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Real Estate Agent types

Types of Agents: Seller Agents and Buyer Agents

As a non-profit member organization, MABA is committed to helping home buyers in Massachusetts make informed decisions. Real estate transactions can be complex, time consuming and expensive. One of the most important decisions you will make is choosing your real estate professional. It is critical to understand the differences between a seller agent and a buyer agent.

Most buyers and sellers choose to engage the services of a real estate broker because they do not have the time nor the expertise to navigate the process alone. Typically there is no additional cost to securing a buyer agent.

Beware of double agents and dual agency relationships. The courts have made it challenging for a consumer to easily understand the terminology and fiduciary responsibility by agent type.

Seller Agents work for the seller. A seller's agent cannot be your advocate or advise you about property values because he works for sellers. In addition, if you work with a seller's agent he or she must tell the seller anything he knows about you which would affect the seller's decision making.

There are two categories of sellers' agents - listing agents and their cooperating subagents. This is the traditional real estate system where the seller is represented by all the agents in the transaction, and the buyer essentially represents himself.

Buyer agents work for the buyer. A buyer agent offers the services in the list below. If you form an agency relationship with a real estate broker, the current law mandates that as your agent he owes you, the client, very specific duties. For example, an agent must put your interests first even before his own, be obedient to your wishes (within the law), protect your confidentiality, disclose facts that might affect your decisions, and negotiate on your behalf. The courts view an agent as an advocate of one party, not as a middleman or facilitator for both buyer and seller. You need to get this in writing prior to working together to ensure you have engaged a buyer agent and not a seller agent or a transactional agent as there may not be a fiduciary commitment in place to serve your needs as the buyer.

Seller vs. Buyer Agent - What Services Do you Want your Broker to Provide?

Services / Duties Provided
Seller Agent
Buyer Agent
Arrange property showings
Assist with financing
Provide property data
Explain forms / agreements
Monitor closing
Prepare property value study
Represent buyers on MLS listed properties PLUS bank properties, auctions, FSBOs, new construction
Promote and protect interests of the buyer at all times
Advise the buyer, even if it means pointing out reasons not to buy
Disclose all research about property history & liens
Negotiate in favor of the buyer for best price & terms
Structure offer with the buyer's best interests in mind
Keep buyer's financial capabilities / thoughts confidential unless authorized to disclose

Latest from the Blog

  • Closed Home Sales Down in April After Record Inventory Lows and Rising Prices

    Median Sales Prices Have Seen Year-Over-Year Increases for 19 Straight Months

    WALTHAM, Mass. – May 23, 2017 – The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) reported today that low inventory and rising prices caught up to the spring market, with single-family home sales decreasing over eight percent from this time last year. Both single-family and condominium prices saw a hike. Condominium sales decreased almost 10 percent from April 2016.

    April Closed Sales:

    Single-Family April 2017 April 2016 %Change
    Sales 3,735 4,082 -8.5%
    Median Price $362,500 $349,900 +3.6%
    • Closed sales have been down for four out of the last 12 months
    • Median prices have been up or flat for 16 out of the last 17 months
    Condominium April 2017 April 2016 %Change
    Sales 1,455 1,607 -9.5%
    Median Price $345,000 $329,950 +4.6%
    • Closed sales have been down for four out of the last 12 months
    • Median prices have been up or flat for 16 out of the last 17 months

    “With the current trend of plunging inventory and rising prices, the odds were strong that sales increases of the winter market would be unsustainable through the spring,” said 2017 MAR President Paul Yorkis, president of Patriot Real Estate in Medway. “The demand is there; we just need more homes on the market to satisfy that demand.”

    Inventory and Days on Market:

    Single-Family April 2017 April 2016 %Change
    Inventory 13,234 19,392 -31.8%
    Months of Supply 2.7 4.0 -32.5%
    Days on Market 81 107 -24.3%
    New Listings 7,706 8,513 -9.5%
    • 62nd time in the last 63 months of year-over-year inventory decreases
    Condominium April 2017 April 2016 %Change
    Inventory 1,455 1,607 -9.5%
    Months of Supply 2.0 2.8 -28.6%
    Days on Market 60 78 -23.1%
    New Listings 2,640 2,971 -11.1%
    • Inventory down for 16 out of the last 17 months

    “Unfortunately, our existing level of inventory makes it hard for us to meet our current and future housing needs,” said Yorkis. “If we don’t do anything soon, it will have a negative impact on the entire Massachusetts economy.”

    If you are thinking of buying a home anywhere in the state of Massachusetts, it is in your best interest to work with a member of the Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents. These men and women are dedicated to working exclusively on your behalf to ensure that you have the best possible home-buying experience. Find a MABA agent here.