What does a Listing Agent Do to Earn his Commission??

Real Estate Agent with LocateHomes.com

This is the first of three posts inspired by Brian Larson's post...The Uninteresting Tale of Salesman Steve?   

In his post Brian does an excellent job outlining what a buyer's agent brings (or should bring)  to a real estate transaction. Secifically:

Value the broker brings to the buyer: I think a real estate broker has great value   to bring to a buyer in a transaction. I see the value as breaking into three phases:

  1. Location advice: I can't imagine anyone better than a real estate broker to help me find the right property, based on my needs. The best ones have a detailed knowledge and understanding of human psychology and the real estate market.
  2. Negotiation advice: Market understanding and negotiation skills are essential to a successful contract negotiation.
  3. Closing facilitation: Brokers know better than most the problems that can crop up between acceptance of a purchase agreement and closing - title problems, financing problems, etc. Resolving these problems is essential to getting the transaction wrapped up.


Brian's post got me to wondering what value a listing agent bring to a seller in a transaction.

It seems to me that there are three items here as well

•1)      Marketing advice including access to the mls

•2)      Negotiation advice including pricing advice

•3)      Closing facilitation


My question is this.......am I missing something?   What do you as a listing agent bring to the table to justify your commission? Is there anything else that dosen't fit into one of the above three categories. And while we are at it, Is there anything a buyers broker does or should do that Brian missed?

I will be following this with two more posts, inspired by Brian Larson; one titled Commission Discounts or Buyer Rebates and the other Risk vs Reward; How can Real Estate agents limit one and maximize the other.

Comments (2)

Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Hi Ron,

You asked what does a listing agent do besides those 3 things you listed.  What about showing the property?  Consider a home that is not owner occupied.  An agent needs to notify and coordinate things with tenants, be there to let buyers and their agents through, and make sure the house is locked up again.  The seller's agent needs to communicate things to the seller and tenants before and during the transaction.  Emotions can get heated, and an intermediate can be a very good thing.  Also consider a vacant home, and an owner that lives "away".  Who's going to do the showings?  Granted, a homeowner/occupant with good people skills can indeed successfully sell their own home, but what about a cranky unfriendly seller?  They need all the help they can get.

My worst seller's agent transaction ever:  absentee woman homeowner, with difficulty speaking and reading English, prone to anxiety attacks, no tech skills; tenants who were not paying the rent; other tenants who skipped out with no notice; a property manager who spoke ill of the owner to the tenants and prospective buyers; buyers who were not very nice; a leaky roof and other maintenance issues.  Thankfully the buyers agent was a blessing and we had a successful transaction.  That woman would never have been able to handle it on her own without making a big mess.  That was a commission well deserved.



Nov 23, 2007 07:07 AM
Mike Norvell Sr
Morris Williams Realty - Leesburg, FL
Norvell Consulting Group

As a listing agent, and a buying agent, I see both sides. Ron, I currently work with investors buying properties for them, and we get the listing or property management on the back end. I have declined working with financing buyers for months now due to the failure rates, I just can't justify my time.

As a listing agent, I get the listings, and place them on the MLS. I set up showings, and I do generic ads for the pile of listings I have. Most of mine are in foreclosure, or are needing to sell. So even properly priced homes are sitting, waiting, and even homes priced under the market are sitting. The listing agent holds the contract that says they get paid, thats good enough for me..We have assistants in our office, so I really don't do that much but go get more listings and find more deals for investors...Isn't that enough of a reason to get paid???

Dec 27, 2007 12:00 AM