The Key Differences Between An Active And A Passive Broker

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The Blowing Rock Investment Properties Real Estate Team


As far as we’re concerned, there’s two types of real estate agents in this business, and we’ve come up with a simple way to classify them. Keep in mind, these are our own terms and definitions, but feel free to apply them as you wish.

First, you have your “passive brokers”. A passive broker makes the chief of their income by taking as many property listings as possible and waiting for buyers to come to them. If a property sells, great, if it doesn’t, that’s okay too. In their eyes it is all about volume, people will always be there to list their home, so there’s very little concern for the individual client. The truth is, they’re probably juggling more listings then they can keep up with and they couldn’t give all of their clients the attention they deserve even if they wanted to.

Some of you may be all too familiar with the classic signs of a passive broker:

  • Making grand promises just to get you to list with them, only to fall through time and again
  • Regularly showing up late/canceling meetings
  • Coming to meetings unprepared
  • Always seemingly distracted when you adress questions and concerns regarding your property
  • Constantly making you feel like you’re being rushed out the door
  • Rarely giving new/updated information on possible leads or interested buyers
  • Extremely difficult to get ahold of over the phone or by email

If any of the above signs ring a bell, chances are, you may have been a victim of the dreaded passive broker.

The second type is the “active broker”, this is not to be confused with the term active broker, in the sense that the agent holds an “active real estate license”, we’re referring to an agent that is actively working for the client. The simplest way to define an active broker, would be to say, they are the complete opposite of a passive broker. First and foremost, the top goal of any active broker is to provide clients with realistic expectations concerning their property. For instance, telling a client that they can get their home sold for $1,000,000, when it would realistically sell for $500,000 on the current market, would be an example of setting unrealistic expectations. While this may be nice to hear as a client, if your goal is to sell your home within a reasonable time frame, you will be gravely disappointed when your property sits on the market indefinitely and you don’t know why. No client wants to have their time wasted and a good agent will respectfully give you their honest opinion on the true value of your home. A seller should be wary if an agent’s promises seem too good to be true.

Classic signs of an active broker:

  • Takes a prominent role in the agent/client relationship
    • Agents should be able to guide their clients throughout the entire process with knowledge and insight.
  • Timely and well prepared for meetings
    • An agent that is on time demonstrates a commitment to focusing on you as an individual.
  • Patient and thorough in answering all client questions
  • Never takes on more listings then they can handle
    • It may sound like a great strategy for acquiring a big business in the short run, but unattended clients will lead to dissatisfied clients, which ultimately leads to a poor brand image. Quality agents will avoid this at all costs. (Remember the signs!)
  • Mindful and acutely aware of their personal brand image
    • There’s nothing that will sink an agent faster then negative client experiences.
      • Take a look at testimonials from past clients, what are people saying? It may just be that the agent is new to the industry and has yet to build a name for themselves, but if they’ve been around a while and their client feedback looks light, it could smell trouble.
      • If you read positive testimonials from a number of various sources, chances are you will do just fine.
    • Happy clients mean more referral business in the future, active brokers are very aware of this and some rely on it almost entirely.
  • Goes out of their way to bring buyers to the client
    • As we discussed earlier, its not enough to just list a property on the local MLS, an agent should take a hands-on approach in trying to find a buyer for the client, as much as they would for their own home.
      • When a client’s property gets sold, everyone wins.

As you may have already guessed, we at Blowing Rock Investment Properties are strong believers in the active broker strategy and take extreme pride in our client relationships.

If you are someone that is interested in listing your property for sale in the near future, or would simply like to get an honest opinion on the value of your home, do not hesitate to fill out the form below or send us an email at [email protected]. We have a complete staff of experienced, active brokers standing by, that would be more than happy to meet with you for a free consultation.


  • Tell us a little bit about your situation
  • Where is the property located?
  • Who can we contact with your completed market analysis?
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