Broker, Agent, Advisor...What's the Difference?

If your business has ever experienced a commercial real estate transaction, you know the amount of industry jargon can be overwhelming. Our job as advisors is to cut through the noise. We make it simple to help you make the best decision possible. We bring industry expertise and local market knowledge, so you can focus on what you do best, running your business.

One prominent question that comes up is, “What is the difference between real estate agents, real estate brokers and real estate advisors?”.

Let’s break it down.


Commercial vs. Residential

The first thing to be aware of is that the licensing requirements vary from state to state and from country to country. And though the roles are vastly different, there is no distinction between residential and commercial real estate licenses in most locations. Therefore, anyone with a license can technically manage the transaction on a commercial property in the state or region in which they are licensed.

For our purposes, we will focus on what we know best, the commercial side of the industry, specifically the office and industrial sectors. 

Commercial Real Estate Agents

Most states work in a two-tiered system. The first tier is a real estate agent, sometimes referred to as a real estate salesperson.

Real estate agents must hang their license under a managing broker, who then takes on more of the liability and receives a percentage of the transaction fee. In many states, an agent must gain several years of experience prior to taking the brokerage license exam.

Commercial Real Estate Brokers

Commercial real estate brokers have more stringent licensing requirements. They take additional training on topics such as zoning laws, insurance and legal and ethical issues. They may work for themselves, or for a brokerage company.

To complicate this even more, in commercial real estate all agents, advisors, associates, brokers, etc. are most commonly referred to as real estate brokers, regardless of the type of license they hold.


Why We Refer to Ourselves as Commercial Real Estate Advisors

Though it is true that Cresa Advisors are commercial real estate brokers. We see the role as more than just facilitating a transaction, but as a true ally in your business.

We believe that there is an inherent conflict of interest within the commercial real estate industry, putting tenants at a disadvantage. Our mission is to be the firm that brings the greatest value to occupiers. One of the ways we do this is by working solely with occupiers or tenants, never landlords or developers to ensure the best outcome for your business is always our top priority.

Real estate is the tool, but we care much more deeply about your holistic business goals and how we can use space to help you accomplish them. Which is why we refer to ourselves as advisors.