Can a real estate agent represent a buyer and a seller?

December 20, 2020
Buy Your Property in Your Name

Most people will buy and sell property at least once in their lifetime, yet despite the regularity of property transactions many still find the process to be a challenge. It usually involves several real estate professionals, including buyer’s agents and listing agents, so it’s important to be aware of their roles and who they represent.  

Can a real estate agent represent a buyer and a seller?

Dual agency is when a real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller. Dual agency is very rare as it’s extremely difficult to promote the best interests of both parties during a property transaction. It’s only possible when both the buyer and seller give consent to be represented by the same agent.

Rather than dual agency, a typical property transaction involves a buyer’s agent and a listing agent.

What’s a buyer’s agent?

buyer’s agent is a licenced professional who searches, evaluates and negotiates the sale of a property on behalf of a buyer. Unlike a real estate agent, they only represent the interest of the person looking to buy, not sell.

A buyer’s agent can take the hassle out of purchasing property by saving time, effort and stress. They know the questions to ask and where to get the right information, utilising this industry knowledge to negotiate a good price for any property.

The agent’s network is also beneficial. Depending on their experience, they may have an extensive contact list within the real estate industry, meaning they might be able to view properties that aren’t even on the market yet.

In some instances, but not always, an agent’s expertise can save the buyer more money on the purchase price than their fees. With that being said, the cost of a buyer’s agent is by no means free. For a property search, inspection and negotiation service, the agent may charge a percentage of the property’s sale price which can be as much as 3 per cent. For example, if you purchase a property for $500,000, you’re looking at a fee of $10,000 to $15,000 for the agent. 

A buyer’s agent can also act on behalf of a buyer at an auction. The fee for this service is usually significantly lower as the agent is simply bidding for the client rather than researching, searching for and evaluating properties.

Do you need a buyer’s agent to buy a house?

It’s not compulsory to use a buyer’s agent when purchasing property. In fact, many people will go through the transaction process entirely by themselves.

If you’re anxious about the process, time-poor or simply don’t want the hassle and are happy to pay the fee, then the use of a buyer’s agent solves this problem.

Real estate agent with couple in luxury homeWhat’s a listing agent?

listing agent, also known as a seller’s agent, represents the client selling the property. The agent lists and markets the property to potential buyers as well as assisting with the transaction process.

It’s important to be aware that while listing agents are required to provide the buyer with the truth regarding the property, they are not obligated to tell them confidential information about the seller. For example, a listing agent does not have to inform the person buying the property of the seller’s lowest acceptable price.

They are, however, legally obligated to disclose any information provided by the buyer to the seller. For example, if the buyer reveals their highest possible price, the agent is required to tell this information to the seller before they accept or decline an offer on the property.

Like a buyer’s agent, using a listing agent comes at a cost. Most agents receive a commission after the property is sold.

Do you need a listing agent to sell a property?

Whilst you’re not obligated to use a listing agent to sell a property it’s highly recommended. Selling a property without an agent involves deciding the sale price, engaging a qualified valuer to assess your property and advertising the property. You’ll need to negotiate the price with the potential buyer, obtain the deposit, provide the contract of sale and arrange for it to be signed for settlement. You’ll also need to engage a conveyancer or legal practitioner to prepare a vendor’s statement and contract of sale.

Searching for a property?

Whether you’re looking to buy, sell or rent property, is a good place to start. Find agents, research the property market and find your next move.

Soho is your expert team in Australian real estate, offering an innovative platform for effortless property searches. With deep insights into buying, renting, and market trends, we guide you to make informed decisions, whether it's your first home or exploring new suburbs.
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