What’s The Difference Between a Listing Agent and a Selling Agent

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Differences between a listing and selling agent

The real estate industry involves two crucial real estate professionals: listing and selling agents. These professionals have distinct responsibilities but aim to work together to ensure a home sells.

A listing agent (seller’s agent)is responsible for helping sellers list their properties for sale. On the other hand, a selling agent – also known as a Buyer’s Agent – works with potential buyers to help them find and purchase a property.

Keep reading to learn more about the critical differences between a listing agent and a selling agent and how they affect a home sale.

Listing Agent vs. Selling Agent

Two key players in the real estate industry are the listing agent and the selling agent. While both agents work towards facilitating property sales, each has specific responsibilities.

Listing Agent Responsibilities

The primary job of a listing agent is to help homeowners sell their property. The listing agreement outlines the process—it begins with a thorough housing market analysis to determine the appropriate listing price for the property. The listing agent will help the homeowners prepare the property for sale, list on the multiple listing service (MLS) and promoting it through various channels.

The agent will also be responsible for conducting open houses and private viewings, negotiating offers on behalf of the seller, and ultimately closing the sale.

Selling Agent Responsibilities

On the other hand, a selling agent, also known as a buyer’s agent, assists potential buyers with purchasing real estate that meets their specific preferences and budget. They help clients identify properties that fit their needs, coordinate visits and open houses, provide guidance on financing, and negotiate offers on behalf of the buyer.

A selling agent will also provide support throughout the transaction process, including the final stages, such as facilitating the sale’s closing.

Legal and Ethical Obligations

The listing and selling agents have legal and ethical obligations to their respective clients. For instance, listing agents have a fiduciary responsibility to look after the seller’s best interests.

This involves providing accurate and transparent information about the property and disclosing any known defects or issues that could affect the sale. Similarly, selling agents have a fiduciary responsibility to their prospective buyers, ensuring they make informed decisions that align with their interests.

Working Together to Close a Sale

Sometimes, the listing and selling agents may work together to close a sale. For example, a selling agent may receive a commission for bringing a buyer to a property listed by another agent in their brokerage. A listing agent may refer buyers to a selling agent specializing in finding properties in a specific area or with particular features.

Differences Between a Listing and Selling Agent

A listing agent helps a seller to list their property for sale. They assist in setting the sale price, staging the property, and marketing it to potential buyers. They also act as the primary point of contact for all inquiries and schedule property showings.

On the other hand, a selling agent (also known as a buyer’s agent) works with the buyer to find properties that fit their needs and budget, negotiates on their behalf, and assists with the closing process. A selling agent offers advice on the local real estate market and provides insight into comparable properties recently sold in the area.

Can you sell a house with a listing or selling agent?

Can You Sell A House With One or the Other?

These professionals get the most out of your sale while making the process smoother and less stressful.

While these roles may seem separate, there are times when they overlap. For example, in some cases, a listing agent may also bring in potential buyers and act as a selling agent. In such scenarios, the agent is called a “dual agent.” However, most experts advise clients to avoid dual agency, which is a conflict of interest.

Listing Agent vs. Selling Agent

Understanding the difference between a listing agent and a selling agent is essential. A listing agent is responsible for marketing your home and finding potential buyers, while a selling agent represents the buyer and helps them find a suitable property. Some agents may wear both hats, but clarifying their role is essential before agreeing.

The Agent’s Role in the Sales Process

A listing agent’s primary goal is to help you sell your home, and they have several key responsibilities to make that happen. These responsibilities include:

  • Pricing the property competitively based on market trends and conditions
  • Preparing the home for sale, including staging and repairs
  • Marketing the home through various channels such as MLS, online listings, and social media campaigns
  • Organizing and hosting open houses or virtual tours
  • Qualifying potential buyers and handling negotiations
  • Managing the closing process

Because they spend so much time on your house, listing agents usually have an exclusive right to sell your home outlined in the listing agreement.

Benefits of Having Both a Selling and Listing Agent

Here are some advantages of having both:

  1. Technical Expertise: Home buying or selling involves a lot of technical aspects, and having two agents means double the expertise. While the listing agent primarily deals with the paperwork and listing the property, the selling agent will focus on marketing and negotiations, ensuring that your interests are always protected.
  2. Complex Negotiation Process: With two agents, you have twice the negotiating power, which results in a better outcome for you as the buyer or seller.
  3. Multiple Perspectives: Having various perspectives is helpful regarding real estate transactions. The listing and selling agents may approach your marketing from different angles, providing you with a more well-rounded point of view and a broader range of options.
  4. Commission and Expertise: While both agents work towards the same goal, they have different levels of expertise and will receive other agent commissions. The listing agent usually gets a higher real estate commission since they are responsible for listing the property, but the selling agent will also receive a commission for closing the deal.
Can you sell a house without a listing or selling agent?

Can You Sell a House Without a Listing and Selling Agent

While most home sellers choose to hire a licensed real estate agent to help them through the process, it is possible to sell your home without one. There are advantages to selling your house without a realtor.

Selling your home directly to a real estate investor is a good option if you want to sell at a faster pace. Real estate investors have cash and seek new properties to add to their inventory. They quickly close the deal, often within a week or two, and take responsibility for any required repairs.

Selling a home without a realtor, also known as For Sale By Owner (FSBO), means you are in charge of everything a real estate agent would typically do, such as pricing, marketing, showings, negotiations, setting home value, and paperwork. Although it requires more work, it saves you thousands of commission fees.

Additionally, you have more control over the sale and make decisions that align with your priorities.

Research, Research, Research

Before listing your home:

  1. Research your local real estate market.
  2. Look at recent sales of similar homes in your area, paying particular attention to details such as square footage, lot size, and any upgrades.
  3. Use this information to help you determine a fair market price for your home.

You should also research the legal requirements for selling a home without a real estate agent. Each state has different laws regarding the sale of real estate, so understand the legal requirements and procedures.

Listing Your Home

Once you’ve researched your local market, it’s time to list your home. One option is to use an online listing service, which will provide you with tools to help you market your home and connect with potential buyers. Another option is to list your home on private sale mechanisms such as classified ads, social media, or word of mouth.

Preparing Your Home for Showings

Once you’ve listed your home, it’s time to start showing it to potential buyers. Prepare your home by decluttering, making necessary repairs, and deep cleaning. You want buyers to see your home at its best. Hire a professional home stager to maximize your home’s appeal.

Negotiating and Closing the Deal

Once you’ve found a potential buyer, it’s time to negotiate and close the deal. You’ll need to agree on a price and payment terms and any other contingencies or counteroffers. Put your agreement in writing and have a real estate attorney review any contracts before they’re signed.


After researching the difference between a listing agent and a selling agent, it’s clear that they serve different roles in a real estate transaction. As a seller, understand the distinction between the two and choose the right agent to represent your interests.

A listing agent works with the seller to prepare the home for sale, research the market value, sets the asking price, and markets the property to potential buyers. On the other hand, a selling agent represents the buyer and assists them in finding and purchasing a property.

Selling your house to an online cash-buying company works well for homeowners who want a fast, easy, and efficient selling process. Here’s why:

  • Companies close in as little as seven days.
  • There is no need for costly home inspections, repairs, or renovations.
  • Avoid waiting on lenders.
  • Companies usually pay some or all closing costs.
  • Selling your home to an online cash-buying company also means avoiding the hassle and inconvenience of showings.

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