For BuyersFor SellersFun FactsHome OwnershipWindermere July 14, 2022

The Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Mortgage Broker

Throughout the course of buying a home, you’ll work with a variety of professionals, all with specific training to help you through each stage of the process. With such a cast of specialists around you, it’s helpful to know everyone’s responsibilities and which questions to ask whom. One important distinction to be made is the difference between your real estate agent and your mortgage broker. The following information is a guide to understanding where they differ and how each of them helps you to buy a home.

Real Estate Agent vs. Mortgage Broker

Both real estate agents and mortgage brokers are licensed professionals who play a pivotal role in the home buying process by bringing parties together to get a deal done. However, that’s about where the similarities end.

Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent will represent you throughout the buying process. Their access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) allows them to search the widest network of available homes to find the ones that match your budget and criteria. They’ll also receive alerts on open houses and are usually the first to know when new listings hit the market.

Once you’ve identified a home you’d like to pursue, they’ll assist you in putting together your offer, negotiating with the listing agent representing the seller, and guide you through the counteroffer process (should there be one). Once the seller accepts your offer, your agent will help you negotiate any final repair requests found in the home inspection and assist you through closing until you’ve received the keys to your new home.

The point is: your agent will be with you throughout your home buying journey, from start to finish. They are an invaluable resource for local market knowledge and real estate expertise. Though they will not execute the financial aspects of a home purchase for you, (that’s where your mortgage broker comes in), they can recommend trusted lenders with whom you can apply for and secure a home loan.

For more information on working with an agent, visit our Home Buying Guide:


Mortgage Broker

Mortgage brokers work on the financial side of a real estate transaction, representing buyers to find them favorable mortgage terms when shopping for a home loan. They connect borrowers to lenders by researching the various fees and rates associated with obtaining a mortgage, accessing the buyer’s financial creditworthiness, and coordinating paperwork. Mortgage brokers are not responsible for loaning any money. Once they’ve found the right lender and loan product for their client, they hand the baton to the lender, who will then disburse the funds at the appropriate time.

Working with a mortgage broker can save you time and money. In some cases, they may be able to get the lender to waive certain fees and are experts at finding the best deal for their clients among a vast array of loans and lenders. Mortgage brokers are instrumental in getting your financing for your home purchase secured and provide guidance on which loan products may work best for you.

For more on the financial aspects of a home purchase, read the following:


Two women discussing the terms of a mortgage application

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: kate_sept2004


Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent and Mortgage Broker

Now that you know a bit more about the respective responsibilities of real estate agents and mortgage brokers, here are a few common questions to ask when conducting interviews:

Real Estate Agent Mortgage Broker
  • How do you help buyers to make their offer stand out?
  • What is the required down payment for this loan?
  • What’s the difference between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages?
  • How many clients are you working with currently?
  • Which costs are attached to this loan?
  • What is the best way to contact you?
  • How high does my credit score need to be?
  • How long have you been an agent in the local market?
  • What is the interest rate for this loan?
  • Do you represent both buyers and sellers?
  • Do you have recommendations for mortgage brokers, home inspectors, etc.?
  • Is there a prepayment penalty?