Do You Need Both a Listing Agent and a Buying Agent?

Pros and Cons of Using the Same Agent in Both Roles

Man in suit meeting with a couple over a desk

Eric Audras/Getty Images

Many buyers and sellers don't really understand how real estate agents operate, so they're unsure how many agents they need when they're listing one home and looking to buy another at the same time. They wonder if one agent can represent them in both transactions, or if they should hire a buying agent to help them buy and a listing agent to help them sell.

Some ​agents excel at either selling or listing, and they promote themselves accordingly. It's not out of the question for an agent to specialize only in listing homes for sale, while another might work strictly with homebuyers.

Most real estate agents handle about an equal number of buyers and sellers, however, so using the same professional in both roles is possible.

What a Good Listing (Seller's) Agent Does

A good listing agent tweaks the fine nuances that separate homes and neighborhoods from their identical counterparts by using the science of comparative market analysis. This is designed to compute a reasonably acceptable asking price.

These agents offer extensive marketing campaigns comprised of a combination of direct mail, advertising, networking, and online publishing. They entice agents to show their properties and buyers to tour them.

They understand staging. They can advise sellers on how to prepare the home for sale, in addition to maintaining a referral network of staging professionals and other contractors. They can showcase the home's strengths while downplaying its weaknesses.

They maintain the upper hand during negotiations and protect their sellers' interests while selling the home for the highest price possible in the shortest period of time.

What a Good Selling (Buyer's) Agent Does

This type of agent is ideally patient, compassionate, a good listener, and a problem solver. Buyers' agents are dedicated to figuring out what the buyer wants and delivering it.

They love to show homes. They understand how homes are constructed and how to make improvements that will ultimately boost value in the event of resale.

Buyers' agents are organized, detail-oriented, and they possess excellent follow-up skills. They tend to develop a keen insight into the rock-bottom prices that sellers might accept.

They're gracious, polite, and professional, even under trying circumstances. Associates enjoy working with them. They know the neighborhoods, and they always have a solid grip on what's available now, as well as what was available yesterday.

Reasons to Hire Separate Agents

It would probably be beneficial for you to hire separate agents who each specialize in one area if your present home and your potential new neighborhood are located in different cities. Ask your listing agent for a referral to another agent in the other location.

You'll be paying only for the expertise you require.

Agents who specialize in neighborhoods tend to maintain a backlog of clients who are interested in buying or selling as well, so they might already have a buyer or seller for you.

Your listing agent heads a team and wouldn't necessarily be the primary agent working with you on the buying side of things.

Reasons for Sole Representation

Sole representation can be convenient. You can contact the same agent for two different transactions with one phone call or text message.

The agent can often coordinate simultaneous closings through one title company and can share the intricate and progressive details of transactions with the title to get that directive accomplished.

Sometimes the agent will give you a discount on the listing side if you agree to hire that agent to help you buy as well, but keep in mind that each job requires maximum effort. You're dealing with two separate transactions, and agents generally refuse to reduce their fees for this reason alone. It's worth it to ask, however—especially if agents are competing with each other for your business.

The Best Reason to Go With One Agent

You might want to stick with one professional for both sides of the transaction if you really like and trust your agent. You can't put a price tag on compatibility and a certain comfort level in an often stressful time.