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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

  • Pending Sales for Massachusetts Homebuyers Maintain Steady Year-Over-Year Increases for Almost Four Years This February

    WALTHAM, Mass. – March 14, 2017 – The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® (MAR) reported today that ongoing buyer demand pushed pending sales up three percent over last year. Pending sales have been up 47 of the last 48 months, marking almost four years of positive gains in single family homes put under agreement. Realtors® confidence both in the market and in home prices was positive in February. 

     February Pending Sales:  

    Single Family February 2017 February 2016 % Change
    Sales 3,967 3,852 3.0%
    Median Price $330,000 $309,000 6.8%
    • Pending sales have been up 47 of the last 48 months  
    Condominium February 2017 February 2016 % Change
    Sales 1,558 1,566 -0.5%
    Median Price $313,000 $290,000 7.9%
    • Pending sales have been up or flat 17 of the last 18 months  

    “Buyers have been tireless these past four years, showing that the desire to live and work in Massachusetts is strong despite dwindling inventory and rising prices,” said 2017 MAR President Paul Yorkis, president of Patriot Real Estate in Medway.  

     Realtor® Market and Price Confidence Indexes:  

    Confidence Index February 2017 February 2016 %Change
    Market 75.20 68.66 10%
    Price 77.00 75.70 2%
    • The Realtor® Market Confidence Index was up for the 11th straight month
    • 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  

    “This is the highest recording Market Confidence Index for the month of February since we began recording the data in 2008,” said Yorkis. “This speaks to the strength of the market this past year, as well as looking ahead to the spring market of 2017."