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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

  • Massachusetts Pending Home Sales and Median Price Up Again in June

    The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) reported today that single-family pending home sales were up over nine percent in June from last year. Pending condominium sales were also up more than 12 percent. The median price for both single-family homes and condos saw a hike, with the single-family median price rising over the $400,000 mark. Realtors® confidence both in the market and in home prices dipped slightly in June. This month’s “Hot Topic” question finds that the majority of Realtors® surveyed have had at least one transaction that was an all-cash deal (i.e. no mortgage involved) since the beginning of the year.

    June Pending Sales: 

    Single Family June 2017 June2016 % Change
    Sales 6,723 6,128 9.7%
    Median Price $410,000 $380,000 7.9%
    • Pending sales have been up 51 of the last 52 months 
    Condominium June2017 June2016 % Change
    Sales 2,596 2,307 12.5%
    Median Price $370,000 $349,900 2.9%
    • Pending sales have been up or flat 20 of the last 22 months 

    “The increase in homes put under agreement this month may be a positive sign for a spring market that has suffered plummeting inventory,” said 2017 MAR President Paul Yorkis, president of Patriot Real Estate in Medway. “However, median prices have continued to rise, which can push some buyers out of the market.”

    Realtor® Market and Price Confidence Indexes: 

    Confidence Index June2017 June2016 %Change
    Market 80.73 80.97 -0.29%
    Price 71.79 73.87 -2.82%
    • The Realtor® Market Confidence Index went down for the first time in 27 months
    • The Realtor® Price Confidence Index went down for the first time in six months
    • Measured on a 100-point scale, a score of 50 is the midpoint between a “strong” (100 points) and a “weak” (0 points) market condition  

    “The Realtor® Market Confidence Index has dipped year-over-year for the first time in over two years, indicating that Realtors® are growing concerned about some of their buyers being able to succeed in this market,” said Yorkis. “However, both indexes reveal that ultimately Realtors® remain positive. We just need to see more inventory to keep up with the demand.”

    With home inventory being as tight as it is, you want to give yourself every advantage if you are thinking of buying a home in Massachusetts. For the best possible experience, be sure to work with an agent who is a member of the Massachusetts Association of Buyer Agents.