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Listing and selling agents offer helpful expertise to homebuyers and sellers.

What’s the difference between a listing agent and selling agent?

Home sellers and homebuyers might work directly with listing and selling agents. Although people often use these terms interchangeably, these two types of real estate agents serve different purposes.

Listing agents
Sometimes in television shows and movies, a real estate agent will bake cookies in a home immediately before an open house to leave the space with comforting, mouth-watering scents. This individual is known in the real estate world as the listing agent. This agent is in charge of helping home sellers market their properties. According to the National Association of Realtors, 89 percent of home sellers used real estate agents in 2016.

These agents help sellers put their homes on the market for competitive prices. They usually have expertise regarding the current housing market in the area. They have access to up-to-date information about how similar properties in the same neighborhood and town have sold in recent years. This database might include exact costs, the amount of time homes spent on the market before closing and what deterred buyers from making offers. With this information, listing agents can provide guidance and advice on how they can work with sellers to sell the home.

Listing agents might be involved in staging the homes they are trying to sell. This might include baking sweet-smelling treats or adorning the living room with fresh, eye-catching pillows. Listing agents understand how something as simple as the room's color scheme can subconsciously interfere with prospective buyers' perceptions of the place. They know the importance of creating a space that looks polished and homelike, where buyers can envision themselves living.

Once listing agents begin holding open houses, they will keep in touch with buyers who are interested in making serious offers. After homes sell, listing agents will walk the homeowner through any paperwork associated with closing on the property. Listing agents typically receive a specific percentage commission on the sale price of the home. This amount gets split with the selling agent and the selling and listing brokers.

Selling agents
These real estate professionals work on the other end, assisting prospective homebuyers through the process. Sometimes they are known as buying agents before any contracts come into play and as selling agents during the negotiation period, according to Bankrate. NAR calculated that 87 percent of buyers used selling agents in 2016, a number that climbed from 2001's 69 percent.

The work that selling agents perform differs from what listing agents do. They search for properties that fit their clients' needs, set up showings with the listing agent, communicate with the sellers regarding buyers' offers and walk buyers through the offer process. If you've ever seen House Hunters on HGTV, you might understand selling agents' duties.

Deciding if listing and selling agents are necessary
Some buyers and sellers choose not to use representation. They might decide to go house hunting independently or put their homes on the market without an expert's guidance. However, many people find that hiring professionals saves them a lot of legwork. In addition, some listing agents will take offers seriously only if they come through selling agents.

Before hiring a listing or selling agent, it is imperative to speak with multiple agents. References from past clients, their experience in the town or neighborhood and even their personality and temperament are crucial factors to consider when choosing the right agent.

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