A listing agent helps you market your home to potential buyers when you’re ready to sell. You can sell your home without a listing agent, but it could take longer and you probably won’t get as much money for it.
A listing agent’s responsibilities include:
- Determining the best asking price for the home
- Advising if the home requires any repairs before listing
- Coordinating showings with potential buyers
- Reviewing offers with the seller
- Negotiating with the buyer’s agent
- Coordinating closing details
Some realtors only work as listing agents, but many also represent buyers when they have the opportunity.
Listing agents generally take 2.5-3% of the home’s final sale price — this is known as a listing commission or listing fee. There’s no out-of-pocket cost to you since the commission is deducted from the sale proceeds, but it can still add up to thousands of dollars.
The good news is that there are easy ways to save on listing fees. Clever Real Estate, for example, connects home sellers with listing agents for a pre-negotiated flat rate, so you can work with a great agent without paying full price!
Listing agent qualifications
- Pre-licensing education
- Real estate salesperson’s license (or equivalent) from the state’s real estate association
- Sponsorship from a licensed real estate broker
What does a listing agent do?
A listing agent helps you sell your home as quickly as possible for the best price.
To achieve this goal, listing agents:
- Price the home competitively
- Post listing on the MLS and other home search sites
- Review offers
- Negotiate price and terms
- Help coordinate closing
Price the home
Your listing agent can create a comparative market analysis (CMA) — a valuation that uses data from recent sales of comparable homes in the neighborhood — to determine the right listing price for your home.
A good agent can price your home in a way that reflects current market conditions. Pricing too low could mean you’re leaving money on the table, but pricing too high could cause your home to get overlooked by potential buyers.
List on the MLS
The MLS (Multiple Listing Service) is used by real estate agents to share the details of homes for sale on popular sites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia. Listing on the MLS puts your home in front of more agents and buyers.
You can list on the MLS without an agent using what’s known as a flat-fee MLS service — brokers that charge a low, one-time fee to publish your listing on the platform — but you’ll have to negotiate with buyers on your own when offers start coming in.
Market the home to buyers
Listing agents market homes with:
- Professional photography
- Yard signs
- Showings and open houses
In a hot real estate market, extra efforts like staging and 3D tours of the home might not be necessary, but sometimes they help to get more eyeballs on your listing.
As a seller, you don’t always know if the offer you’ve received is a good one, so an agent can help you see the big picture and decide whether you want to accept.
As offers come in, a listing agent can explain all of the important details. They can also give you their opinion about the offer price. If necessary, the agent will help you prepare a counter offer.
Negotiate price and terms
Even after the seller accepts an offer, the buyer and the seller might need to renegotiate if the home inspection reveals unexpected issues that need to be repaired before closing day.
The listing agent acts as the middleman between you, the buyer, and their agent. They’ll also protect your best interests throughout the negotiation process.
Help coordinate closing
The listing agent communicates with all of the parties involved in the transaction (the title company and/or attorney, buyer’s agent, often even the buyer’s lender) and reviews closing documents to ensure the deal is finalized without any issues.
How do listing agents get paid?
Listing agents are paid a percentage of the final sale price — what’s known as a listing commission.
Listing agents generally charge 5-6% commission in a listing agreement, but they may only take home 1.5% because they have to split the commission with the buyer’s agent and the listing broker.
For example, on the sale of a $300,000 home, a listing agent might charge the seller $18,000 (6%) in commission, but the agent’s take home pay would only be $4,500 (1.5%).
The agent/the agent’s brokerage covers the costs of things like photographing the home and marketing it to buyers upfront, and then recoups those costs when the house sells.
Want to work with a full-service listing agent without paying full price? Our friends at Clever have a national network of over 10,000 top-rated partner agents who’ll list your home for a pre-negotiated rate of just $3,000 or 1% vs. the typical 2.5-3% .
Listing agent vs. selling agent
Listing agents represent home sellers, so they’re often confused with selling agents.
A selling agent actually represents the buyer, but they’re called a selling agent because they bring a buyer into the picture — essentially helping sell the home. Most of the time, selling agents are called buyer’s agents.
Seller’s agents, on the other hand, are listing agents. They’re sometimes called seller’s agents because they represent the seller.
Does the seller’s agent represent the broker?
Even though a seller’s agent works for a broker, the agent’s primary job is to represent your best interests, since you are their client.
All real estate agents — whether they represent buyers or sellers — are legally required to work under the license of a sponsoring broker.
A broker is a real estate professional with an advanced license and more years of experience. They can provide support when it comes to managing the transaction and ensuring the deal is compliant with state law.
The broker and the agent will split commission from the sale of your home, so it’s in both of their best interests to help you sell your home.
» READ: What’s a Real Estate Broker?
Can you change real estate agents as a seller?
You might be able to change real estate agents if you aren’t satisfied with your current agent, but it depends largely on the listing agreement you signed.
If you signed an exclusive right to sell listing agreement (the most common type), you’re in a legally binding contract that gives your agent the exclusive right to represent you for the duration stipulated in your agreement.
However, the agent might agree to terminate the agreement if you want out. After all, keeping a client in an agreement that they no longer want could hurt the agent’s reputation.
Other types of agreements, like an open listing agreement, are more flexible and may allow you to work with multiple agents at the same time.
FAQs about listing agents
What is the difference between a listing agent and a real estate agent?
A listing agent is a real estate agent who represents home sellers. Many real estate agents are open to representing either buyers or sellers, but some specialize in listing houses.
Does a listing agent get paid?
Yes — most listing agents collect a percentage of the proceeds on a home sale, commonly known as a commission fee. The listing agent splits their commission with their broker and the buyer's agent.
Most listing agents charge approximately 3% in commission, but low commission real estate companies can connect home sellers with listing agents who charge as little as 1%.
What are a listing agent's responsibilities?
The listing agent is responsible for selling your house.
Half of their focus is on marketing your home, which involves setting the price, taking photos, listing online, scheduling open houses, and so on.
Once offers have been submitted, your listing agent will help you choose the best one and negotiate terms, lock in a contract, and see the deal through to closing.
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