Since starting our real estate careers we've had multiple people say to us that they know nothing about it, and to be honest we didn't know half the ins and outs until we started doing it! Even when we bought our first house there were so many unknowns and to be completely transparent we just trusted our Realtor to get the job done. So, we want to first share with you the different types of relationships that are involved in a real estate transaction, what exactly you can expect from each side, and the process on how each party works together.
First things first - an agent (aka us) can represent a buyer AND a seller. Let's break this down to be clear: our job is to represent anyone who is looking to do a real estate transaction, whether that's if they want to sell their home or if they want to find a new one. A listing client is someone who is selling their house, a buying client is someone who is looking for a new one. We can, and often do, list the home they're currently in while search for a new one! Its only frowned upon to represent two separate clients in the same transaction. For example, we wouldn't take on a listing client and then show some of our buyer clients that house because then this creates a "dual agency", causing both sides of the party to be conflicted because it's impossible for the agent to represent both sides equally. So please please please, if you see a house you like with a sign out front and are already working with an agent, CALL YOUR AGENT FIRST. Do not call the number on the sign because that is the listing agent's phone number, not your agents. Now if you don't have an agent you can definitely call that number, just know that they will most likely pass you off to someone else in their brokerage because they are already representing the seller and won't be able to represent you.
Okay now that we have the relationships laid out let's talk about agent relationships. Since agents can represent listing clients (someone who is selling their home), it's important to understand that, that doesn't mean just that agent can show the house. They are responsible to market the property and let other agents/buyers know that it's for sale! Then agents who are representing a buyer can schedule a time to view the property and see if it's a good fit! In mostly all transactions there are two agents working together to sell the house. One representing the listing client and one representing the buyer.
One thing we can't stress enough is that you work with an agent you enjoy and trust. Someone who is going to fight for you on the negotiations, who knows your strengths and weaknesses, and who is willing to schedule their calendar to be inline with yours, because LBR (let's be real) the market right now is crazy and you need to jump on homes quick. Even if you aren't looking to make any serious moves yet but want to stay up to date on how the market is doing, it's important to rely on your agent to provide you with knowledgeable insights and let you know what the best options are for you and your personal goals.
To summarize here are the breakdowns of each agent/client relationship -
Buyer's agent responsibilities:
Help a buyer get pre-approved for a mortgage
Help find a house including advising on neighborhoods, schools, and communities
Provide assistance on what to offer for a home and then negotiating the offer
Recommend a professional home inspector and attend the inspection to have an understanding of the findings.
Help negotiate any inspection repair requests from the buyer.
Communicate with the seller’s agent and buyer’s attorney throughout the transaction.
Monitor the buyer’s loan commitment to ensure the financing is on track.
Finalize all loose ends before the closing and attend a final walk-through of the property.
Seller's agent responsibilities:
Do market research to price a home accurately based on current market conditions.
Provide a real estate marketing plan (social advertising, real estate sites, magazines/newspapers etc.) designed to get a home sold quickly for the most money possible.
Communicate property before and during the sale.
Ensure that the buyer is qualified before accepting an offer.
Negotiate the best terms possible for the seller.
Attend the home inspection to represent the best interests of the seller.
Attend the home appraisal to provide the appraiser with essential information about the property.
Help finish up any necessary tasks to be able to close on time.