The typical property sale involves at least two different types of real estate agents: the seller’s agent, also referred to as the listing agent, and the agent representing the buyer. This agent is often referred to as the selling agent. There are ways to find out who the listing agent was for a home sold in your neighborhood. If you’re looking for a realtor with a good track record for selling homes like yours, then you may also want to find out about the selling agent.
Listing Agent vs Selling Agent
The listing agent is responsible for marketing a property, which involves much more than just putting a "For Sale" sign in the lawn. A listing agent will work with a homeowner to set a competitive price that reflects the current local housing market. They create advertising materials for a home sale, including flyers, videos and newspaper and online ads. A listing agent may also style a home to make it more attractive to prospective buyers and hold open house events to attract attention to the sale. Finally, the listing agent will help the buyer negotiate and close a deal for the sale of the home.
The selling agent represents the buyer. This nomenclature is a bit confusing, but it’s based on the fact that the agent who works with the buyer is usually the person who brings the buyer to the home and makes the sale possible. Selling agents work with clients to find out what type of property they’re looking for and how much they want to spend. They locate suitable properties and set up showings with listing agents. They also help buyers make offers, negotiate final prices and complete the home purchase process.
Finding Real Estate Agent Information
Some details about a home sale become part of the public record when the sale is recorded with the local jurisdiction. This includes the date of the sale and selling price. It may also include the amount of mortgage taken out and the lending institution. The names of the real estate agents involved in the transfer of the home’s ownership do not become part of the public record.
Zillow.com publishes the names of the real estate agents involved in some recent home sales. On the website, go to Recent Home Sales on the Buy menu. You can then find a property of interest by selecting from recent sales on a map or by typing in an address. On the information page for the property, expand Price/Tax History to see history of sales, including the date and selling pricing. There’s also a column for agents that will list both the buyer’s and seller’s agents. You can click on an agent’s name for additional information about the agent.
Checking an MLS Listing
An MLS (Multiple Listing Service) listing is a tool used by real estate professionals to share information about properties on the market. The listing is actually a database that tracks information about homes from the time they are put on the market for sale through the completion of the sale transaction. Real estate websites like Zillow and Trulia use MLS information for their property information pages.
The name of the listing agent for a home that’s for sale or recently sold can be found in the MLS. In many areas, the listing isn’t available to the general public, but local real estate agents are usually happy to share information. Some local MLS agencies put property listings online, which MLSListing.com does for counties in Northern and Southern California. You can search on the website for recently sold properties and find the name of the listing agent and broker.
- A friendly realtor from out of the area is ideal because she is not as interested in soliciting your business. If you are trying to find a local agent, an out of area agent is usually happy to assist you with research. He will often have access to the local Multiple Listing Service or can make calls to fellow agents for information. They will arrange an introduction and be able to collect a referral fee from any resulting transaction. A referral agreement between agents doesn’t cost or obligate you in any way and is common practice in the industry.
- Be aware that most realtors will avoid directing you to another agent. The only exception would be an out of area realtor. Real estate is a very competitive business. Any realtor you contact will want to know the reason for your curiosity. Even if you have no immediate need to buy or sell, they will resist directing you elsewhere.
Catie Watson spent three decades in the corporate world before becoming a freelance writer. She has an English degree from UC Berkeley and specializes in topics related to personal finance, careers and business.