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Listing Agent: What They Are And How To Choose One

Sa El5-Minute Read
UPDATED: May 16, 2023

Selling your home is a major life event and trying to figure out what type of real estate agent you need to list your home can lead to some complicated questions.

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

In this article, we’ll discuss what a listing agent is, how they differ from a selling agent and the characteristics of a good listing agent.

What Is A Listing Agent?

A listing agent, also known as a seller’s agent, helps a home seller list their home and represents them during the real estate transaction process. Listing agents help sellers come up with a sales price for their home, market the property on platforms like the multiple listing service (MLS), recommend renovations and upgrades, schedule open houses and showings and negotiate offers.

If you’re serious about listing your home, enlisting a listing agent is crucial. They’ll have the most up-to-date information on what’s selling, home pricing 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 represents you, the home seller, assists with the sale of your home. A selling agent, also known as a buyer’s agent, represents the home buyer.

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

Agent Title

Who The Agent Represents

Agent Responsibilities

Listing Agent

Represents the home seller

Lists home for sale and represents the home seller

Seller’s Agent

Represents the home seller

Lists home for sale and represents the home seller (same as listing agent)

Buyer’s Agent

Represents the home buyer

Helps find a home to buy

Selling Agent

Represents the home buyer

Helps find a home to buy (same as buyer’s agent)

There are also cases where one agent can be both the listing agent and the buyer’s agent. This scenario is known as dual agency and is usually frowned upon in real estate. It’s pretty hard for one agent to uphold both the selling party’s and buying party’s best interests.

Who Pays The Listing Agent?

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

The seller typically factors that fee into the home’s listing price.

When the buyer’s loan has been funded and sent to escrow, the commission gets split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent.

The buyer indirectly pays the commission for both real estate agents because the fee is baked into the price of the home.

Selling your home?

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

Benefits Of Working With A Real Estate Listing Agent

Let’s take a closer look at how working with an agent can help you sell your home in no time.

Knowledge Of The Local Real Estate Market

Given your agent's local real estate market expertise, they’ll know how to price your home and give you a firm idea of how long you can expect your home to be on the market. They also have access to data and information on comparable properties and can help you determine which upgrades you should consider to increase your home's value.

Strong Communication Skills

Communication is key when dealing with your listing agent. This is especially true when you start receiving offers and counteroffers. Your agent should effectively communicate deadlines and review offers with you in a way you understand.

Detailed Marketing Strategies

Your agent will produce a detailed marketing strategy to get your property in front of as many potential buyers as possible. Some marketing strategies your agent may deploy when listing your property include:

  • Social media marketing: Social media plays a key role in marketing for a variety of industries – and real estate is no exception.
  • Getting professional pictures: A good listing agent will have a professional photographer take pictures of your home as part of their responsibilities. Great looking photos are essential when trying to sell a home.
  • Hosting open houses: Once your property is listed, your agent will stage your home and host open houses. There is no better selling point for a potential buyer than to walk through a clutter and distraction-free home.

Connections With Other Professionals

When selling your home, you’ll realize there are other services you may need, such as a home inspection, or you may need to work with a real estate attorney. Your listing agent can likely refer you to 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. If your listing agent has strong relationships with buyer’s agents and former clients, their network may increase your home’s potential to sell.

Negotiate With Buyers

Once your listing agent starts receiving offers, they’ll show you the numbers and negotiate with buyers on your behalf. They can help negotiate a fair price, contingencies and the closing date.

How To Choose A Listing Agent

There are a few ways to find a listing agent. But no matter where or how you find them, make sure they have all the strengths and characteristics we’ve discussed.

Here are a few ways to find a listing agent:

  • Online: The fastest path to a listing agent is online. You can find them through sites like ours (Rocket HomesSM), online forums, personal real estate blogs and personal finance blogs. An online search will give you immediate access to listing agent reviews.
  • By referral: There’s nothing better than getting a referral from a trusted friend or family member for virtually anything, and real estate is no exception. If you know someone who has sold a home, you should reach out to them to see if their agent can help you.
  • Attend open houses: You can learn a lot about how a listing agent works by watching them in action at an open house. Check local listings to find agents and upcoming open houses in the area or neighborhood.
  • Talk to several agents: Selling a house is a big decision. It requires having a lot of confidence in your listing agent. A good rule of thumb is to meet and interview a few agents before choosing one to help you sell your home.

Do You Need A Listing Agent To Sell Your Home?

No, you don’t need an agent to sell your home. However, selling a house without a REALTOR® or agent is a big decision. It’s important to do all your research.

The closing process involves a lot of documents. Working with an agent, even for a short time, can save you from a lot of headaches. When deciding whether you should hire a listing agent, think of these scenarios:

  • Will you price your home correctly? Do you know the current fair market value for homes in your neighborhood? Is now really the best time to sell? Is your asking price unrealistic? You’ll need to answer all these questions if you sell on your own.
  • How will you market your property? You’re selling your home, but do you know how you’ll market the property? You won’t have access to the databases a listing agent can use, such as your local MLS. Who will stage your home, take professional 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. But you’ll inherit a ton of responsibility, which can get pretty overwhelming for many people. Generally speaking, by the end of the process, most clients are grateful they worked with an agent and can justify the real estate commission fees.

Selling your home?

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

The Bottom Line

Whether this is your first or third time selling a house, listing agents work to help make the home selling process smoother and less stressful. These real estate professionals know the ins and outs of the industry and can help you secure the best deal.

Ready to make the leap and list your home? Connect with a Rocket Homes Verified Partner Agent and get started today.

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.