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What are the Differences Between a Real Estate Investor and a Real Estate Agent?

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A real estate investor is someone who is interested in purchasing good investments, whether it is buying a property and holding it for rental income, or fixing it up and then reselling it. Real estate agents, on the other hand, represent clients in real estate transactions.

Key Takeaways

  • Real estate investors and agents have different roles within the real estate industry.
  • Understanding the differences can help you choose the right professional to work with.

Similarities Between Investors and Agents

First, both investors and agents often have a deep understanding of and interest in the real estate market. They are knowledgeable about current trends, pricing, and demand in their chosen localities.

Second, agents, and sometimes investors, act as middlemen between sellers and buyers. Investors may be principle investors, where they are the end-buyer, or secondary investors, where they find investments for other buyers.

Differences Between Investors and Agents

Regulatory and Licensing Requirements

Real estate agents are licensed, whereas investors may or may not be licensed. No licensing is required for investors because they act in their own capacity and do not represent anyone else.


Investors do not depend on a broker and may therefore have more independence.

Income Sources

Agents make their money by receiving commissions. Investors make money on the investment itself, over time, or in finders fees when they find investments for others.


Agents usually use the MLS and hold open houses to attract traditional buyers. Most often, these buyers obtain a loan from a bank to make the purchase possible. Investors can often buy as-is and with cash, which makes the process faster.


Agents are usually a good choice for houses that are in great shape, since these will sell well on the MLS. On the other hand, if the house needs significant repairs or needs to be sold quickly, an investor may be the best option.

If you are interested in selling to an investor, reach out to us to see what we can do for you!

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