differences between these roles is crucial for your real estate endeavors.

What are the primary differences in responsibilities between a real estate salesperson and a broker in New York?

A real estate salesperson in New York operates under a licensed broker to facilitate transactions, which includes listing and selling property. In contrast, a real estate broker has the authority to open their own firm and hire salespersons, having passed a more comprehensive licensing exam and fulfilling additional education requirements.

How does the compensation structure differ for real estate salespersons compared to brokers?

Real estate salespersons typically earn commission-based income from the transactions they facilitate but must split their earnings with their employing brokers. Meanwhile, brokers earn a portion of their salespersons’ commissions, in addition to profits from their own deals and services.

Can someone become a broker without first being a salesperson in New York?

No, in New York, you must first gain experience as a licensed real estate salesperson before you can qualify to take the broker’s license exam. This requirement ensures that brokers have sufficient industry practice.

What unique roles does an associate broker fulfill compared to a salesperson or a standard broker?

An associate broker holds a broker’s license but chooses to work under another broker. This role allows them to perform the same tasks as a standard broker while typically avoiding the management responsibilities of running a broker’s office.

In New York, is it legal to act as your own real estate agent, and what are the limitations if any?

You can act as your own real estate agent in New York if you’re selling or buying your property. However, for others’ properties, unless you are a licensed agent or attorney, you’re limited in the services you can provide and cannot earn a commission.

How does the role of a leasing agent contrast with that of a real estate broker?

A leasing agent in New York focuses on renting properties and typically works under a broker. Their scope is narrowed to lease agreements rather than the broad spectrum of real estate transactions handled by brokers.

Who is Corofy?

Before being a school, Corofy is a community. Our founder, Eddy Boccara, started his real estate career as a real estate salesperson looking for a side hustle.

Since then, he’s had a passion for New York real estate and specifically the talented individuals that take the leap to get their real estate license and help this industry progress.

Eddy created Corofy with one goal in mind: to provide people with quality real estate education that actually helps them build a career they can be proud of.

New York Online 77-hour Real Estate Pre-Licensing Course

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