Selling a home isn’t something most people are experts at, so when it’s time for you to move, hiring a real estate agent is a step most sellers find necessary.
A listing or seller’s agent will represent your interests when looking for a buyer. Though you don’t have to work with a listing agent if you don’t want to, they will make selling your home more manageable, and you should sell for more.
A listing agent plays the exact opposite role of a buyer’s agent.
What are listing agents?
Listing or seller’s agents will list your home for sale and represent your interests in the transaction. A seller’s agent does many things to ensure the homeowner gets the best price for their property. Among other things, the listing agent will:
- Help you decide if selling now is the best option
- Advise on how to maximize the selling price
- Help in staging the property
- Advise on the right selling price
- List your property on multiple listing services
- Market the home
- Deal with negotiations
How a seller’s agent is paid
Seller’s agents are typically paid through commission when the home is sold. Your real estate agent isn’t going to earn until your home closes, so they have the incentive to work hard on your sale.
You will have to pay a REALTOR® commission when you sell your home. This is typically around 5-6% of the sale price, though this doesn’t all go to your agent. Half of the commission goes to the seller’s agency or brokerage, with the other half going to the buyer’s brokerage.
Brokers in those agencies will take part of the commission, paying the rest to the agents involved in the transaction. The agent marketing your home will also have other expenses they need to pay, even if they have a long gap between home sales.
Paying commission motivates your agent to help sell your home for the best price.
Avoid dual agency
While it is the seller’s agent’s job to work in the home’s owner’s best interests, there are some situations where this isn’t the case. A dual agency agreement means the agent works for both the seller and the buyer.
Though the agent might like this arrangement, as it gives them twice the earnings, it isn’t necessarily great for the seller. Often it does mean the agent will charge a lower commission to the seller, and the process could move more quickly, but it does mean a conflict of interest.
As the buyer and the seller have opposing goals, how can one agent fairly represent both interests simultaneously? For these reasons, dual agencies aren’t allowed in some states.
Does the seller’s agent also represent their broker?
While it is the seller’s agent’s job to represent their client’s interests, they also represent their real estate broker. Real estate agents have to work with a broker who oversees the transaction. Brokers have more training and are licensed to allow them to complete real estate transactions.
Though you might only think you are working with your seller’s agent to find a buyer for your home, you are also working with a broker. The agent will deal with the marketing of your home, but the broker will be responsible for ensuring the money changes hands correctly and that your financial interests are protected.
Brokers have to be licensed agents as well. You could work with a broker to sell your home, and they could deal with the entire process themselves. Usually, brokers have years of experience working as agents before they become a broker.
Comparing seller’s and buyer’s agents
As the names suggest, the seller’s agent helps sell the home, and the buyer’s agent helps the buyer make a purchase. They have similar responsibilities on opposite sides of a real estate transaction.
The seller’s agent helps the owner prepare the property for sale. The buyer’s agent will help their client clarify their most important requirements and show them suitable homes where the buyer wants to live.
The buyer’s agent helps when their client is shown a home, they will advise on the offer they should make and assist in negotiations. When the purchase is agreed upon, they will help put together the contract and advise on necessary contingencies.
Somewhat confusingly, buyer’s agents can sometimes be called selling agents. This is because they brought the buyer to the home sale, leading to it selling. Though a selling agent and a seller’s agent are easy to mix up, they are very different.
Thanks for explaining the work of a seller’s agent clearly and how they help us and comparison between seller’s agents and buyer’s agent.