By Kilundo Mbithi

Whether you’re buying a new home or selling your existing property, working with a licensed estate agent will ensure that your transaction is handled quickly. A real estate agent can either be a buyer’s agent or a seller’s agent or a listing agent; depending on a client’s needs. Although a single agent may list properties for sale and work with buyers, each role will be a little different. To understand why you need an estate agent and what your agent should do for you, let’s take a look at each agent type and what they will do for you.

Buyer’s Real Estate Agent

When you’re ready to buy a home or an investment property, getting help from a real estate agent will expedite your search. Your buyer’s agent represents your interest during the entire real estate transaction and will work hard to make sure you get the best bang for your mortgage money.

Your realtor is an absolute asset when it comes to researching available homes for sale. S/he should have the geographical knowledge and familiarity with the neighborhood, along with information on amenities in the area and other insider information. He will also have a network of related professionals to aid you in completing your real estate transaction, including mortgage lenders, lawyers, and valuers.

When you are ready to make an offer on a home, your realtor will generate the paperwork to present to the seller and will negotiate on your behalf until you are either satisfied with the terms of the sale or are ready to continue looking. Once your offer is accepted, your real estate agent will help navigate each step in the closing process. If you weren’t pre-qualified for a home loan, s/he will also work with you to gather the necessary elements to obtain a mortgage.

In short, your buyer’s agent will walk you through each step of the buying process while handling more details than you could ever imagine.

Seller’s Real Estate Agent

When you’re ready to sell your home or investment property, finding a listing agent is the first step toward your success. Your listing agent will evaluate the market and help you price your home accordingly. He will also make suggestions for improving the exterior and interior of your home to make it more appealing and saleable.

Your agent will list your home for sale on multiple marketing platforms and get the word out about your home to other agents. He may hold promotional events to showcase your property. Like a buyer’s agent, your seller’s agent should have neighborhood familiarity, and other insider information to share with prospects.

While marketing and selling your home, your realtor will accentuate the positive aspects of your property and downplay its shortcomings. S/he will ceaselessly show your home and stay in constant communication with you. And when an offer is made on your home, your realtor will provide experienced advice on whether to take the offer, submit a counter-offer or reject the offer completely.

When a legitimate offer is made on your home, your real estate agent will show his true value by negotiating every detail to your advantage. At this point, you should have enough faith in your agent to trust his recommendations regarding the close of your sale. And then, put the paperwork in your realtor’s hands. Although some homeowners do put their house on the market for sale by owner, paying the associated fees to have a professional realtor handle your sale makes a lot of sense in today’s competitive market.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the role of a buyer’s agent and that of a seller’s agent are distinctly different, yet their paths intersect with each real estate transaction. Whether you are buying or selling, a professional real estate agent will be your ally from start to finish.

The Author is a Valuer & Registered Estate Agent and runs an investor education & coaching program at