Buyer vs. Seller’s Agent: How Do They Compare?
Written By: Ashley Sutphin
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
Sometimes we dont focus on distinguishing between a buyers agent and a sellers agent, but understanding the differences is important when youre choosing someone to work with. The terminology can also get a bit confusing.
A buyers agent is also called a selling agent because they help buyers find properties. A sellers agent is referred to a listing agent.
For purposes of comparing the two, well call them a buyer and sellers agent, because this references who they work for. A buyers agent represents buyers, and a sellers agent represents sellers.
If youre weighing whether or not you need an agent, when it comes to selling a home you can do it as an owner, but unless youre a great marketer and negotiator, you might not do as well as you could with a sellers agent. As a buyer, it can be even more important to have an agent representing you. Some sellers agents wont accept offers from buyers directly.
Beyond working out the terminology, the following are some differences between the two.
When youre selling a home and you hire an agent, you usually have an exclusive representation listing. Thats an agreement between your agent and you as the seller. Then, once you sign this agreement, only the listing agent is entitled to receive a commission when your home sells. More specifically, the brokerage the sellers agent works for receives a commission and of that, the agent gets a percentage.
A buyers agent is compensated when they work with the sellers brokerage and theres a deal for their clients to buy a home.
Representing Different Interests
The primary difference between a buyer and a sellers agent is that theyre representing different interests. The buyers agent wants to make sure their client is getting the lowest possible price and most favorable deal when they decide to purchase a home. The sellers agent wants to make sure their client gets the most money for their home.
In some cases, the sellers agent can also represent the buyer, but this is illegal in some states.
Can An Agent Be Both?
Theres no reason an agent cant sometimes work for sellers and others for buyers. In fact, many agents do this. On the other hand, some agents find they just like dealing with one side of the transaction better, so they may specialize.
A sellers agents responsibilities can include:
A sellers agent will see a property and do an initial walkthrough. During this time they might provide tips on how the seller can make the home more appealing to potential buyers.
The sellers agent might provide referrals for professionals who can make needed updates to a home, and they can help a seller stage the property.
Sellers agents work on marketing, which can include having professional photos taken.
Sellers agents work with the homeowner to price their home accordingly. There has to be a balance between getting the highest possible price and selling the property in a reasonable amount of time.
Other things sellers agents do include hosting tours and open houses, negotiating issues including inspection issues with the buyers agent, and helping with the closing process.
A buyers agents responsibilities include:
Helping buyers with the preapproval process if theyre getting a mortgage loan.
Finding properties they think will meet the criteria of their clients.
Taking buyers on appointments to view potential properties.
Helping buyers understand the value of a home as they work toward making an offer.
Coordination of communication between the mortgage lender, seller, buyer, and title officer.
Helping with the closing process.
Overall, while their roles are different, a buyer and a sellers agent have the same overall objectives. They want to represent their clients to the best of their ability and negotiate successful deals to closi
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