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Listing Agent: What They Are And How To Choose One

Sa El6-Minute Read
PUBLISHED: February 10, 2022 | UPDATED: March 22, 2023

Just the thought of selling your home can be overwhelming, and trying to figure out what type of real estate agent you need to list your home can be even more complicated.

But what if there were a simple solution to figuring out if you need a listing agent or a selling agent?

In this article, we’ll discuss what a listing agent is, how they’re different from a selling agent and what characteristics make a good listing agent.

What Is A Listing Agent?

A listing agent (also known as a seller’s agent) helps someone sell their home. They help the seller come up with an asking price for their home, stage their home and market the property on platforms like the MLS.

Your listing agent is also responsible for bringing buyers directly to you and bringing you any offers made on the property. Once you have an offer, the listing agent will help you navigate any complicated paperwork and the steps needed to close on the sale.

If you’re serious about listing your home, having a listing agent is crucial. They’ll have the most up-to-date information on what’s selling, the price it’s selling for and what buyers are looking for in a home. This is critical information to have when deciding when and how to sell your home.

Listing Agent Vs. Selling Agent: What’s The Difference?

A listing agent (which, as mentioned above, can also be called a seller’s agent) is responsible for assisting with the sale of your home, while a selling agent (also called a buyer’s agent) is responsible for someone who wants to buy a new or existing home.

These terms may be a bit confusing, so let’s break them down:

  • Listing agent: Helps with listing your home for sale
  • Seller’s agent: Another name for a listing agent
  • Buyer’s agent: Helps you find a home to buy
  • Selling agent: Another name for a buyer’s agent

Head still spinning? It’s a little weird for someone representing the buyer to be referred to as a selling agent. We get that. Think of it this way, it’s your listing agent (or seller’s agent) who helps sell your property. The selling agent (or buyer’s agent) has the job of showing your property to potential buyers and “selling them” on the fact that it meets their needs.

There is also a situation where one agent can be both the listing agent and buyer’s agent; this status is known as dual agency and is usually frowned upon in the real estate space. It’s pretty hard for one agent to uphold both the selling and buying party’s best interest.

Who Pays The Listing Agent?

Both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent are paid 5% – 6% of the home’s purchase price at the time of closing.

Understanding who exactly is paying out that commission can be confusing; however, the seller is usually going to add that fee to the home’s listing price.

When the buyer’s loan has been funded and sent to escrow, the commission pays out for both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent.

This means that the buyer will indirectly pay out the commission to the real estate agents because the costs are already added to the price of the home.

Selling your home?

Work with a real estate agent who knows your local market.

Characteristics Of A Real Estate Listing Agent

Becoming a licensed real estate sales agent doesn’t make every listing agent a good agent. You probably want to make sure your agent has some of the below characteristics.

Knowledge Of The Local Real Estate Market

Knowing what’s going on in the local real estate market is vital for anyone to be an excellent listing agent. Knowing the market means that they understand how you need to price your home and give you a firm idea of how long you could expect your home to be on the market.

Strong Communication Skills

Communication is key when dealing with your listing agent. This is especially true when you start receiving offers and even counteroffers. The agent must understand how to communicate deadlines and go over your offer with you in a way you understand.

Detailed Marketing Strategies

It’s crucial that your agent has a detailed marketing strategy, and that they can get your property in front of as many potential buyers as possible. Some marketing strategies your agent should do when listing your property include:

  • Social media marketing: How many times have you caught yourself scrolling through your social feed? You’re not the only one glued to your phone. Social media plays a key role in marketing for a variety of industries, and real estate is no exception. Your listing agent should be active on their profile in a way that helps them sell homes.
  • Getting professional pics: A great listing agent will have a professional photographer take pictures of your home as part of their commission fee. Great-looking photos are essential when trying to sell a home.
  • Hosting open houses: Be sure that the agent you pick is willing and ready to host an open house once your property has been listed. There is no better selling point than for a potential buyer to walk through the home without any distractions.

Connections With Other Professionals

In the process of listing your home, there are going to be other services you may need, such as home inspections or even access to a real estate attorney. Your listing agent should be able to refer you to top professionals in those fields.

Ability To Attract And Screen Qualified Buyers

One of the most important tasks of a real estate listing agent is to bring qualified buyers to view your home and hopefully make an offer. You also want your listing agent to have relationships with as many buyer’s agents as possible to give your home even more potential to sell.

How To Choose A Listing Agent

There are a few ways to find a listing agent; regardless of where and how you find them, you should still make sure they have all of the above characteristics we’ve discussed. Two common ways you can find a listing agent today are:

  • Online: The fastest path to find a listing agent is online. You can find them through sites like ours (Rocket Homes℠), as well as online forums, personal real estate blogs, and personal finance blogs. An online search will give you immediate access to any reviews about a specific listing agent you’re considering.
  • By referral: There’s nothing better than getting a referral from a trusted friend or family member regarding virtually anything, and real estate is often no exception. If you know someone who has sold their home before, you should reach out to them and see if their agent can help you.

Do You Need An Agent To Sell Your Home?

No, you don’t need an agent to sell your home. However, you would need to overcome a ton of obstacles to sell without an agent and have a successful closing. When deciding whether you should have a listing agent, think of these scenarios:

  • Will you price your home correctly? Do you know what the current fair market value is for homes in your neighborhood? Is now really the best time to sell? Is your asking price unrealistic? You’ll need to answer all of these questions if you decide to sell on your own.
  • How will you market your property? Now that you’re selling your home, how will you market the property? You won’t have access to the databases that a listing agent can use, such as your local MLS. Who will stage your home and take some great pictures or host an open house? How will you even get people to your open house?
  • Is 3% worth your peace of mind? If you go through the process without an agent, you get to avoid paying them a 3% commission. However, you have to take over a ton of responsibility, which can get pretty overwhelming for many people. Generally speaking, by the end of the entire process, most clients are grateful that they had an agent and can justify having paid the real estate commission fees.

The Bottom Line On What A Listing Agent Does

It’s up to you to decide if you’ll be an FSBO (for sale by owner) seller or go with a listing agent. However, the benefits of going with a listing agent tend to outweigh the benefits of being an FSBO seller.Whichever road you decide to take, you should reach out to Rocket Homes for assistance when you’re ready to sell your home.We offer solutions for selling your home on your own or with one of our Verified Partner Agents.

Sa El

Sa El is the Co-Founder of Simply Insurance & Credit Knocks. Along with being a licensed real estate agent, he is also a licensed Insurance Agent with over 11 years of experience in the industry. He is an entrepreneur, insurance educator, and freelance writer.