What’s the Difference Between a “Listing Agent” and a “Selling Agent”?

Are you buying or selling a home? You’ll need to know the difference between a listing agent and a selling agent—they each represent different parties in the home buying process. Here’s what you should know when looking for a realtor in Maricopa County, AZ.

Selling agents, seller’s agents and listing agents

The difference between listing agents and selling agents is that listing agents work on behalf of the seller, while selling agents work on behalf of the buyer. They’re so named because they make the sale possible. To add to the confusion, “seller’s agent” is another term for a listing agent.

What’s more, a selling agent is referred to as a buyer’s agent until the contract is signed—then they’re referred to as a selling agent, since the property has sold.

Given all that confusing terminology, you might be tempted to skip working with an agent altogether! However, this is a great example of why it’s so important to have an agent—they’re able to navigate the quirks and pitfalls of the real estate industry, including strange jargon and mountains of technical paperwork.

How listing and selling agents are compensated

Another difference between the two types of agents is how they’re compensated. Here are some of the key distinctions:

  • Listing agents: Usually, the listing agent and the seller enter into an exclusive agreement for the listing agent to put the property up for sale and market appropriately. There are some variations (flat fees for listing the property but not doing anything else, or an “open” listing where multiple agents are working on a property). The seller enters into an exclusive agreement with the listing agent’s company, which entitles the brokerage firm and the agent to share a commission.
  • Selling agents: Selling agents work in cooperation with listing agents and their brokers. When a property is sold, the listing broker also shares part of the commission with the selling agent. This is to compensate them for finding a buyer who put in a successful offer.
  • Acting as both listing and selling agent: Sometimes agents act as both listing and selling agents, or agents at the same brokerage firm represent both buyer and seller. The rules about whether a single agent can represent both buyer and seller vary by state, but typically agents from the same brokerage firm can do so without issue. The former is referred to as a “transaction agent,” and is required to remain neutral throughout the process.

To make sure that your realtor is trustworthy, look for someone who belongs to the state real estate association and other professional organizations. They’re required to adhere to a specific code of ethics, which includes ensuring that your agent won’t violate their fiduciary duties to you.

If you’re buying or selling your home, work with a trusted real estate agency in Maricopa County, AZ. Ellen White Real Estate is a certified realtor who can help match you with the property of your dreams. Reach out to us today to get started.

Leave a Comment