Understanding the OR EE Rule in Real Estate: Mortgagee vs Mortgagor

If you are studying real estate, you must have come across the OR EE rule. This rule is an important concept in real estate that you need to understand before you can become a successful real estate agent. 

The OR EE rule is a way of classifying people who work in real estate, and it is used to determine who is an employee and who is an independent contractor. In this blog post, we will explain what the OR EE rule is, why it is important, and how it affects real estate agents.

What is the OR EE Rule?

The OR EE rule is a test used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to classify workers in terms of their employment status. The OR EE rule defines a worker as either an employee (OR) or an independent contractor (EE). This classification is important because it determines many things, such as tax obligations, compensation, and benefits. 

If you are classified as an employee, your employer is responsible for withholding your taxes and providing you with benefits. On the other hand, if you are classified as an independent contractor, you are responsible for paying your own taxes and securing your own benefits.

Why is the OR EE Rule Important?

The OR EE rule is important because it helps to determine the legal and financial relationship between a worker and an employer. This classification has important implications for both the worker and the employer. 

For example, if a worker is classified as an employee, the employer is typically required to provide worker’s compensation insurance, paid time off, and other benefits. However, if a worker is classified as an independent contractor, the employer is not required to provide these benefits.

Key OR EE Terms in Real Estate

As a real estate agent, it is crucial to familiarize yourself with key terms related to property transactions. Understanding the roles of optionor and optionee, grantee and grantor, as well as lessor and lessee, will greatly enhance your knowledge and ability to serve your clients. Allow me to provide a brief introduction to these terms:

  • optionor vs optionee: In a property context, the optionor is the party that grants the option to buy or lease a property. On the other hand, the optionee is the individual or entity who receives this option, giving them the right to exercise it within a specified timeframe.
  • grantee vs grantor: When property rights are transferred, the grantee is the recipient of these rights. They gain ownership or specific rights over the property. The grantor, on the other hand, is the individual or entity that transfers these rights to the grantee. 
  • lessor vs lessee: In a lease agreement, the lessor is the property owner or landlord. They are responsible for allowing the lessee, who is the tenant or renter, to occupy and use the property under agreed terms and conditions.

By understanding these fundamental concepts, you will be better equipped to navigate real estate transactions and provide valuable guidance to your clients.

How Does the OR EE Rule Affect Real Estate Agents?

Real estate agents are typically classified as independent contractors under the OR EE rule. This means that they are responsible for paying their own taxes and securing their own benefits. 

Real estate agents are also responsible for their own expenses, such as marketing and office equipment. However, being classified as an independent contractor also has some benefits. Real estate agents have more control over their schedule and the way they conduct their business. They can work for multiple brokerages at the same time and are not tied to one particular employer.

How to Ensure Compliance with the OR EE Rule?

If you are a real estate agent, it is important to ensure that you are classified correctly under the OR EE rule. One way to do this is to work with a reputable brokerage firm that follows the rules and regulations set by the IRS. 

It is also important to keep records of all your transactions and expenses. This will help you to accurately file your taxes and provide proof of your status as an independent contractor.


In conclusion, the OR EE rule is an essential concept for anyone studying real estate. This rule defines the relationship between an employer and a worker and determines the worker’s employment status. 

for real estate agents, being classified as an independent contractor has both advantages and disadvantages. It is important to understand the rules and regulations set by the IRS and to ensure compliance with the OR EE rule. By doing so, real estate agents can operate their business successfully and avoid any legal or financial issues.

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