Should I be A Seller's Agent or Buyer's Agent?
A real estate agent may decide to specialize their services to meet the needs of just one type of client: the buyer or the seller. Most state laws allow licensed real estate agents to do both — aid the buyer and the seller in transactions. However, many states limit or restrict representing both the buyer and seller in a single transaction. Still, some agents prefer to provide only one type of service to clients. For those completing their education in this field, it is important to know the differences in each area. Keep reading to learn more about the things to consider when deciding which type of agent to be.
Table of Contents
What a Buyer's Agent Does
A buyer's agent is an individual who is licensed to represent a person who plans to buy a home. They represent that individual's interests within the buying component of a real estate transaction. A buyer's agent represents that person as they work to help them locate the ideal home for their needs. Homebuyers typically sign a contract with a buyer's agent, which means they are dedicated to working with that person in the process.
Buyer's agents spend a good amount of time working hand-in-hand with people looking to buy a home. They do this to understand their needs, locate homes, show them homes, and provides hands-on support when it comes to completing a bid on a property and helping to close on the transaction. Most often, a buyer's agent has to get to know their target area to provide insight to the buyers about what to expect and how to meet their unique needs.
Advantages of Being a Buyer's Agent
Being a buyer's agent offers a range of benefits. A person in this field often works closely with the buyer, which means they have many one-on-one opportunities. Some additional advantages include:
- They do not have to worry about advertising a home or bringing people to a party. Rather, they work to take prospective buyers to several locations.
- They get to help people find their dream home — and that can be a rewarding component of this job.
- Buyer's agents often need to source their own leads, but successful home buyers often recommend their friends to these agents, making it a bit easier to find leads.
- A buyer's agent is tasked with helping buyers find a home to buy and spot red flags and ask questions. They can use their expertise in the field to help ensure clients receive the very best outcome possible.
- Many times, an agent's success in this field comes from being personable, honest, and upfront. For those that have these qualities, this may be one of the better career options available.
Buyer's agents have the flexibility to take on as many clients as they want and need. They do not have to invest in these individuals beyond what their time is worth, which differs from being a seller's agent. For those that have a solid understanding of homes or are dedicated to helping people individually, this may be a good route to take.
Disadvantages of Being a Buyer's Agent
Some challenges come with being a buyer's agent. Most often, this is a job for those who are patient and able to work closely with people who may need a long time to make a decision. Some disadvantages include:
- Buyer's agents need to meet their clients at homes for showings, and on average, it takes buyers 10 homes to find the one they put in an offer for. Being a buyer's agent requires a lot of driving, which can put wear and tear on their vehicle.
- Buyer's agents are also limited by the market and their client's budget. It can sometimes be challenging to tell a buyer they cannot get what they want because it is not available within their budget.
- A prospective buyer could walk away from a transaction at any time. That means any time spent on the prospect may be lost without any earnings from it. Vetting buyers to ensure they are ready to make a purchase can help reduce this risk.
What a Seller's Agent Does
A seller's agent handles the other side of the transaction. They work closely with the home's owner to sell the property to fit their goals and needs. For example, they typically spend some time looking over the home, making recommendations for what improvements may help raise the home's value, and offering insight into the property's value. They typically use various tools and data to determine the likely sale price of the property and educate the buyer on the steps they need to take to achieve their desired sale.
Seller's agents also market the property, handle any contracts or bids that come in, and help the seller move through the closing process. The seller's agent also often guides the seller on factors such as home inspections, whether or not to accept a bid, and what steps to take to find the best buyer for the property.
Advantages of Being a Seller's Agent
A seller's agent works hard to ensure that those who wish to sell their home can do so quickly and at the right price point. There are advantages to working as a seller's agent. Some examples of this include:
- Seller's agents work closely with property owners, which can be a rewarding experience. They provide insight and guidance at one of the most important times of a person's life — when they sell the home they have worked hard to maintain.
- These agents control a lot of the advertising and the marketing for the property they are charged with selling. This can offer some creative freedoms and enables an agent to showcase their skills in the field.
- Seller's agents have the benefit of using the MLS for most of their marketing. This can help to draw in interesting buyers quickly, allowing them to sell the property sooner in some situations.
- Seller's agents are less likely to have clients walk away from the transaction because they control the sale.
- The seller's agent does not have to spend as much time with clients on the road. Often, they meet with the sellers fewer times, which may mean they have more time to engage with multiple sellers or clients.
Seller's agents can have a lot of success without a lot of hard work in some of the hottest markets. However, their biggest task is to sell for as high as possible.
Disadvantages of Being a Seller's Agent
Working as a seller's agent offers many opportunities, but there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind. Here are a few key aspects to remember.
- Most often, the seller's agent will need to invest in marketing for the property. This may be paid through the brokerage or fees. However, the success of their marketing often determines the profit margin on the sale, so skill is important.
- Seller's agents often have to haggle with homeowners who may believe their home is worth more than it is. Using data to verify this information may prove to be supportive of this process.
- Sometimes these agents may struggle to find buyers for the property. This can happen when there is too much competition or the real estate market is not as strong as it may need to be to sell a home.
How to Choose Your Real Estate Career
It can be hard to know which route to take as a prospective real estate agent. As noted, it may be possible to do both, though doing so may mean having a more comprehensive level of skills. Those who are good at selling and marketing may fare best in an environment where they can work closely with their clients to present the home for sale. Individuals who love to chase a deal or enjoy spending time working closely with prospective buyers may thrive as they work as a buyer's agent.
A buyer's agent is often a friendly and upbeat person, and people who naturally have this type of personality may find themselves drawn to the role. These individuals enjoy exploring new homes and working with buyers to make their dreams of homeownership happen.
There is really no incorrect answer here. Buyer's agents and seller's agents both have different responsibilities that will appeal to different people, so it's about the agent knowing themself well enough to make that decision.
Finding the Best Real Estate Path
Often, during studying to become a real estate agent, it becomes more obvious what the best route for a career is. However, each individual needs to consider their own goals, the type of work they enjoy doing, and the type of people they want to work with on a routine basis. This may take some time to determine and often doesn't happen until a person is well on their way to building a career.