Understanding the Role of a Listing Agent
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, it’s helpful to understand which players are involved. A listing agent is a licensed real estate agent representing the seller in a transaction. They play an impactful role by helping the seller list their home and navigate the sales process.
As a buyer, you should also have a licensed real estate agent. Your agent is responsible for representing your needs—this includes asking the right questions during your home search, working with you to make an offer, and helping you through the home inspection.
Here are a few things you’ll want to know about listing agents as you begin your home-buying process.
A listing agent represents the seller of a home
Real estate agents have a fiduciary duty to their clients. A fiduciary duty is a commitment to act in the best interests of another person or entity. In the case of listing agents, the fiduciary responsibility is to the seller, while a buyer’s agent is committed to the buyer.
Some states allow dual agency, meaning that an agent can represent both the buyer and the seller. But whether or not it’s legal, it’s best for both sides to have representation to avoid a conflict of interest. A dual agent could struggle, for example, in trying to get both the buyer and the seller the best price.
Buyers should avoid calling listing agents to see a property
Even if you already have an agent, you might find yourself calling a listing agent to see a home–for example, if you call the number on a home that interests you. It’s better to contact your agent about properties you want to see.
By doing this, you can avoid agent interference and protect your interests. For example, in states where dual agency is legal, a listing agent might expect to have your business after showing you a property. If you submit an offer through your existing agent instead, you may hurt your chances of getting your offer accepted.
Sellers should consider using a listing agent to avoid risk
If you’re a proactive person, you might feel tempted to sell your home without an agent. Because agents charge fees, this could save you money. But in most cases, it’s best to work with a listing agent. Listing agents help market your home, set the right price, and negotiate your terms. They also reduce your risk by ensuring that all necessary information gets disclosed. Failing to disclose information based on your state's regulations could result in a lawsuit.
Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or simply haven’t bought a home in a few years, there can be a lot to understand about the home buying process. But from making your down payment to navigating first-time homebuyer loans, we’re here to help. You can use this home buying checklist to guide you.
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