You are not alone if you find yourself scratching your head with all the complicated real estate jargon used out there. Not everyone fully understands all the capabilities a real estate agent has to offer. Whether you are looking for a home or wanting to list the one you currently have, it is important to have some knowledge on the real estate basics. To help you along we have created a guide with the differences between a buyer and a seller's agent.

The Nitty-Gritty

Ideally, sellers will hire a listing agent to advertise and sell their home. Buyers, on the other hand, would hire an agent to help them find that home.

Buyer's Agent: The Why?

When you are in the hunt for a new home it is smart to bring in a buyer's agent for many reasons. When you choose to hire a buyers agent you are hiring a professional. Their goal is to find you a home that meets most of your criteria. Agents have access to many resources to help the buyer make an informed decision on the home they want to buy. Such resources are average price points, neighborhood safety ratings, key location points, etc. Agents have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). The MLS is a tool which compiles a lot of information about listings in your desired area. Most importantly, a buyer's agent assists with all legalities, negotiations and paperwork so you wont have to.

Seller's Agent: The Why?

When you have decided it is time to sell your home, hiring a listing agent can make the difference. A recent study ( resulted in 90% of the homes listed with an agent, were sold. This is no coincidence; a listing agent has all the same tools a buyer agent has along with a strategic plan on how they are going to want to market your home. Having a listing agent also benefits you when it comes to showing the home. They can prepare it in such a way to allow the prospective buyer imagine the right feel for their new potential home.

Sounds easy enough, no?

Well here is where things get a little bit muddled.

While you move through the real estate process, the buyer's agent may be referred to as a selling agent. Selling agent and seller's agent can become confusing to anyone not paying attention. This can be mistaken and when they hear selling agent, may link the idea they're the listing agent; which is not the case.

Here is how this works. Before any one person signs a contract, the agent representing the buyers is referred to as the buyers agent. After the contract of sale is executed, the buyers agent becomes the selling agent. The actual definition of a selling agent is an agent who has sold the home. In other words, the brought in the buyers and they agreed to purchase the home. That agent sold them the home, labeling them the selling agent.

Truth is, though, both buyers agent and selling agent are used together all the time; they are interchangeable. But you're probably asking, can't the buyers agent be the same as a sellers agent. The answer is yes. That happens when the agent has the sellers who are selling the home AND the buyers who are wanting the home. There is another term for that, too. They are known as single agents and pledge their confidentiality to their clients.

Agents have a fiduciary responsibility to their clients.Their job is to either maximize their clients earning potential or minimize the amount of money their client spends. Agents are messengers and do the best they can to relay messages back and forth between each other and their clients. Agents jobs are also to manage emotion. Once decisions are made emotionally there is a high probability the transaction will fall apart.

Trust in your real estate agent and know they have your best interest at heart. They will do everything they can to maximize your potential; and efficiently, too. Lean on them for support and believe they will deliver with whatever real estate goals you may have.