Agent or Broker / Agency – What’s the difference?

Ever wondered what an agent and agency mean? Did you know that there is a significant difference between an agent and a broker? A broker is someone who is an industry specialist, he would own or run the agency, an agent is someone who works for a broker or an agency. You can always get more details about this if you Google the same. A number of clients in the market often get confused on what the difference is between an agent and an agency or a broker for that matter.

Agents are not the experts, Brokers are! Brokers run / own the agency!

Attaching yourself to an agency eliminates quite a bit of risk. Working with an agent means you have to ensure you interview the agent, get the identification information, blindly trust and depend on the agent to bring you clients. Most of the agents in Colombo are not competent and know very little about the market and the standard market practices. At Mister T, property examinations are held to ensure the team of agents and brokers are well educated and know what they preaching to clients. This practice has helped the company to grow and establish a good name in the market.

It’s also important to understand who the broker is, at Mister T, the company is the broker, not an individual person, hence, you as a client do not have to worry about any form of risk or any unscrupulous activity. This can be a huge advantage. If you are looking for an agent to work on your property, you need to find out who the broker is, an agent alone is not a strong player and is likely to bring zero results.

The confusion in the market

It’s quite a strange phenomena, agents think they are brokers and brokers think they are agents and clients think agents and brokers mean the same thing whereas they don’t. A broker is a well respected person with a good reputation, decent conduct and a vibrant personality just like any other professional, Doctor, Lawyer, Engineer etc, the agent is the smaller version of the broker who is learning the trade and trying to reach the level of a broker by working for a broker or a brokerage firm.

If one studies how this brokerage business is done across all other nations, you would notice that the agents and the brokers they work for are the main players of any real estate transaction, this means that the buyer has his own agent and seller has his own agent and the agents represent their clients and do the deal. The seller’s agent looks after the seller’s interest because the seller will pay the commission to the agent. The buyer’s agent looks after the buyer’s interest and the buyer his agent the commission for the same. The agency does all the work. In Colombo, there has been friction and certain nonacceptance on the part of the buyers where they try to negotiate with the seller’s agent or get hold of the seller directly which is not the proper way to deal especially because you talk to so many people and your personal information such as you name, contact number and email address are exposed to various persons. Agents and brokers help to keep your identity safe and secure.

Sri Lanka is a 3rd world country with a 3rd world minsdet

There has to be shift in mindset. First from a 3rd world mindset to a developed and growth mindset and then to appreciate and respect the work of an honest man. If you expect agents and brokers to be professional, then you have to pay them and that’s not going to be cheap. It’s the right way. No professional, be it in any industry will do anything for free but the poor brokers and agents in Colombo do a great deal of work for free without knowing for sure who they will be representing at the end of the day.

It is true that Sri Lanka brokers and agents do not have a governing body and even if it did, it would not have the best of the best as the best are on a path of their own and they have organized their work to fit the needs of the market. Below are a set of things any agent should have if they are in the real estate business and eventually open their own agency:

1 Website

You must have your own website where you upload all your listings. This is key and very important. Clients will look at you with credibility.

2. Office

Even if you are one person, have a small workplace enough to entertain a client. Yes, we are in the technology era but there is a large portion of ultra rich people who don’t use smart phones and who are not tech savvy.

3. Business Card

Your business card should you have your basic details, office and website info too should be there. This is the going to bring you tons of business if you do this.

4. Business registration

One of the first things to do, there are so many types of registrations. Ensure that you are covered if an issue arises.

5. Work Ethic

Ensure to have a work ethic, if you are lazy person, then there is no point in saying anything but if you really want to do well, have a work ethic, set your goals, decide how properties you want to undertake and how many deals you want to do for a month, quarter and year. Plan it out.


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