What's the Difference Between a Seller’s Agent and a Buyer’s Agent?

Different people interpret the phrase “real estate agent” differently. To most people, a real estate agent is any person who acts as an intermediary between a seller and a buyer of a real property like a home. In other words, they are persons who work with and for sellers to find buyers and also can work with/for buyers to find sellers. Although these statements seem correct, there is a great difference between agents who deal with sellers only and those that deal with buyers only. The difference is based on their qualifications and tasks.

Whether you are selling or buying, ensure you aim at working with a person specialized only in that area and the one likely to deliver smart services beyond your expectations. This means if you are selling a home, work with an agent specialized at looking for potential buyers. Likewise, if your need is to buy a house, stick with a house searcher expert. 

What are the main differences between these two agents?

Before the process of buying or selling a home starts, it is best you realize that the final quality of the services delivered will be determined by the type of agent you hire. Customers have been hiring wrong people over time due to the lack of knowledge about the qualities they should look for based on their needs (whether buying or selling). The result is settling with the agent who does not meet the required standards. The following is an example will help you understand better. 

Imagine a situation where you want to sell a home, and you have three realtors you have to interview each with different areas of specification. Put in mind all the three are competent. 

  1. Agent 1 deals mainly with sellers.
  2. Agent 2 deals mainly with buyers.
  3. Agent 3 claims to be an expert in both buyers and sellers.

Of the three agents, who is the best for you and why?

Since your need is to sell, agent 1 is the one best for you because he/she mainly works with buyers, meaning he/she is much competent in that area than the other two. Agent 2 can never be the right person for you since he/she devotes most of his/her time dealing with the buyers. How about agent 3? This person is very competent. Imagine he/she can comfortably handle both the buyers and sellers. Why don’t you settle with 3? Although this is the case, according to your needs, this agent might not be as good as agent 1.  

Do you think agent 3 will have enough time for you as a seller considering the high number of buyers he/she has to show homes every day? The answer is no. That is the reason you should work with the realtor specialized only on the side of your needs and the one willing to give you much of his/her attention until the process ends. 

A good job is always rewarding. Good home sellers will always attract a number of potential buyers all the time. It is common for some of these sellers to have close buyer agents who they can refer business to while in this situation. Unlike buyer’s agents, it is hard for a seller’s agent who respect his/her specialization to leave his or her activities so he/she can show homes to the buyers who call. I believe sellers who once faced the challenge of finding their agents without success when they were selling their homes are aware of what I am saying. Some agents are so good to the extent that they must pick up the phone calls from the buyers and then assign them (buyers) other agents specialized in that field. This action benefits everybody. Agents get their referral commissions and also all clients’ needs are satisfied.

Open house is another very interesting service that surrounds buyer’s agents and listing agents. These services do not much benefit the seller, but they can highly benefit a buyer’s agent who deals with them through creating additional potential buyers to do business with later. In addition, it is not common to see a good listing agent who has respect for his/her work looking for ways to create buyers to do business with. 

Some Differences Based on Their Roles

The Qualifications of a Seller’s Agent

Value Estimators

The right seller’s agent should be able to estimate the value of the property to be sold. The reason the owner uses this agent is because he/she is confident this agent understands the market value much well due to his/her experience in home selling. Overpricing is one of the main factors that make houses take an extended period of time before getting a potential buyer. Seller’s agents who understand their work properly will not waste their time working with the seller who is pricing his/her home excessively high than its value. Their goal is to work with realistic and understanding seller and in businesses where sales are moving fast.

However, this is not the case with buyer’s agents. This is why it is advisable for the homeowners to work with the right agents who are capable of valuing properties correctly. It is very unfortunate for a homeowner to waste a lot of time before getting a potential buyer due to overpricing, and eventually sell the home at very low price.  

Ability to Market

Marketing is the primary factor that determines a commodity price and how fast it will sell. Successful listing agents understand the best marketing techniques to use, and when and where to use them. These skills develop over time, and only the best of the best agents master them. We live in the world of change and where new ways of marketing evolve every day while the old ones cease to operate. A few years ago, using ads in newspapers was considered the most fashionable way of marketing. Today things have changed, and the competition is stiff. Listing agents have to look for the right ways to spread the word to as many buyers as possible. The most common way today involves using websites, online marketing and thinking outside the box. This way your home will not only sell quickly but fetch a good price.

A Website to Market

Nowadays, websites have become a necessity for any business. A good website is one of the main things that a selling agent should have. The agent should also ensure that the website is not only user-friendly but should have useful information. Search engine optimization is another consideration. Imagine having a thousand websites but none of them seems to appear on the internet. It is best for the listing agents to ensure they fuel their website with lots of fresh content in order to rank highly on the web and get a lot of visitors from online searches.

Real Estate Photos

Describing a commodity for sale is not enough without its picture. Potential buyers would like to see how the said home looks. However, the manner in which the picture is taken and put in the listing matters a lot. A particular home might be everything a buyer was looking for, but its low resolution can give a wrong impression, making him/her change his/her mind. A listing agent understands that it is always best to hire an expert to help him/her take the picture in the best angles possible and resolution before posting them online. Ensure you do some research on a number of listing agents based on their previous marketing photos. The more appealing they are, the higher the chances of attracting buyers. 

Honesty 

Selling a home is one of the most emotional and difficult decisions to make. Imagine this is the place that you call home, took a lot of time to develop and improve, and have lived happily with your family. A good listing agent is the one who is there for you during this difficult time to ensure that you do not experience any problems during the selling process. He/she should be open to you on anything that you require to do. For example, he/she should help you value the home and ensure you do not overprice it as this action may slow the whole process. Nothing is impressing as having peace of mind when selling your home and moving to live in another place as a happy person. 

Modes of Feedback 

During the selling process, your listing agent should generate feedback so that you are aware what buyer’s agents are saying about your home. This action is very beneficial as it will help you know how various buyers are feeling about your house. A skilled and experienced seller’s agent will put this consideration on top of the most important ingredients until the home sale process is over.

The Qualifications of a Buyer’s Agent

Should Know the Town well

How can a person help you find a place to live while on the contrary they do understand that town or your new localities well enough? A good buyer’s agent should have a good understanding of different localities and how they differ with one another. This is your new place and a new way of living and where you are going to spend your life with your family. A skilled buyer’s agent will ensure you have a lot of necessary and accurate information as possible about the area.

Knowledge about the Value of Various Properties

On top of understanding different town well, a buyer’s agent who has worked with a number of home buyers before should be able to calculate the value of different properties. These values may depend on commodities a particular home contains such as the number of bedrooms, kitchen, bathrooms, school district, and of course home location. The agent who understands his/her work is also capable of calculating and valuing the home worth based on its properties and location. 

Negotiation

You, as the buyer, together with your agent have finally found the home that pleases you. An experienced agent should have good negotiation skills. You are using him/her not only for him/her to help you find a home of your choice, but also find it at fair costs and terms and conditions. Through his/her negotiation skills, a good agent should ensure you get what you want and in the best way possible.

There are many skills, qualifications, and responsibilities that both buyer’s agents and seller’s agent share. For instant, how can a real estate agent work with a seller or a buyer if they do not know how to calculate the market value? Market value calculation is among the main things that should be at their figure tips. If you are a real estate agent and this simple task is beyond your reach, then you are in the wrong profession. 

In addition, negotiation skills and how one connects words are among the traits that a good real estate should possess. The whole home process is not a joke and involves different stages, conditions, agreements, and transactions that require a lot of negotiation. Negotiation is among the main facets of this process, and it is through good negotiations that both parties will be contented. 

Real estate agents are also supposed to be there for their clients. They have to show responsibility, loyalty, respect, and confidentiality to their client always. Most of them may forget about these minor things and only put emphasis on their interests and the depth of their pockets. If you are a client and you discover unpleasant traits maybe during the interview, eliminate this agent(s) without blinking. 

Which Agent is the right for you, Seller’s agent or Buyer’s agent?

Your right agent will depend on your needs. If you are a home buyer, a buyer’s agent will be the best for you. Most likely, your best suited agent will have vast experience due to working with many buyers in the past. It is best to ensure your chosen agent has the necessary information about the localities and towns of your choice. Your buyer’s agent should also have other diverging skills like the ability to ask suitable questions based on the location.

Buying a condominium is another option that will require a lot of considerations. A skilled buyer agent understands the many protocols present in this action and will be able to weigh them from various bearings. An ordinary agent will not see the different considerations between a condominium and a single family home.

If you are a home seller, a seller’s agent is the one for you. Please do not hire a buyer’s agent while in this position. The agent may not serve you to your expectations, since he she may be busy showing home to his/her customers (buyers) when you need him/her the most

Ensure you always choose the right real estate agent depending on needs (either buying or selling a home). It is also advisable to ask your agent the amount of business they derive from each. I believe by now you understand how beneficial it is to work with a buyer’s agent if you are buying a home or with a seller’s one if you are selling.  

6 Responses to "What's the Difference Between a Seller’s Agent and a Buyer’s Agent?"

Rose Henderson wrote: I've always wondered what the difference was between these. I knew one worked buyers and one with seller, but I figured they could be interchangeable. I guess not so much. Although you say some of them claim they can do both. That' really interesting that only some of them do that though.

Posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 1:10pm.

Lilly Sedrick wrote: It is really comforting to know that there are agents there to help you whether you are buying or selling your house. This is definitely not something that I would want to do on my own. I had no idea that there were so many differences between these different types of agents. It is really important to take the time to figure out which type of agent will be able to best help you with your needs.

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2015 at 5:46pm.

McKayla Strauss wrote: It makes sense that a specialized buyer or seller agent would be a better option for you than one that covers both things. One of my friends is actually looking to buy a home right now, and has been trying to find the right agent to hire to help them. I really hope they try to find someone that's specialized to fit their needs so that they can get through the process more quickly.

Posted on Friday, June 19th, 2015 at 3:05pm.

Olga Morozova wrote: That's interesting that you say agent 1 might be better than agent 3. I guess it depends on how much experience they have, because someone could claim to be an expert in both buying and selling, but really not be very competent. That's why it's important to do some background research and see if your agent really has the credentials you are looking for!

Posted on Tuesday, October 13th, 2015 at 11:01am.

Zach Thalman wrote: I didn't know that the seller's agent and a buyer's agent were different things. I honestly was thinking that all real estate agents did the same job of selling and buying homes. Well, this would certainly change things and have me start looking at a seller to see if there are any new homes in the area. I would like to move to a new location so my kids don't have to travel very far to get to school.

Posted on Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 at 2:42pm.

Anna Picket wrote: That's a good point that I'd want a real estate agent that has a lot of experience mainly with buyers in my case. We don't have a home to sell since we're looking for our first house. A buyer's agent that knows our town and stuff like that would be so helpful during this process. Thanks for the reminder of what our specific needs will be as we are shopping for our first house.

Posted on Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 at 12:44am.

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