In the real estate industry, there are several key players, but for property owners wishing to sell their home, business, or land, a listing agent is the most important. This person is a real estate agent who contracts with a property owner to represent them in the sale of their property. The agent has several key responsibilities to the property owner, which he or she must fulfill in order to successfully sell the property.
A listing agent may work in commercial or residential real estate, or may work in both facets. He or she is responsible for marketing the property, presenting purchase offers to the owner, and overseeing the transaction from proposal to closing. In residential real estate, this person works for the homeowner, but may also represent a buyer as a dual agent.
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Differing from a buyer’s agent, who has the responsibility of helping a buyer locate property and representing only the buyer during a real estate transaction, a listing agent is responsible for marketing a property for the seller and typically works with potential buyer’s agents to secure a deal. Like all real estate agents, he or she must be licensed in the state or province where the property they represent is located.
Among other tasks, a listing agent prepares listing and marketing material for the property, places the property in a multiple listing service (MLS) for other agents to access, and is responsible for staffing open houses, arranging private showings, and presenting and explaining offers to purchase real estate to the seller. The agent will also attend to the details of an accepted contract, such as inspections, and attend the closing with the seller.
A listing agent receives a fee based on a percentage of the sales price of the property. The percentage varies from state to state and province to province, but averages about 3.5% of the total sales price. Once a home or property owner enters into a listing contract with an agent, he or she is bound to the contract for a specified period of time. If, after the listing period expires, the agent has not found a buyer for the property, the property owner is free to enter into another contract with the same or a different real estate professional.