Listing Agent vs. Selling Agent: What’s the difference?

It’s time to buy a new home! The question is, do you need an agent to help you find the perfect space? And if so, what type of agent do you hire—a listing agent, selling agent, seller’s agent? The list goes on! Real estate lingo can be confusing, which is why we’re here to clear things up. When it comes time for buying or selling a home, here is everything you need to know about a listing agent vs. selling agent, and which one is right for you.

What is a Listing Agent?

A listing agent, also called a seller’s agent, is responsible for listing a home for sale. They represent the seller throughout the real estate process. A listing agent is well versed in market trends and prices and offers expert knowledge to homeowners wishing to sell their home.

As a homeowner, you can choose to list your home for sale yourself, or you can opt to work with a listing agent. There are several benefits to hiring a real estate agent to help you list and sell your home. Listing agents are experienced negotiators and marketers. They can help you determine the best list price for your market and neighborhood, use their network to bring in potential buyers, and help you negotiate offers.

Listing agents also help homeowners navigate the contracts and legal responsibilities involved in selling a home. Having an agent walk you through the home selling process can alleviate stress and free up your time to pursue your next home purchase.

What is a Selling Agent?

A selling agent—not to be confused with seller’s agent— represents a home buyer. The terminology can be confusing, which is why selling agents are also commonly referred to as buyer’s agents.

It is possible to buy a new home without the support of a real estate agent. Having a selling agent in your corner, however, can help you expedite the home buying journey.

Selling agents spend time researching your desired area and neighborhoods to find homes that fit your budget and needs. They represent your interests when negotiating the price for a home, and they also help home buyers with the process of setting up an inspection and terminating contracts if necessary.

Most importantly, selling agents can help save you time by doing much of the upfront home research for you. Because of their knowledge of the area and the market, they can ensure you tour homes that fit both your budget and your lifestyle. Instead of wasting time visiting multiple open houses every week, a selling agent keeps you on track to find your next dream home.

Listing Agent vs. Selling Agent Compensation

In most cases, both the listing agent and the selling agent receive a commission at the close of a home sale. The commission comes out of the seller’s closing cost and is determined when the home is listed for sale. A typical commission is around 6% of the sale price, but a homeowner can negotiate a different rate with the listing agent.

In this scenario, if a seller agrees to a 6% commission, then the listing agent and selling agent will most likely split the fee, each receiving 3%. If the seller and listing agent have negotiated a different commission, then sometimes the final amount is split unevenly between the listing agent and selling agent (e.g., 3% and 2.5%).

There are times, however, when the buyer must pay the fee for hiring a selling agent. For example, if you choose to purchase a home that is being sold by the owner (For Sale by Owner), then the buyer is expected to pay the fee for the selling agent.

On the other hand, a listing agent will sometimes find a buyer that has not hired a selling agent. In this case, the listing agent would receive the entire commission from the home sale.

Commissions and fees are all negotiated upfront before you begin the home buying or selling process. It is important to discuss this with your listing agent or selling agent before signing a contract to work with them.

The Benefits of Hiring a Real Estate Agent

Do you even need an agent to buy or sell a home? The short answer is no. For many homeowners and home buyers, however, the real estate process can feel both time-consuming and overwhelming. Working with a real estate agent affords you peace of mind that you will get the best value and securely navigate contracts no matter which side of the real estate process you are on.

While we’ve looked at some of the obvious benefits of working with a listing agent and selling agent, their unique expertise can augment home buying and selling in many ways.

Listing Agent

  • Works with homeowners to make suggestions for adding value to the home before listing.
  • Provides access to professional painters, landscapers, and stagers to help you gain additional revenue.
  • Does market research to ensure your property is listed to sell.
  • Hires a professional photographer and/or videographer to properly market your home.
  • Hosts open houses and showings.
  • Manages offers, negotiations, and closing paperwork.

Selling Agent

  • Has extensive knowledge of your area and can recommend neighborhoods, schools, and suggested areas based on your lifestyle.
  • Helps you find appropriate financing and can answer questions about financing options.
  • Researches properties and schedules showings with the listing agent.
  • Manages the preparation of an offer, purchase agreement, negotiations, and closing paperwork.

Real estate agents, in some cases, will specialize as a listing agent or selling agent. You can even find agents who work with homes that have been on the market without selling, helping homeowners better prepare their homes for sale.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, a real estate agent’s unique knowledge ensures the details are being expertly handled while you get to focus on the next chapter of your life.

Match with an Agent through LemonBrew

Hiring an agent to help you buy or sell your next home makes all the difference, but finding that right agent can be challenging. Which is why we built LemonBrew.

LemonBrew’s tools and matching technology take the work out of finding the perfect listing agent or selling agent for your next real estate transaction. Simply sign up, share your real estate goals, and get matched with a qualified, certified, hyper-local real estate agent. Not only that, but when you buy, you get a cash rebate at closing.

LemonBrew’s proprietary matching algorithm helps you find the right agent for your specific needs. Instead of wasting time trying to navigate the world of real estate, you get expert knowledge on your side, money in your pocket, and the house of your dreams.

Ready to get matched with a professional and certified listing agent or selling agent? Get started for free at