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What Is A Listing Agent And What Can The Right One Do For You?

6-Minute Read
Published on February 16, 2022
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Buying a home is a big investment – and you have the opportunity to cash in on that investment when you sell your home. But a lot goes into selling a house, more than you may think initially. If you’re considering selling, you’ll want to work with a listing agent to help you market your home, deal with potential buyers, work through paperwork and close on the home.

In this article, we’ll look at who listing agents are and how they differ from buyer’s agents. You’ll also learn why you might work with one to make the home selling process significantly smoother – and hopefully get a great return on your investment.

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What Is A Listing Agent?

A listing agent is a real estate professional who represents the seller in a real estate transaction. The listing agent, or seller’s agent, lists the home for sale and works on the seller’s behalf to sell the home at a price and under terms that are best for their client.

Listing Agent Vs. Buyer’s Agent

In most real estate transactions, there are two types of agents: a listing agent and a buyer’s agent. Listing agents help sellers price, stage and market their property, show it off to prospective buyers and negotiate offers. A buyer’s agent represents the interests of the home buyer in a real estate transaction, and works to help them find their new home and negotiate a fair price.

What Is Dual Agency?

In some instances, a buyer and seller may use the same agent. However, this practice, known as dual agency, is frowned upon (and illegal in some states) because it can become a conflict of interest. If an agent does work with both buyer and seller, they should not work in the interest of either party; instead, they should focus on moving the transaction forward, which can be difficult to do.

Listing Agent Vs. Selling Agent Vs. Seller’s Agent

Some sources use the term “selling agent” as a synonym for a buyer’s agent. However, a selling agent is a real estate professional who is working on behalf of the seller. Therefore, a listing agent, selling agent and seller’s agent all refer to the agent representing the seller, not the buyer, in a real estate transaction.

What Are The Benefits Of Working With A Listing Agent?

Selling a home can be stressful, especially for first-time sellers. A listing agent can help by taking on some of the burden and providing the information and resources needed to help sellers make informed decisions. Let’s look at a few tasks the listing agent will typically perform throughout the process of selling your home.

  • Provide professional consultation: A listing agent can help prepare you for the process by walking you through each step and telling you what to expect along the way.
  • Determine an asking price for the home: Setting a competitive price ensures your home will sell for the highest price possible as quickly as possible. Price too high, and your home may stay on the market longer. Price too low, and you could miss out on higher profits. A listing agent will do a comparative market analysis (CMA) of your home to find the best price based on your home’s square footage, age, location and features.
  • Market and sell your home: Your listing agent will list your home on the multiple listing service, or MLS, which is an online home-selling database that buyer’s agents use to find homes for sale for their clients. Your listing agent may also make staging recommendations and hire a photographer to best show off your home’s functionality and unique features.
  • Schedule showings: When a buyer finds a home they love, they or their agent will coordinate a showing with your listing agent. Your agent may also host open houses, which are designated times that potential buyers can walk through the home without an appointment. The listing agent may also be present during the showing to answer questions about the property.
  • Communicate and negotiate with buyers and their agents on your behalf: Communication is key when buying a home to cut down on stress and misunderstandings. Delayed or missed responses can even deter a potential buyer’s interest in the home. A listing agent takes care of this important job, staying in touch with interested buyers and their agents, fielding questions throughout the entire process, handling paperwork and negotiating the final sale price and terms of the sale with your interests in mind.
  • Recommend other professionals: Seasoned listing agents may come with a plethora of professionals they’ve worked with over the years who can make the selling process smoother. Such professionals include real estate attorneys, inspectors, stagers and those who specialize in home improvement.

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Who Pays A Listing Agent?

Real estate agents typically make money through commissions. A commission is a certain percentage taken from the proceeds of the sale. The percentage of a real estate commission is usually around 6% of the final sale price (unless otherwise specified in the contract) and split between the buyer’s agent and listing agent.

Since the money is coming from the proceeds, the seller technically is the one paying for both the listing agent and buyer’s agent. However, the proceeds are paid for by the buyer. When figuring out your listing agent’s pay, ask questions – and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Just remember negotiations are only available between the listing agent and the seller.

How To Find The Right Listing Agent

You’ll want to make sure your agent or REALTOR® is licensed and has experience, references and a professional website where you can learn more about them and their qualifications and professional successes. Remember that most real estate agents work with buyers and sellers, but some may specialize in one or the other.

Once you find a few agents through referrals or online research, speak with them in person to ensure they meet your professional needs and match your personality. Questions to ask real estate agents during an interview include:

  • Is this your full-time job?
  • How long have you worked in real estate?
  • What type of experience do you have selling homes?
  • How many homes did you sell last year?
  • What’s the best way to communicate with you, and how long does it typically take you to respond?
  • What hours do you typically work?
  • How do you plan on marketing my home?
  • Why should I choose you as my listing agent?
  • Do you have recommendations or reviews from previous clients?

Can You End A Contract With A Listing Agent?

When you sign a contract with a listing agent, you’re agreeing to work with them exclusively for at least 90 days. If, after those 90 days, your listing hasn’t been getting enough traction, you may want to reconsider extending the contract and, instead, work with a new agent to sell your home.

Disadvantages Of Ending A Contract With Your Listing Agent

Switching agents could set you back as you may have to repeat the process of searching for a new agent, interviewing potential candidates and providing them all of the necessary information to sell your home.

You may also have to give your new listing agent time to complete their own comparative market analysis and create a new listing for your home. That means your home will be on the market longer, which may raise a few eyebrows from potential buyers.

Advantages Of Ending A Contract With Your Listing Agent

You could benefit from taking your property off the market for a period of time and relisting it, a strategy used by sharp agents to get your listing back at the top of multiple listing service (MLS) searches. Keep in mind, though, a record will exist of the last time it was on the market, so this marketing tactic may not always work.

The Bottom Line

Listing agents, like other real estate agents, are certified professionals in the industry and have the training, resources and pull to make your home selling process significantly smoother. They may even help you get a great return on your investment.

Looking for an expert REALTOR® to help you sell your home? Rocket Homes℠ can help. We’ll match you with experienced local professionals who come highly rated and have demonstrated success in your real estate markets.

Looking for a real estate agent?

Visit Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC to get connected with an experienced agent in your area.

Find an Agent
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Lauren Nowacki

Lauren Nowacki is a staff writer specializing in personal finance, homeownership and the mortgage industry. She has a B.A. in Communications and has worked as a writer and editor for various publications in Philadelphia, Chicago and Metro Detroit.