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July 25th, 2022 at 11:00 am

Listing agent vs selling agent: What’s the difference?

Real estate transactions, in some ways, can make you feel like a big Hollywood star. There are people taking pictures of your house. You may have staging that you need to do. People ask you about how you live and what your area is like. Yes, the best agents know how to give their clients the celebrity treatment.

But when it comes to choosing agents and understanding their different roles and responsibilities, what’s the difference between a listing agent and a selling agent?

Simply put, a listing agent (also called a sellers agent) helps clients put their properties on the market to be bought by a potential buyer. Selling agents (also called buyers agent), help clients who are looking to purchase a home. However, there’s a lot more to what each real estate agent does than just that. 

To clear things up, let’s take a look at listing agent vs. selling agent. 

What is a listing agent?

So you want to sell your house? What steps should you take to facilitate this real estate sale process? While you could go the DIY route by putting up flyers in your local church bulletin and hosting a literal yard sale, you’re likely going to have an easier time and better results by working with a qualified listing agent.

A good listing agent will lead to a less stressful selling process and will likely help increase quality offers from prospective buyers for your home. This real estate professional achieves these goals in a number of ways:

At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, we know that choosing the right agent is key to having the best home selling experience. Whether it’s setting up an asking price or navigating through closing costs real estate, we’ve compiled some questions you should be asking when determining the best agent for you.

What is a selling agent?

So you want to buy a house? Much like our hypothetical seller from earlier, you can opt for the DIY route and just drive around the area you want to live looking for “For Sale” signs, but you’ll probably have more success working with an agent. In this case, buyers will want to opt for a selling agent (the buying/selling terminology can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the term).

What can you expect from your selling agent? Again, the best agents will be responsible for many different things:

Just like with a listing agent, choosing the best selling agent comes down to asking the right questions. Take a look at our suggested list to make sure you know what to ask.

How do agents get paid?

Following basic logic, you might assume that the seller pays the listing agent and the buyer pays the selling agent. While that makes sense on the face of things, it’s not how the system works. Instead, the seller pays both agents.

This is because agents don’t get paid directly. Instead, they receive a commission, which is a percentage of the total sale. These days, commissions tend to be anywhere between 4% and 6% of the sale price, with different agents charging different commissions. Not all of this commission is likely to go to one person, though. Instead, it will be split between:

If you work with an independent agent, then none of the commission will go to a larger brokerage. If either the buyer or the seller works without an agent, then there will be no split commission. Then there’s the case where the listing agent is also the selling agent and the entire commission goes to them. This is called a dual agent.

What is a dual agent?

In some circumstances, the same agent can work for both the seller and the buyer. In this situation, that agent would be considered a dual agent.

The main concern with a dual agent is that there may be a conflict of interest involved in representing both buyers and sellers. This is a large enough concern that some states have deemed it illegal to act as a dual agent. States where this practice is illegal include:

If you decide to work with an agent serving both roles, you must choose someone worthy of the trust you’re placing in them. If you can find someone trusted by both sellers and buyers, there are some benefits to this scenario:

As you can see, dual agency scenarios, while in some ways simplifying the process, can also cause certain complications. It still may be a preferable option for some, but you’ll want to consider both its positives and its negatives before entering into a dual agency agreement.

Find your new partner in real estate with California Properties

No matter if you’re looking for a listing agent or selling agent, you want to make sure you have the best agent. At California Properties, our agents look out for you to make sure you have the smoothest possible transaction. If you’re also wondering, “what is a fixed rate mortgage,” we’ve got you covered! Working with an agent can be a lengthy relationship and it should be one built on trust. We’re proud to show you why you should trust us.

Sources: US News, US News, US News, SF Gate, SF Gate

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