Selling their home is not something most people do once a day (or even once a decade) so it’s perfectly natural to enlist a real estate professional to help with the process. Enter the real estate agent — specifically, one known as a seller’s agent. AKA a listing agent, these reps price and advertise your home, organize showings, negotiate with potential buyers and in general represent the seller throughout the real estate transaction, from initial listing to final closing.
While you do not need to work with a listing agent to sell your home, many people choose to do so because they can make the process go more smoothly and help maximize the sale price of the home.
What is a seller’s agent or a listing agent?
A seller’s agent is a real estate professional (a Realtor, a real estate agent or a real estate broker) who helps prepare and list a property for sale (the latter being the reason they’re also known as listing agents). They represent the person selling a property and must work in their best interests.
Seller’s agents handle many tasks involved with selling a home, including:
- Helping you analyze the market to figure out if it is a good time to sell
- Giving you advice for maximizing your property’s value
- Connecting you with other professionals to help prepare or improve your home
- Staging your home
- Listing your home on multiple listing services
- Helping you price your home
- Marketing the home: running tours, organizing open houses
- Serving as the go-between in negotiations with buyers
- Drawing up the purchase agreement
How do seller’s agents get paid?
Seller’s agents get paid on a commission basis. That means that they won’t be compensated until they close a deal.
Typically, when you sell a home, you have to pay a percentage — typically 5-6 percent — of the sale price in realtor fees. When the home sale closes, this fee gets taken out of your proceeds and paid to the agent’s brokerage (unless the agent is a broker themselves). The broker will take a cut and then distribute the rest of it to the agent who assisted you with the transaction. In most cases, the overall fee gets split between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent.
This method of compensation can be beneficial for sellers because the agent is incentivized to help you sell your home for a higher price.