What Is a Listing Agent and Do I Need One?

Deciding to sell your home can be a stressful and leave you feeling apprehensive. Because your home represents the biggest investment most of us have, the decision on how to sell your home should also be very diligent and serious.

In North Carolina, every real estate agent is required by law to explain agency and provide you with the Working With Real Estate Agents Brochure at the first significant contact. You should never disclose information about yourself or situation to an agent until you understand the relationship of who works for who.

Exclusive Right to Sell

What most home owners don’t realize is that agents that represent both buyers and sellers in the same transaction may be working under a conflict of interest. After all, the agent has a legal obligation to protect the seller’s interest. They must get the highest price possible for the seller. Conversely if they are working as a buyer’s agent they are to negotiate the best deal for the buyer. So when interviewing agents, before you disclose why you are selling or how much you owe on your home, remember if you do not hire that agent to list your home and they come around with a buyer, they could use what you have told them against you. Conversely, should you try FSBO (for sale by owner) the buyer’s agent does not represent you.

The following are key differences between the responsibilities of  buyer’s agents, listing agents, traditional dual agents and designated dual agents. Before you hire a listing agent should familiarize yourself with the different types of agency so you understand the roles of an agent in different situations. It is important to remember that in North Carolina their has to be written consent by both parties in order for a transaction to be conducted under a dual agency or designated dual agency arrangement.

1) Representation

Buyer's agents: Negotiate price on the best terms for the buyer and not disclose any confidential information about you without your permission.

Listing agents: Legally bound to help their sellers  get their property sold at highest possible price.

Dual agents: (usually a listing agent) represents both seller and buyer in the same transaction non-exclusively, in otherwords they act as a referree, ensure everything is disclosed, get buyer and seller to come to a mutual agreement and get them to the closing table.

Designated dual agents: This situation covers the instance when a buyer represented by an agent of the firm listing your house is interested in making an offer on your home. One agent (listing agent) represents the seller and the  buyer agent represents the buyer with all the protections of an exclusivity agreement remaining in place throughout the transaction..

2) Providing and interpreting market data/marketing and promotion of your property

Listing agents: Should provide a complete market analysis of your home, interpreting all data for you. Provide information on market conditions and tips on what it will take to get your home sold. Market and promote your listing in the MLS, internet and print advertising as well as provide a sign, lockbox and access to the showing appointment desk to name a few. Your listing agent should provide a comprehensive marketing plan along with any and all information needed to understand the sales process and what services you should expect from them.

3) Negotiation of Selling Price

Listing agents: Will guide you through the entire negotiation and represent you throughout the negotiation process. Including but not limited to the inspection process, appraisals to closing.

4) Confidentiality

Listing agents: Must disclose any material facts about the property to prospective buyers and their agents through various required disclosures, However, any sensitive information about the seller is kept confidential.