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Different Types of Real Estate Agents Explained

By Bill Gassett | July 9, 2023

In the complex world of real estate, having the right professionals by your side is crucial. Real estate agents play a vital role in assisting buyers and sellers. However, not all real estate agents provide the same services or represent the same interests.

Having knowledge of agency in real estate and how it works is crucial. Understanding the different types of real estate agents can help you make an informed decision about buying or selling a property.

We will explore the various types of real estate agents you should know.

Types of Real Estate Agents

What Is a Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent is a licensed professional facilitating buying, selling, or renting properties on clients' behalf. They are experts in the real estate industry and serve as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, guiding them through the complex process of real estate transactions.

Real estate agents must obtain a license in the state where they practice. This involves completing specific educational requirements, passing a state exam, and fulfilling continuing education obligations to stay updated on industry regulations and best practices.

The primary role of a real estate agent is to assist clients in achieving their real estate goals. For buyers, agents help identify properties that align with their preferences, budget, and specific needs. They guide market conditions, arrange property viewings, and negotiate purchase prices.

On the other hand, sellers rely on real estate agents to market their properties effectively and attract potential buyers.

Agents use their expertise to determine an optimal listing price, create appealing marketing materials, and showcase the property to its best advantage. They negotiate offers and manage the paperwork and legal requirements of closing the sale.

A real estate agent can also become a Realtor by joining the National Association of Realtors. Consumers should understand that a Realtor is NOT the same as a real estate agent.

Types of Real Estate Agents Buyers and Sellers Should Know

Whether you're buying, selling, or investing in real estate, knowing the types of agents available will help you find the right representation and guidance for your specific needs. Here are the types of real agents.

Real Estate Broker

A real estate broker is a highly qualified professional who has obtained advanced qualifications and credentials beyond the standard real estate agent license. Brokers can work independently or have agents working under them. They have typically acquired significant experience, knowledge, and expertise in the real estate industry. Brokers may specialize in specific areas of real estate, such as residential, commercial, or luxury properties.

Real estate brokers have the authority to represent both buyers and sellers. They may oversee real estate transactions and guide their agents. Brokers often handle complex negotiations and transactions that require extensive expertise. They are responsible for ensuring their agents comply with ethical and legal standards while delivering high-quality client services.

Buyer's Agent

A buyer's agent, also known as a buyer's representative, is a real estate agent who exclusively represents the buyer's interests in a real estate transaction. Their primary role is to assist buyers in finding suitable properties that meet their criteria and negotiate favorable purchase prices.

Buyer's agents work diligently to understand their client's needs, preferences, and budget constraints to help them make informed decisions.

Buyer's agents use their extensive local market knowledge to identify properties that match their client's requirements. They arrange property viewings, provide comparative market analyses, and guide buyers through buying.

These agents are skilled negotiators, advocating for the buyer's best interests during price negotiations, contingencies, and other contractual terms. They also liaise with other professionals involved in the transaction, such as lenders, inspectors, and attorneys, to ensure a smooth and successful purchase. See a complete review of a buyer's agent's responsibilities.

Buyers should know that buyer agent commission is usually paid from the seller's proceeds from the sale.

Seller's Agent

A seller's agent, also known as a listing agent, represents the seller's interests in a real estate transaction. These agents specialize in helping sellers market and sell their properties for the highest possible price within the desired timeframe. Seller's agents employ various strategies to maximize exposure for the property and attract potential buyers.

Seller's agents begin by conducting a comprehensive market analysis to determine an appropriate listing price for the property. They advise staging the home, enhancing curb appeal, and creating compelling marketing materials. Seller agents utilize their marketing expertise to list the property on multiple platforms, including online listing services, social media, and traditional advertising channels. They handle inquiries, schedule showings, and negotiate offers on behalf of the seller.

Throughout the selling process, sellers' agents act as trusted advisors to sellers. They guide them through contract negotiations, contingencies, and the closing process. Seller's agents are committed to achieving the seller's goals while ensuring compliance with legal and ethical obligations.

As you might have imagined, significant differences exist between listing and selling agents.

Dual Agent

In some situations, a real estate agent may act as a dual agent, representing the buyer and the seller in a single transaction. The dual agency typically occurs when an agent from the same brokerage represents both parties involved in the sale. Dual agents must follow specific rules and guidelines to ensure fairness and impartiality.

When acting as a dual agent, real estate agents cannot exclusively advocate for the best interests of the buyer or the seller. They must remain neutral and provide fair and equal representation to both parties. Dual agents must disclose their dual agency role to the buyer and the seller and obtain informed consent. They facilitate communication between the parties, ensure the transaction proceeds smoothly, and assist with the necessary paperwork.

Clients must understand that while a dual agency can provide convenience, it may present potential conflicts of interest. A dual agent is NOT allowed to provide any advice to either the buyer or seller. Doing so is illegal! Dual agency is bad for buyers and sellers because neither party gets expert guidance - the reason consumers hire a real estate agent.

Clients should carefully consider their options and seek independent advice if they have concerns about dual agency arrangements.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right type of real estate agent is crucial when navigating the complex world of real estate. Whether buying or selling a property, understanding the different types of real estate agents and their roles can help you make informed decisions.

Real estate brokers bring additional qualifications and expertise, while buyer's agents exclusively represent the buyer's interests. Seller's agents focus on selling properties for the best price, and dual agents represent both buyers and sellers but must remain impartial. By working with the appropriate type of real estate agent, you can have a smoother and more successful real estate transaction.

Bill Gassett is an authority in the real estate industry with 38 years of experience. Bill is well respected for his informative articles for buyers, sellers, and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, the National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Newsbreak, Credit Sesame, Realty Biz News, and his own authoritative resource, Maximum Real Estate Exposure. He has been on of the top RE/MAX agents in New England over the last two decades.
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