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What is the difference between a Real Estate Broker and a Real Estate Lawyer?

How many years of college would it take?

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Robert’s Answer

Having been in real estate 25+ years, this has been something I get reminded of a lot. An RE lawyer is needed in many instances in addition to a real estate professional or broker. The broker works with those in a transaction and will then tell the RE broker what needs to happen. The lawyer will then work, many times without the buyer or seller, to make a transaction work from a legal standpoint.
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Job’s Answer

A lawyer has to graduate college with good grades and take the LSAT which is a difficult test, and then apply to law schools and hope to get accepted. Law School takes a minimum of 3 years. You can then get a job that pays a salary after you pass the state bar exam for each state you want to practice in, which is another difficult test.
A real estate broker needs no college education but has to pass state test to become a real estate agent, and normally have to have some experience as an agent. You will not have a salary and will be self employed.
I am an attorney as well as a real estate broker and have an MBA in finance.
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Jesse W.’s Answer

Think of it this way. Both careers are related to the legal description and purchase or sale of real property. A broker is a salesperson who is licensed by the state to help people find and purchase land, home, or commercial property or to help sell property. This requires a sales personality. Do you like to work with people? Do you feel energized when working with people? That is required in sales along with clear thinking, having a good head for business, and understanding the local, state, and federal regulations required of a property sale. Realty brokers get paid from a percentage of the sale price of the property. Generally, the brokerage gets 6% and the salesperson (broker) gets 1% to 2 % of that. So, it can be lucrative.

A real estate attorney is an attorney who specializes in realty. So, if I were to sell my house FSBO (for sale by owner) I would go to an attorney and a title company. If I am willing to do the broker's work, I can avoid that 6%. The attorney will charge a flat rate depending on the complexity of the sale. The title company will make sure all the proper notifications are in place and if there is a loan, work with the bank to exchange funds as a third party. Then, either the lawyer or title company will file the deed with the county. There are a lot of pieces and parts for an owner to FSBO the owner property. Real estate attorneys may also work for large corporations. For example, Wal-Mart, Target, and other big box stores as well as manufacturers hire attorneys just for land acquisition and management. Lawyers do not need to be people people, but it helps. They spend countless hours alone with highly technical and legal language. A degree in history, political science, or English are good starting places for lawyers. You will need to know Latin.

Jesse W. recommends the following next steps:

Google real estate licensing programs and requirements in your state
Research a law school for their entrance requirements (ex. LSAT score)
Talk to a local realtor about what their job is like (they are people people, so they will likely be happy to do so.
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Paul’s Answer

This is from Daniel Burke attorney at law: danburkelaw.com

What’s the difference? What are the pros and cons of using each? When is it best to use a lawyer over a realtor?

When it comes to buying or selling real estate, most people think hiring a realtor is their only option. While real estate agents are the more popular choice for helping people buy and sell homes, real estate lawyers are a valuable asset and hiring one may be the best way to accomplish your real estate goals. Let’s discuss what the difference is between realtors and real estate lawyers and when you might need one over the other.

Real Estate Lawyers and Realtors: What’s the difference?
There are some obvious differences between a real estate lawyer and agent: one practices real estate law while the other helps people buy and sell houses. However, there are some key advantages of each that many people don’t often think about. Real estate lawyers, while able to draw up and review contracts, don’t often professionally sell real estate. Very few real estate lawyers know all of the particulars of the real estate profession, including:

Information about specific neighborhoods
How to prepare a comparative market analysis
How to negotiate for repairs
How to spot home defects


Acting as a real estate agent is something most lawyers leave to realtors. However, one of the most crucial elements of buying and selling real estate is something realtors are legally not allowed to do: give legal advice.

Legal vs. Real Estate Questions
When asking questions about the real estate buying and selling process, especially questions about their contract, many people are surprised to find that their realtor can’t give them a direct answer. This is because, while realtors can answer as many real estate questions as they want — “How many square feet are in an acre?” — it’s illegal for them to answer legal questions. Even if they break the law and offer their opinion on a legal issue, their advice can’t be relied upon because they aren’t a lawyer.

Real estate agents have many ways to answer legal questions indirectly. For example, if a client asks whether they can cancel their purchase contract and get their deposit back, a realtor may point to the clause of the contract about the return of the deposit, and they might disclose what usually happens in this case according to their experience. The realtor may even note that a previous client ran into this same problem and explain how they handled the matter with legal action. While this gives the client an answer of sorts, the realtor avoids directly recommending legal action, which is considered legal advice.

When should you choose a lawyer over a realtor?
Real estate lawyers generally aren’t the best choice if you need someone to help you find a nice neighborhood or line up a buyer for your house, it’s important not to underestimate the legal side of real estate. Real estate attorneys are extremely valuable if you need someone to:

Draw up or review a real estate contract
Give legal advice on any part of the process
Explain your legal protections as a buyer or seller


It’s far better to speak to a real estate lawyer rather than get in a legal bind because you don’t want to spend money on getting reliable legal advice.

If you need a San Antonio real estate lawyer, count on Dan Burke, Attorney at Law. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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Aisha’s Answer

Great Question Reem.

In a nutshell, a real estate broker provides their clients comprehensive support at every stage of the home buying process, helping them make an informed decision and A real estate attorney, on the other hand, will help you navigate the legal landscape when buying a property. Real Estate Lawyers draft legal documents such as deeds, contracts, agreements, as well as obtain required permits and titles. They are responsible for preparing necessary documentation with the relevant authorities. Real Estate Lawyers also need to ensure that their clients understand the legal ramifications of the documents they are signing, and that they understand all the terms of the agreements. They must at all times conform to the applicable standards and protocol set out in laws

Real estate education is cost-effective, brief, and can be completed on your schedule from the comfort of your home, office, or nearby coffee shop, you don't need a college degree to become a real estate agent. Depending on their state’s requirements, prospective brokers must spend one to three years working as a real estate sales agent before they can apply for licensure. It may take additional weeks or months to complete the required training course and pass the broker licensing examination.

To become a Real Estate Lawyers one must complete a Bachelor's degree, pass the Law School Admission Test, complete a 3-year graduate program at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association and pass the bar examination in the state where you will practice.

Good luck on your journey.
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Roberto’s Answer

Hello Reem, there are good answers already, I won't be long. To me this can be looked at from two perspectives:

1- A Broker is a trader or a dealer (not to be confused with the "realtors" which are mostly just sales people), the Broker is the one who employs the "realtors" . Anyone that meets the requirements can be one (it is difficult) but it is not even required to follow a certain path in college. It is more an experience and licensing path together with some financial liabilities.

2- A real state attorney is a fully fledged lawyer that decided to specialize in that area of the law, but could decide to specialize in more than one, or change to a different specialty later or even ALSO get a license as a Broker. To be a lawyer you need to go to college and law school so the academic requirements are much higher.

The summary is that you need to study a lot more to become a lawyer, then specialize but at the same time your options are much much larger, because as a licensed lawyer you can do real estate and much more.

Good Luck !!!
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Keneisha’s Answer

A real estate broker is a real estate agent who meets advanced licensing requirements to oversee other agents.
A real estate lawyer is someone who is licensed to practice real estate law, meaning they have the knowledge and experience to advise parties involved in a real estate transaction, such as a home sale or short sale.
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