By Chrystal Caruthers
It may seem perfectly logical to call the agent on the yard sign while driving around your dream neighborhood searching for your next house.
The sign might have a QR code or text code to allow you to quickly access more information—but beware. Your information goes directly to the listing agent and the listing agent works for the seller, not the buyer.
Sellers and agents have a written contractual agreement outlining their relationship. It’s called the Exclusive Listing Agreement. It outlines the role of the listing agent, how they will market the party, the commission and the terms of the listing.
The Listing Agent is the Seller’s Representative
That means the listing agent has a legal obligation to work on the seller’s behalf—to get the highest possible price and the best terms available for the seller, not the buyer.
The listing agent legally is obligated to share any information they learn about the buyer with the seller. If a potential buyer walks into an open house and strikes up a conversation with a personable listing agent, any information divulged there can be used against the buyer during eventual negotiations.
So telling a listing agent you are relocating within the next month for a new job at a high profile company with a great offer that increased your salary so now you can afford more house than before? That can hurt you later if it comes to a bid on the property.
Listing Agents Wear Many Hats
There are many facets to a listing agent’s job. They work closely with the seller and provide a bevy of services. Here is a sample of what most listing agents do for each seller client:
- Create a marketing plan for the house
- Have professional photos taken of the house
- Advise the seller about the best ways to stage the house for sale
- Generate Comparative Market Analysis reports to suggest the best selling price
- Recommend contractors and vendors to help prepare the home for market
- Evangelize the benefits of the house and neighborhood to potential buyers
- Coordinate showings with buyer agents and unrepresented buyers
- Host “Broker Opens” to get as many potential buyer agents into the house for feedback and to attract buyers
- Make the house easily accessible for showings
- Provide showing feedback
- Communicate market activity to the seller with weekly updates/reports
- Present and advise sellers of all offers
- Negotiate the highest possible selling price
- Coordinate the purchase process with inspectors, attorneys, appraisers, title company agents and others
- Verify buyer eligibility to purchase
- Make the home selling process as easy for the seller as possible
The listing agent is the homeowner’s biggest advocate.
Realtor.com, Chrystal Caruthers is a former Realtor, TV news producer, and newspaper reporter