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The Important Differences Between a Buyer’s and Seller’s Agents

10 Aug 2021 | 12 minutes read

In most property transactions, there are 2 main parties involved; the buyer and the seller, and both sides usually have an agent that represents them and be the mediators throughout the whole sale process. However, depending on who they are representing, buyer or seller, each agent bears their own unique roles and responsibilities to carry out.

The obvious difference between a buyer’s and seller’s agent is that they represent opposite interests, negotiating with each other to ensure whoever they are representing gets the best deal from the transaction.

Apart from just representing opposite parties however, the two types of agents have different functions and responsibilities throughout the selling process. Here are the important differences between a buyer’s and seller’s agents that you need to know:

1. On property listings

Buyer’s agent

When it comes to property listings, the buyer’s agent will shortlist and recommend developments that suit the buyer’s needs. Moreover, if you’re eyeing a home with various amenities like the ease of accessibility to public transport nearby, a good agent would provide you with options that fit your criteria.

An experienced agent would also be familiar with the market value of similar properties in the area, and they can inform their clients on the price range to expect to pay when making an offer. They should be well informed about any upcoming plans on a development, and can therefore advise the buyer on its prospects and whether it is a worthwhile investment. 

A good agent would not only show you the pros of the properties, but also present you with the negatives and possible solutions if any, to assist you in making the right decision. 

For instance, let’s say a property fits your criteria, but is located near the expressway. A good agent would caution their client on the constant noise that may come from cars using the expressway, and can offer their clients solutions to consider such as installing thicker window glass, to reduce the noise levels.

Seller’s agent

For the seller’s agent, he or she would also be familiar with the market value of similar properties that have been sold recently in the area. The agent would help price the seller’s home within an optimal range to ensure it can sell for the highest possible value, while not being loop overpriced at the same time.

When they list a property on the market, they make sure to highlight any amenities in the listing, or any quality of a home that can help make the shortlist of a buyer’s agent. While a Loop good seller’s agent will highlight the positives of a property, they would also maintain transparency on the negatives when showing it to the buyer’s party.

2. On preparing for and conducting property viewings

Buyer’s agent

After shortlisting the properties that the buyer is interested in viewing, the buyer’s agent will make appointments with the seller’s agent for viewing. It is their responsibility to coordinate timings with the client to view the property, sometimes adhering to a client’s busy schedule.

During this period, there may be many questions asked by the buyer regarding the property. As many buyers may be purchasing a home for the first time, they may not know the ins and outs of choosing the right property. This is when the buyer’s agent will keep their clients in the know on the prospects of certain properties.

For example, It could be regarding upcoming plans for the development that may influence the resale potential of the property. Well informed agents would typically know the answers to most of the buyer’s questions, but if they don’t, they always make it a point to find out and come back with an answer.

Seller’s agent

For the seller’s agent, they can do a couple more things for the home seller in order to get the property ready for viewings. Firstly, they will ensure that your home is properly staged for property viewings. This includes doing a walk through of your home, and providing advice on the touch ups that needs to be done around the house.

Experienced agents will be able to provide contacts for contractors who can do these touch ups, and can recommend them to handle the repairs on your property as well.

Additionally, after the house is staged, the seller’s agent may hire a professional photographer to take photos of the property for listing and to market it online. They know what makes a home sell, and good images of a home can showcase the qualities to attract potential buyers. The agent would then liaise with potential buyers for property viewings on the seller’s behalf, ensuring that the home for sale is well presented.

3. On legal proceedings

Buyer’s agent

As purchasing a home is a huge financial commitment, there are many legal proceedings and documents that need to be submitted and verified before the transaction is completed. As buyers may be purchasing a home for the first time, the buyer’s agent is responsible for seeing through the legal procedures with their clients.

Good agents will provide you with multiple options and instructions for you to get your housing loans, as well as recommend trusted lawyers whom they might have worked with before. Many experienced agents can also advise on the buyer’s eligibility to be granted a home loan, to ensure that it is eventually approved.

Seller’s agent

On the part of the seller’s agent, they need not be dealing with the buyer’s chosen bank for the housing loan, but the agent will still need to ensure the buyer is pre-approved for a loan. 

Throughout the home sale process, a good agent will act as the mediator between the seller, buyer’s agent and even the buyer too so as to eliminate any surprises at the closing table.

Once all the legal proceedings have been taken care of, the buyer and seller will then be able to sign the Sales and Purchase Agreement to complete the home transaction.

4. On agent commission

Buyer’s agent

For most HDB resale transactions, the buyers usually pay their agents commission of up to 1 percent of the sale price. On the other hand, for private residential resale transactions, the buyer’s and seller’s agents typically split the commission from the successful transaction. This is also referred to as co-broke, and it is common in many private residential resale transactions.

Seller’s agent

For a HDB resale, we are typically looking at 1 to 2 percent commission. As for private residential resale, it may go up to 5 percent depending on the urgency of the seller or the type of property to be sold.

Many home sellers are not aware that they can negotiate with their agent on the commissions payable. This is usually agreed upon from the beginning, and can be set based on how much time the agent would need to sell the property for within the optimal price range.

Remember however, that a seller’s agent is engaged to help save valuable time as they will be the one facilitating the transaction, therefore the commission set should justify this service of theirs.

To sum up the differences

Both the buyer’s and seller’s agents have similar goals, but have distinctly different responsibilities throughout the entire home selling process. A buyer’s agent ensures that their client finds their dream home at an affordable price.

On the other hand a seller’s agent would ensure that their client sells their property at a price that they can make a good profit out of.

It is important to know what to look out for in agents, and what they can be doing for you in different stages of your home transaction, be it as a buyer or seller. By paying attention to these things, you’ll be able to spot how well your agent performs their roles, responsibilities, and representation of you in the transaction.

Last updated on 10 Aug 2021

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