The real estate world can be filled with confusing terms and phrases – buyer brokers, selling agents, listing agents, salespersons, etc. Aren’t they all the same? What difference does it make? Why do I even need a real estate office to buy or sell a home? The process may seem simple at first look but the legal details that either buying or selling a home involve can easily overwhelm the buyer or seller and send the real estate deal down the drain. Here is where your real estate agent will be your advocate and walk you through the details of the process.
What is a Buyer Broker, Buyer’s Agent, or Selling Agent?
A Buyer Broker Representative, Buyer’s Agent, or Selling Agent represents the party purchasing the home. They are the buyer’s advocate in the purchasing process. An Accredited Buyer Broker Representative (ABR) has received training from the National Association of Realtors in buyer representation, buyer services, offers and negotiations, client and customer relationships, duties, and responsibilities, and more. ABR’s receive ongoing updates and training that help them stay on top of the current real estate trends, therefore they are better equipped to help the buyer navigate even the toughest of issues. A Buyer’s Agent may be an ABR but does not have to be to represent a buyer in a real estate transaction. Whether the agent is ABR designated or not, the Buyer Agent has a wealth of knowledge, access to the MLS, and always works towards representing the buyer’s best interest. They will talk with you about your needs, locate the homes that best suit those needs, make appointments for you to see those homes, write the Purchase and Sale Contract, and help you through all details of the closing. Once a signed Purchase and Sale Contract has been achieved your Buyer Agent now becomes your Selling Agent. They are no longer looking for a home for you to purchase, they are selling you a home. Selling Agent and Buyer Agent are often used interchangeably but their main purpose is to advocate for the buyer from locating the perfect home to the final signatures at the closing. The commission from the sale of a home is usually shared equally between the Selling Agent and the Listing Agent and is paid by the seller of the home.
What is a Listing Agent?
A Listing Agent is a Broker or Salesperson who represents the party selling the home. They are the seller’s advocate in the selling process. The Listing Agent will help you market and sell your home based on the most current comparable sales in your neighborhood. After evaluating the local housing market trends, the Listing Agent will guide you in setting a competitive price for your home. Arranging professional photos, listing your home on the MLS, advertising your home in local newspapers, holding open houses, and evaluating potential buyers, are all tasks the Listing Agent may engage in. Once a buyer is located and an offer is received, the Listing Agent walks the seller through all the details of the negotiations – helping you understand the Purchase and Sale Contract, Contingencies, recommending a lawyer, and being there with you at the closing. If there is a separate Selling Agent, the Listing Agent will work with the Selling Agent as the seller’s advocate to be sure the sale goes smoothly, and the seller receives the best deal possible. Listing Agents will typically charge a 5 – 10% commission depending on the type of sale (home vs. land), and if the Selling Agent is from the same Real Estate Office. The commission from the sale of a home is usually shared equally between the Listing Agent and the Selling Agent.
Broker vs. Salesperson
Both Brokers and Salespersons are licensed with the State Real Estate Commission. A Broker can work independently, can own their own real estate office or firm, can employ other agents and is required to complete 24 hours of Continuing Education every two years. A Salesperson must work under a licensed Broker and is required to complete 20 hours of Continuing Education every two years. Both a Broker and Salesperson must take a Pre-licensing course, a licensing exam, and register with their state’s Real Estate Commission. In order to sell real estate, the Broker or Salesperson must become a member of their state and local Realtor Board, join the MLS, and adhere to the National Association of Realtor’s Code of Ethics. Both Brokers and Salespersons have a vast knowledge of the local real estate market, trends in the area, and the skills necessary to help you buy or sell a home.