real estate agent vs wholesaler

Wholesaler Vs. Real Estate Agents: Key Differences & Similarities

real estate business real estate jobs real estate terms wholesale real estate Oct 23, 2023

The roles of wholesalers and real estate agents often intertwine, leading to some confusion. Both are essential cogs in the property market machine, yet they fulfill markedly different functions. Nonetheless, these two professions' subtle similarities and stark disparities deserve our attention.

In this article, we'll navigate the nuanced landscape of wholesaling vs. real estate agent work, helping you distinguish the wholesaler from the traditional agent and, in the process, providing you with a clearer picture of their respective roles in the industry. In doing so, we’ll explore the key differences and surprising similarities that shape the real estate world, starting with the following:


What Is A Real Estate Wholesaler?

A real estate wholesaler is a unique player in the property market, often distinct from real estate agents. Their primary focus is not selling properties to end buyers but acting as intermediaries connecting motivated sellers with potential investors. Wholesalers identify distressed or undervalued properties, negotiate favorable terms with sellers, and secure these properties under contract. It’s crucial to note wholesalers do not typically attempt to buy the subject properties; instead, they secure the rights to buy them. Their profit lies in the difference between the purchase price negotiated with the seller and the sale price offered to the subsequent investor, often referred to as the "assignment fee" or "wholesale fee."

what are house wholesalers

In essence, wholesalers function as matchmakers in the real estate world. They find properties that sellers are eager to offload quickly, whether due to financial distress, inheritance, or other reasons, and then locate investors seeking profitable real estate deals. A wholesaler's primary income source is the fee collected when assigning their contract to an investor. This practice allows investors to access valuable properties while wholesalers receive compensation for facilitating the transaction without officially owning the property.

Before we begin our guide on Wholesaler Vs. Real Estate Agents, we invite you to view our video on How To Wholesale Real Estate Step by Step (IN 21 DAYS OR LESS)! Host and CEO of Real Estate Skills, Alex Martinez, provides a comprehensive, step-by-step guide for beginners to start wholesaling real estate!


What Is A Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who assists clients in buying or selling real estate properties. Their role involves guiding clients through the complexities of the real estate market, helping them find suitable properties, negotiating offers, and ensuring that transactions proceed smoothly to closing. Real estate agents can represent either buyers, sellers, or sometimes both, depending on the specific transaction and agency policies.

On the other hand, Realtors are real estate agents who belong to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and abide by a strict code of ethics and conduct. While all Realtors are real estate agents, not all real estate agents are Realtors. Realtors are committed to upholding high professional standards and protecting the interests of their clients. The main distinction between Realtors and regular real estate agents is their membership in NAR, which gives them access to exclusive resources and additional professional development opportunities.

Real estate agents and Realtors earn a commission for their services, typically a percentage of the property's final sale price. This commission is shared between the buyer's and seller's agents in a typical transaction. Some real estate agents and Realtors may also offer other related services, such as property management or investment consulting, and may charge fees for these additional services. While real estate agents primarily make money from commissions on completed transactions, wholesalers earn their income through assignment fees from connecting sellers with investors and facilitating property transfers.

Read Also: Realtor Vs. Real Estate Agent: Salaries, Differences & Similarities


Wholesalers Vs. Real Estate Agents: Similarities

wholesalers and real estate agents similarities

Real estate agents and wholesalers play integral roles in the real estate industry, and while their primary functions differ, there are some notable similarities:

  • Real Estate Knowledge: Both real estate agents and wholesalers require a strong understanding of the local real estate market. They need to know property values, market trends, and the legal requirements governing real estate transactions.
  • Networking Skills: Success in both professions relies on building and maintaining an extensive network of contacts. Agents and wholesalers connect with other professionals, including investors, buyers, sellers, contractors, and service providers.
  • Communication & Negotiation: Effective communication and negotiation skills are crucial for real estate agents and wholesalers. They must mediate between buyers and sellers, convincing clients or investors to make favorable decisions.
  • Legal & Ethical Responsibilities: Both professions require adherence to local, state, and federal real estate laws. Agents and wholesalers should maintain ethical standards to ensure trust and credibility in the industry.
  • Client-Centric Approach: Real estate agents and wholesalers prioritize their clients' best interests. They provide expert guidance and support to help clients achieve their real estate goals.
  • Problem-Solving: Dealing with unexpected issues and problem-solving are common in both roles. They may encounter property complications, financing challenges, or legal obstacles and must find solutions.
  • Property Marketing: Agents and wholesalers understand the importance of marketing properties effectively. They use various strategies to attract potential buyers or investors to the properties they represent.
  • Transaction Process: While their involvement in the transaction process differs, agents and wholesalers participate in various aspects, including property evaluation, negotiation, and sometimes even assisting with closing procedures.
  • Flexibility: Real estate agents and wholesalers often have flexible schedules to meet client needs and adapt to the ever-changing real estate market.
  • Commitment To Education: Successful professionals in both fields regularly invest in continuing education to stay updated on industry trends, market developments, and legal changes.

These similarities indicate that real estate agents and wholesalers share common skills and attributes, even though they serve distinct roles within the industry. Understanding these parallels can help individuals differentiate between these professions and choose the path that aligns with their interests and goals.

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Key Differences Of Wholesalers & Real Estate Agents

differences of wholesalers and real estate agents

Real estate agents and wholesalers play distinct roles in the real estate industry, each with its responsibilities and functions. Here are some key differences between the two professions:

  • Primary Roles
  • Earnings
  • Representation
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Client Interaction
  • Property Ownership

Wholesaling Vs. Real Estate Agent: Primary Roles

  • Real Estate Agents: Agents primarily represent clients (buyers or sellers) in property transactions. They help clients buy, sell, or lease properties and earn commissions based on these transactions.
  • Real Estate Wholesalers: Wholesalers act as intermediaries who find and secure potential real estate deals and then assign or resell these properties to investors. They focus on sourcing properties for investors rather than representing clients in traditional transactions.

Wholesaling Vs. Real Estate Agent: Earnings

  • Real Estate Agents: Agents earn commissions based on the sale price of properties they help buy or sell. Commissions are typically shared with the buyer's or seller's agent.
  • Real Estate Wholesalers: Wholesalers profit by assigning or selling contracts to investors. Their income comes from the assignment fee or the difference between the purchase and resale price.

Wholesaling Vs. Real Estate Agent: Representation

  • Real Estate Agents: Agents represent clients' interests and provide guidance throughout the transaction, ensuring their clients receive the best deal possible.
  • Real Estate Wholesalers: Wholesalers do not typically represent buyers or sellers. They are facilitators who identify potential deals and connect them with investors, often not taking an active role in the final transaction.

Wholesaling Vs. Real Estate Agent: Licensing Requirements

  • Real Estate Agents: Jurisdictions require real estate agents to obtain a license. Licensing involves completing coursework, passing exams, and fulfilling continuing education requirements.
  • Real Estate Wholesalers: Wholesaling does not usually require a specific license. Wholesalers work behind the scenes to secure and assign contracts rather than acting as licensed agents in property transactions.

Read Also: Real Estate Jobs Without License Requirements

Wholesaling Vs. Real Estate Agent: Client Interaction

  • Real Estate Agents: Agents work directly with clients to provide guidance, advice, and support throughout the buying or selling process. They often build long-term relationships with clients.
  • Real Estate Wholesalers: Wholesalers typically interact more with investors and other industry professionals, such as contractors, inspectors, and property owners. They focus on sourcing and securing deals rather than providing comprehensive client services.

Wholesaling Vs. Real Estate Agent: Property Ownership

  • Real Estate Agents: Agents do not typically take ownership of properties. They facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers, earning a commission for their services.
  • Real Estate Wholesalers: Wholesalers may temporarily hold properties under contract but often do not take ownership. Their role is to find and connect investors with lucrative investment opportunities.


Wholesalers Vs. Realtors

Real estate wholesalers and Realtors, including real estate agents who are National Association of Realtors members, differ significantly in their roles, functions, and responsibilities within the real estate industry. Here's how they distinguish from each other:

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Wholesalers: Real estate wholesalers primarily function as intermediaries who identify and secure potential investment deals. Their primary role is to locate properties at a discount, negotiate with sellers, and then assign or resell the contracts to real estate investors. Wholesalers are deal finders and facilitators, but they typically do not represent clients in the traditional sense. Their focus is on sourcing opportunities for real estate investors.
  • Realtors: Realtors and real estate agents typically represent clients, either buyers or sellers, in real estate transactions. They provide various services, including helping clients buy or sell properties, guiding them through the complex process, providing market expertise, negotiating on their behalf, and ensuring their interests are protected. Realtors often build long-term client relationships and aim to provide a full-service experience.


  • Wholesalers: Wholesalers make money through assignment fees or by selling the rights to purchase a property at a profit. They profit from the difference between the purchase price they negotiated with the seller and the higher resale price offered to investors.
  • Realtors: Realtors earn commissions based on the sale price of properties. Commissions are shared between the buyer's and seller's agents and are a percentage of the final sale price. Their income is derived from successful property transactions, representing clients on both sides.

Client Interactions

  • Wholesalers: Wholesalers typically interact more with real estate investors and other industry professionals. They often establish relationships with contractors, inspectors, and property owners to identify lucrative investment opportunities. Wholesalers may not provide the comprehensive client services associated with traditional real estate agents.
  • Realtors: Realtors and real estate agents work directly with clients and provide them with guidance, advice, and support throughout the buying or selling process. They foster relationships with clients, understand their needs, and provide high customer service, often resulting in long-term client-agent relationships.

Licensing & Regulation

  • Wholesalers: In many jurisdictions, wholesaling does not require a specific real estate license. Wholesalers primarily function behind the scenes to secure and assign contracts rather than acting as licensed real estate agents in traditional property transactions.
  • Realtors: Realtors and real estate agents are typically required to obtain a license in their jurisdictions. Licensing involves completing state-mandated coursework, passing exams, and fulfilling continuing education requirements.

Read Also: Is Wholesaling Real Estate Legal? The Ultimate Guide For Investors


Final Thoughts On Wholesaling Vs. Real Estate Agents

The worlds of Realtors, real estate agents, and wholesalers are interconnected, but they each offer distinct and valuable services within the real estate industry. While they share some commonalities, they serve different roles and fulfill unique needs. Each plays a crucial role in the real estate ecosystem, catering to different market aspects. Understanding the differences between wholesaling vs real estate agent positions allows individuals to choose the path that aligns best with their interests and goals.

Ready to embark on a rewarding career in the real estate industry? Look no further! Real Estate Skills offers comprehensive guidance and resources to help you enter one of today’s most lucrative industries. Connect with us today to explore exciting opportunities, acquire essential skills, and start a fulfilling journey in the real estate industry. Your dream career in real estate is just a click away!

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