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Real Estate Broker vs. Developer: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Real estate brokers and developers are both involved in the process of buying, selling and developing land and properties. However, their roles and responsibilities differ. If you’re interested in a career in real estate, understanding the difference between these two positions can help you choose the path that’s right for you. In this article, we compare and contrast real estate brokers and developers, and we provide information on the skills and education you’ll need for each profession.

What is a Real Estate Broker?

A real estate broker is a licensed professional who helps people buy and sell property. In most states, a broker must have a broker’s license, which requires completing a certain amount of coursework and passing an exam. Brokers typically work for a real estate brokerage, where they have access to resources such as multiple listing services and real estate software. They use these resources to market properties and find buyers or sellers. When working with buyers, brokers help them find properties that meet their needs and budget. When working with sellers, brokers help them determine a fair price for their property and market it to potential buyers.

What is a Developer?

A real estate developer is a professional who oversees the construction and sale of new real estate developments. They are responsible for acquiring land, securing financing, obtaining the necessary permits, and overseeing the construction process. Once the development is completed, they may also be responsible for marketing and selling the units. Real estate developers typically work with a team of professionals, including architects, engineers, and real estate brokers.

Real Estate Broker vs. Developer

Here are the main differences between a real estate broker and a developer.

Job Duties

The duties of real estate brokers and developers may overlap in some situations, but they typically focus on different activities. Real estate brokers help clients find, purchase and sell property. They assist with the entire process from finding a suitable piece of land to helping a buyer secure financing and negotiating sales prices. Developers oversee construction projects, managing teams and ensuring that buildings meet local building codes. They also may market properties to prospective buyers once construction is complete.

Job Requirements

To become a real estate broker, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also need to complete a state-approved education program and pass a state exam. Some states require brokers to complete continuing education courses on an ongoing basis to renew their license.

To become a real estate developer, you will need at least a bachelor’s degree in real estate, business, finance or a related field. Some developers also pursue a master’s degree. In addition to formal education, developers often gain experience through internships or working in the industry before starting their own development company.

Work Environment

Real estate brokers and developers work in different environments. Real estate brokers typically work for real estate agencies, which are independent businesses that help clients find properties to buy or rent. Brokers may also work for themselves as independent agents. They spend most of their time traveling between meetings with clients and showing them properties.

Real estate developers work for large companies that build new communities from the ground up. Developers often travel to sites where they plan to develop a community and oversee construction teams. Developers may also manage sales teams that market homes within their developments to potential buyers.


Real estate brokers and developers share some skills, such as customer service, marketing and sales. However, developers also need to have strong project management skills to oversee the construction process from start to finish. They also need to be able to read and understand blueprints and other technical documents related to their projects.

Real estate brokers typically work with clients who are interested in buying or selling property. They need to be able to find properties that meet their clients’ needs and budget. They also need to be able to negotiate on behalf of their clients to get the best possible price for the property.

Developers often purchase land and then build homes, office buildings or other structures on that land. In addition to overseeing the construction process, they also need to obtain the necessary permits and approvals from local authorities. They also may be responsible for marketing and selling the finished product.


Real estate brokers earn an average salary of $88,350 per year, while developers earn an average salary of $91,880 per year. Both of these salaries can vary depending on the location of the job, the size of the company and the level of experience the professional has.


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