What’s the difference between a real estate agent, a mortgage specialist and a mortgage broker?

Navigating the home buying process alone can be tricky, confusing and frustrating. But buying your dream home with experienced professionals by your side is both easier and enjoyable. 

Great, but who should I talk to first?

A real estate agent or a mortgage broker?

What’s the difference between the two? And what’s a realtor, mortgage specialist or mortgage agent? OMG. There’s a difference… Lol.

Real Estate Agent vs. Mortgage Broker

Sometimes they’re confused as one and the same but they’re different from each other and have a unique role to play in your home buying journey. As licensed professionals in the real estate industry, both help their clients obtain residential or commercial properties. But their specific duties are quite different. 

A real estate agent helps buyers and sellers find or sell a physical property and a mortgage broker helps buyers find the financing to purchase a property or refinance a property.

Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent, also known as a realtor, is a trademarked term for a real estate agent. They help their clients lease, purchase or sell property and are a member of the local real estate board and of the provincial real estate association in the Realtor’s province. 

These professionals can be separated into two groups: real estate brokers and real estate agents. Both have undergone thorough training in real estate to be licensed to work in the field.

Real estate brokers represent buyers for commercial and residential properties. They own real estate firms and employ real estate agents. Brokers charge a fee for the sale of the property and their agents earn a commission from the sale. They may also manage, appraise, or develop real estate and even combine their business with an insurance agency or a law practice. 

Generally, real estate agents work under real estate brokers and act as an intermediary between sellers and buyers.

What a Realtor can do for you

Both real estate agents and brokers can be approached for your home buying and selling needs, like shopping for property, making offers and counter offers, hang around for an inspection, smooth out the bumps in the road and keep calm when the pressure’s on.

Mortgage Specialist

Mortgage specialists are loan officers who are employed by financial institutions like credit unions and commercial banks. They’re trained to be familiar with the banking industry, and the rules and regulations of mortgages.  They have extensive knowledge of their specific institution’s lending products and are only able to sell you products from what their individual company offers.

What a Mortgage Specialist can do for you

A mortgage specialist’s main role is to evaluate the financial status and approve or recommend home buyers a home loan originated from a financial institution.

Mortgage Broker

A mortgage broker is a licensed professional that simply acts as the go-to-person for a borrower and a lender. They don’t use their own funds but they work with a variety of lenders and financial institutions. They’re a trustworthy source for your credit score questions, property investment loans information, down payment coaching and much more.

What a Mortgage Broker can do for you

Their main duties are to assess your financial situation, obtain appropriate mortgage products, do the rate shopping on your behalf to get the best deal, apply for pre-approvals, gather necessary documentation, complete applications and give advice to any home loan related questions and concerns.

One of the biggest advantages of working with a broker is it allows you to apply for as many mortgage quotes as you’d like without adversely affecting your credit score. Many first time home buyers simply just obtain one mortgage quote from their financial institution without doing their due diligence and accepting it. 

Even a small difference in mortgage rates or the experience of a knowledgeable and licensed broker may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Shopping around with a trusted and experienced mortgage broker is worth it!

Their Services Matter

Your dream home is one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. One of the home buying mistakes is not knowing what an experienced mortgage broker can really do for you. Utilize their skills and many years of expertise to make better home buying decisions.


Daisy Raouph, CLU, CHS, specializes in mortgage financing solutions and financial services. A Mortgage Broker and Financial Security Advisor with over 30 years of experience in financial services. Contact us today to review your mortgage financing options. We can help!