The Difference Between a Listing and a Buyer’s Agent

buyer's agent

What is the difference between a Listing Agent and a Buyer’s Agent? There seems to be quite a bit of confusion on this question. Typically, all agents involved in a real estate sale legally represent the Seller (typically referred to as the “Listing Agent”). However, when a realtor hired by the purchaser becomes a part of the transaction, this person is usually referred to as the “Buyer’s Agent”.  Let’s break it down in simpler terms:

Listing Agent

The Listing Agent specializes in assisting a homeowner to sell or list their home. They negotiate the best possible price and terms for the home seller. However, they’re usually not the selling agent.

When hiring a Listing Agent, you’ll need to look for a few things:

  1. Education: There is a difference between a realtor and a REALTOR®. Although both are licensed to sell real estate, a REALTOR® is licensed by the National Association of REALTORS®. This firm holds responsibility, ethics, and integrity to a higher standard and all agents must adhere to a Code of Ethics.
  2. Experience: Make sure they are knowledgeable on the surrounding areas of your home. They need to be familiar with your neighborhood and surrounding localities to ensure the best price for your house.
  3. Networking and Negotiation: You want somebody looking out for your best interests, not someone out to make a quick buck. They should have a strong network of support and interaction, in order to provide the best-selling transaction possible for you.
  4. Communication: You’ll be interacting quite a bit with this agent. Be sure you mesh well. Being able to understand one another can make or break this transaction.
  5. Marketing: They will need to attract the most prospects and best-qualified buyer through advertising. They’ll be showing the house, screening potential buyers, and assisting you with negotiations. Make sure they know what they’re doing!

Your Listing Agent should provide you with a list of comparable homes in the surrounding area, which are also on the market. Remember, legally, your Listing Agent is obligated to represent you and your interests in all negotiations. It is his fiduciary duty towards you, as listed in your signed agreement. Your agent may cooperate with another brokerage, in order to sell your home; however, if the listing agent and selling agent are working for the same brokerage, the transaction is considered a dual agency. Your needs must be above all others to your agent, even if they work for the same brokerage firm. No matter what, both agents must remain neutral and must not work against their clients to ensure the sale of the home.

Buyer’s Agent

A Buyer’s Agent guides a prospect through the home-buying transaction. They are at the buyer’s disposal for any questions or concerns. They guide and walk the prospective buyer through the entire process.

Here are a few perks of hiring a Buyer’s Agent:

  1. Finding your home: Your agent will take all of your “must-have’s” and “will not’s” into consideration. You can tell them exactly what you want in your future home. They’ll seek out the homes you’ll most desire and can afford. They will schedule appointments for you to tour these particular homes; which best suit your needs and desires. They’ll research the neighborhoods and provide you with all the information you’ll need to make an educated decision concerning your future residence. Pretty important, right? We are talking about the one place you’ll be spending most of your time.
  2. Offer Negotiation: Your Buyer’s Agent will assist you in bargaining the right price. They’ll negotiate on your behalf and write up the contracts for you. This is extremely important since they can save you heaps of money and help you avoid those money-pits that can financially ruin your future.
  3. Networks: They’ll have a network of professionals to refer you to. Think mortgage brokers, home inspectors, attorneys, and movers. Having the right contacts can speed up the process. Trust me, you don’t want a real estate transaction to drag!
  4. Finder’s Fee: Typically, a home buyer doesn’t have to sweat the expense of hiring a Buyer’s Agent. The home-seller pays the commission for both agents. Usually, the commission is split evenly between both realtors.

Both agents look out for the best interests of their clients. Whether you’re looking for a Listing Agent or a Buyer’s Agent, you can find one at Realtor.com. So, to keep it simple, let’s put it in an equation:

Listing Agent = Represents the Seller

Buyer’s Agent= Represents the Buyer

It doesn’t seem so confusing once you put it like that, now, does it? Whether you are looking to buy a home or build a home, we can help, contact us today.