Listing a house for sale and buying a home on the market are two very different things. Buyers and sellers have different needs, even if they are the same people. Most people buy and sell homes in the same year and often use the same agent for both. However, the nuances between the two roles need to be understood. Almost all great agents can do both roles well.

As a consumer, you should know how the roles differ so you can know what to expect from your agent. Sometimes listing and buying agents are two different people, and sometimes one person does two roles.

There are a lot of crossovers between the two roles. All agents must excel at negotiation, project management, marketing, and consulting. They must be able to evaluate a house’s condition and provide a market evaluation. Furthermore, Both buying and selling agents owe you a fiduciary duty of care. They must work in your best interest, similar to lawyers and accountants. They must also treat you fairly and honestly.

Whether you buy or sell, choosing an experienced agent is essential for finding success. If you’re considering hiring your friend as your real estate agent, there are a few things to consider first. Click here to read our blog post on the topic.

Listing Agent

When your agent is working to sell your home, their leading role is to be a marketing expert. They need to position your house as appealing as possible to the greatest of people. The more eyes on your listing, the more money you get. Your agent must have a solid social media presence and invests money in online and print marketing. They also must have a large support group to prep your house, such as a photographer, videographer, home inspector, contractor, stager, and cleaner.  All of this prep work is marketing. Therefore, when selecting a listing agent, you should look for someone who already has excellent marketing.

Do you recognize their face from years of consistent marketing? Do you see a new listing in your neighbourhood and already intuitively know who the listing agent is? Has word of mouth about this agent spread to your ears a few times? Do you already know that person because of their marketing? No matter the real estate market conditions, your house must be prepared by someone who understands marketing. Fortunately, agents who are great marketers are easy to find because they’re also good at marketing themselves. Once your house is on the market, your agent must shift from marketer to negotiator.

Their role as a negotiator must always be in your best interest, and they must follow all of your lawful instructions. In this stage, they should understand all the necessary contracts and be able to guide you through all your options. They will be able to communicate with the other agents offering on the property. Different from marketing, negotiating skills are more difficult to vet in advance. When considering a real estate agent, ask them how they handle negotiations. Ask for their sales track record in your neighbourhood with your housing type. You can also ask for referrals from their past clients.

Gearing up to enter West Toronto’s housing market? You may find these blog posts helpful.

Buyer’s Agent

When your agent works for you to purchase a home, they are no longer in a marketing role. Instead, they are consultants and project managers. Your buying agent should be able to give you much information up-front about the buying process, market statistics and houses. They then become project managers of your house hunt. They should be scouring listings daily for you, sending you the listings they think you’ll like and explaining why certain houses shouldn’t be on your list. They should also be booking showings for you, showing you comparables to help you determine value, requesting home inspections from listing agents and more. Your buyer agent should have the offer presentation down-pat.

Most importantly, your agent should educate you about homes as you are walking through houses. At the end of a showing session, you should know more about houses and what you like about a place. A good buyer’s agent will listen more than they talk so that they can understand what you’re looking for.

At the final stage of the buying process, your agent will again rely heavily on their negotiating skills. Negotiations are crucial in this market, where buyers and sellers are often far apart in their expectations. Your agent must be an excellent negotiator and a clear-headed advisor to you. A buyer’s agent’s job is to help you buy a house you like. They’re not doing their job correctly if you feel pressure from them to buy a home you don’t like.

Can I Work With One Agent Who Does Both?

Many agents do both roles well. Some clients prefer to have the continuity of one agent helping them with both transactions. However, the skill sets are different, and you should work with an agent with the perfect skill set for your type of transaction. Sometimes that means hiring one agent, and sometimes two different agents.

Every agent has a different way of organizing their business to match their skill set. This division of labour makes us successful. Our team often breaks up the listing agent and buying agent roles over two people. Kim primarily works as a listing agent. She has perfected marketing houses so well that she is consistently a top agent in Roncesvalles and High Park. If you see one of Kim’s listings, you know it’s hers based on the aesthetics of the staging and photography. All this marketing takes knowledge and capital. It costs a lot of money to market a home correctly.

Miranda is hired full-time on our team to focus on social media and print marketing. Sam also takes on many logistical roles associated with marketing the properties. He coordinates staging, photos, virtual tours, floor plans, home inspections, cleaners and anything else to make your house perfect. I run the open houses and showings to ensure that all prospective buyers see your home quickly. We take marketing so seriously that we have four people for the job.

On the other hand, I work exclusively with buyers. I love it. My job is to take buyer clients from the beginning of their buying journey to the end. I introduce them to different neighbourhoods and internalize their wants and needs so much that they feel like my own. When I find a house that feels right for my clients, I just know in my bones it’s going to be theirs. I also speak honestly to my clients if their expectations are unreasonable or if something about their search needs to be adjusted.

My buyers also get the benefit of my time. When we’re house shopping, we often see each other every day for a few weeks. Or, we’ll block off four-hour chunks of time to drive all over the city to look at different houses. This time is necessary to make a good decision when making a purchase.

Here’s the best part. When you work with us to buy a home, you benefit from working with everyone on the team. Kim is great at working with buyers and often strategizes with me on the phone about how best to set up searches or offers. Sam pitches in with showings and offers when Kim or I are booked, and Miranda takes care of the paperwork. We delegate the work of listing and buying to two different agents in our team, but we all function well in any role.

Do you have any questions about the difference between buying and selling roles? Reach out! Call us at 416-788-1823 or send us an email.