What Do Realtors Do?
What do Realtors do?
Do you ever wonder what Realtors actually do? Do you get confused between hearing the terms buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, dual agent, etc, and wonder what they all mean? If you do, that’s certainly understandable, but I’d like to give you a little clarification so that you can better understand the different roles that Realtors play in your life and in your real estate transactions.
When a person goes to real estate school or takes classes to become a real estate agent, and they pass the test at the end of the course as well as a background check, they can become a licensed real estate agent. From there, they can go into different fields such as property management, land management, new home sales, or what we’re going to talk about here which is your typical residential real estate agent. If they activate their license with a real estate firm, join the local multiple listing service (MLS), and join the national association of Realtors, they then become a Realtor.
When you are in the process of buying a home or selling your existing home, you almost always have some sort of interaction with a residential Realtor. If you are buying a home, you may hire a Realtor to represent you as your buyer's agent. If you are selling a home, you may hire a Realtor to be your listing agent. There may also be a case where you work with a Realtor as a dual agent, which means that they are representing both you and the other party at the same time.
If you are purchasing a home and would like to have a licensed professional representing you, then you will essentially be hiring a firm and their designated agent to represent you as your buyer's agent. As your buyer's agent, this particular agent or team you choose to work with has various duties to you such as promoting your best interests, being loyal to you, following your lawful instructions, providing you with all material facts that could influence the decisions you make regarding a purchase, etc. In a nutshell, your buyer’s agent is there to protect you, look out for you, and guide you through what can sometimes be a complicated process. Don’t take the process of choosing a buyer's agent lightly and don’t make the mistake of thinking that they’re all the same or that their only purpose is to open doors for you. Do your research, ask the right questions, read reviews, and trust the process.
If you are selling your home and choose to have a real estate firm managing this process for you, then the firm and their designated agent(s) or a specific team become what we call your listing agent or seller’s agent. In this capacity, your listing agent has duties to you such as promoting your best interests, being loyal to you, following your lawful instructions, providing you with all material facts that could influence your decisions, using reasonable skill, care, and diligence to help your sell your home, etc. Generally speaking, your listing agent is going to help you prepare your home, market your home and then sell your home all while protecting your best interests along the way. The quality and experience of listing agents can vary greatly so it’s important that you choose wisely. Look at examples of other homes they’ve listed in the past, read customer reviews from their seller-clients, interview them, and make an educated decision.
Dual agency occurs when the same firm is representing both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. This will most commonly happen when an unrepresented buyer approaches a listing agent directly and permits that agent’s firm to represent them as well as their existing seller-client. The seller-client would also have to agree to this. This can also happen when a Realtor takes on a new listing that happens to meet the needs of one of their own buyer-clients. In dual agency situations, the firm is always the dual agent and may have the same agent representing both parties or alternatively, have separate agents underneath that firm’s umbrella representing each client as their “designated dual agent”. Dual agency can work very well but it can also leave either party feeling as though they weren’t really represented properly or as if there was possibly a conflict of interest. It’s important to carefully talk this through with the agent and get a clear understanding of what they can or can’t do for you while acting in a dual-agent capacity.
I hope this clears things up for you and gives you a better understanding of the different roles that a realtor may play in your residential transaction. Please know that a great Realtor can make an enormous difference in your home buying or selling journey and can be well worth their commissions (in most cases).
If you have any questions about the home-buying process or selling process, anything I’ve said in this article, or just want to talk about your needs, we’d be happy to help in any way that we can. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for a no-pressure, no-obligation consultation. We’re always here for you.