Sellers’ Frequently Asked Questions

What is a “Listing Agreement”?

A “listing agreement” is a document which lays out the contractual terms between the seller and the agent who will be listing the property.

Who pays the buyer’s agent?

The seller is responsible for paying the listing commission on the home – the listing office and agent then split that commission with the buyer’s agent and office. Commissions are typically paid only at closing, out of the proceeds of the sale of your home.

What is a “dual agent”, and do you practice dual agency?

“Dual agency” refers to the practice of a single agent representing both the buyer and the seller during the real estate transaction. When an agent acts in a dual capacity, they owe the same fiduciary responsibility to both parties. Most states have a required brochure or pamphlet which details the responsibilities of buyer’s agents, seller’s agents, and dual agents. Sellers considering the use of a dual agent should pay particular attention to the difference in responsibilities when an agent acts as a representative of both the buyer and the seller.

What type of information will my agent need from me?

To do the best job for you, your agent will need the best information you can provide. This would include such things as:

  • your financial goals regarding the sale of your home
  • willingness to listen to your agent’s advice
  • flexibility in accepting terms and conditions
  • preferred timing for a sale
  • disclosure as to any defects the property may have
  • details about the positive aspects of the home

Can’t I just sell my house by myself?

Of course. Historically, many sellers have sold their homes as For Sale By Owners (FSBOs). Back in the day, buyers would get in their cars and drive around for hours on end to locate a property. With the advent of the internet, Multiple Listing Services (MLS’s) and real estate websites are the ultimate source of property information. However, MLS sites are available only to the real estate agents who subscribe to them. Having your home listed by a real estate agent vastly increases your visibility in the marketplace. Statistically, 89% of homes which are sold each year are listed by a real estate agent via an MLS.

What if a buyer approaches me directly?

If your home is listed and a buyer contacts you directly, you should refer them to your agent. They should be willing to either show the prospective buyer your home, OR put them in the hands of another good agent who can both show them your home and represent them in preparing an offer.

I’m torn between two agents. Can more than one agent list my property?

Possibly. If both agents are licensed in the same office (and both agents are amenable to a shared listing), your property could be “co-listed” by two agents. It’s rare – although possible – to have agents licensed with competing companies involved in a co-listing situation.

What if I am unhappy with my agent?

Let your agent know that you’re unhappy, and the reasons why. It may be a simple misunderstanding that can be corrected. If the issues are more substantial, or the relationship simply isn’t the right “fit”, tell the agent you no longer wish to work with them and ask for your listing to be released.

Don’t let a less-than-perfect relationship keep you from finding another agent to work with. Buying and selling real estate are complex transactions, and it’s important that you have an agent to represent your interests.