What's The Difference Between A Buyer's Agent And A Listing Agent

Real Estate Agent with Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 BRE# 01494165


What's The Difference Between A Buyer's

Agent And A Listing Agent



Buyer’s Agent, Listing Agent, what’s the difference? Well, nothing and everything! Sometimes buyers will write offers with the Listing agent and use them as their own, this can be a mistake. While certainly we assume that the listing agent is honest and trying to be fair to both parties, their first duty is to the seller. Without individual representation, but sides of the transaction lose possible advantages in both price and terms.

Listing Agent

A Listing Agent has a contract with the seller to sell their property. They negotiate a fee, called a commission, and then offer some portion of that to the Buyer’s Agent. The Listing Agent has a fiduciary duty to their seller and even if they do write the offer for the buyer, they are still obligated to represent the seller’s interests first and foremost.

The Listing Agent is responsible for marketing the property, presenting the property and handling the seller’s side of the transaction. Often this involves an Internet presence and a good Listing Agent knows how to leverage the online tools to ensure the best exposure for the property. Once the parties enter into a contract, they negotiate on the seller’s behalf and shepherd that side of the transaction to the close.

Buyer’s Agent

The Buyer’s Agent represents the buyer in the real estate transaction. The parties sign a Buyer-Broker agreement which authorizes the agent to negotiate in the buyer’s interest. While they are paid through the negotiated commission from the seller, they are the buyer’s representative and work for their best advantage. The Buyer’s Agent will help the buyer write the purchase offer, negotiate repairs and other adjustments during the transaction, and manage the buyer’s side of the transaction until the close.

Real estate agents often have times when they represent either a seller or a buyer. The goal of each is to make sure their client gets the best possible sales price and terms. They are not adversaries, but they have loyalty to their own clients. The goal of all parties is to reach the close and the Buyer’s Agent and Listing Agent each have their own roles to play. By hiring experienced agents, both buyer and seller can feel that they got the best possible outcome and successful transaction. 


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Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Karen, I feel that so many buyers just don't understand that they really want/need their own representation. In a hot sellers market buyers feel they can leverage the listing agent because they know the listing agent will be paid more working both sides of the transaction. 

Jul 17, 2016 09:12 AM #1
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

This is a great explanation of the differences and similarities in the listing and buyers agents.  We do the same things but on the other side of the table.  The best representation is sole where the interests of the agent are not divided, but there are many states, including Iowa, that still allow consensual dual agency.  Thank you for the post.

Jul 17, 2016 10:37 AM #2
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Hi Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner 

Thanks for an interesting and enlightening post about the differences between a Listing Agent and a Buyers Agent!

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Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner

Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395
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