The Difference Between a Buyer Agent and Listing Agent?
Published on September 11th, 2022

Buying and selling a house can be a significant life decision. If you’re a first-time home buyer or seller, there is much to learn about real estate. Though you can rely on a trained real estate professional to have the most significant knowledge, it’s still important to know the basics.  You may have been approached by a buyer’s agent or met the listing agent at an open house. Either way, knowing the difference between a Buyer Agent and Listing Agent is a key piece to buying and selling real estate in Guelph.


One of the first things to understand when it comes to a listing agent vs a buyer’s agent is that they are certified and trained to do both! Most agents represent buyers and sellers. Some may choose to be exclusive to buyers or sellers, but their qualifications to represent both are still applicable.

Buyer Agent

A Buyer’s agent works for the buyer. Ultimately their job is to negotiate the best possible price with the best terms for the homebuyer. They’ll do a lot of work looking at the price histories of the homes buyers are looking at, the price of comparable homes in the neighbourhood, and what the market is doing. A good Buyer’s Agent will also know how items inside the house or on the property can affect value. They will ensure buyers are protected and represented when making offers, including asking for conditions on the offer like home inspections or financing options.

Listing Agent

A Listing Agent is interchangeably called a seller’s agent. They represent the seller of a home. They will help list the home to the public, host open houses, and coordinate showings with buyer’s agents and clients. They’ll set a competitive price based on the market and comparable homes in the neighbourhood and bring in potential buyers. They help represent the seller’s interests when negotiating with the buyer’s agent and clients.

Multiple Representation

Sometimes, during a transaction, the real estate agent is neither a buyer’s or seller’s agent but both. This is called Multiple Representation. This means a single agent can represent both the buyer and seller within the same transaction. However, the professional real estate agent must negotiate each end of the deal with neutrality.

How Are They Paid?

How do the buyer and the listing agent get paid when a home sells? When a home sells, the commissions are paid by the seller and divided between the buyer’s agent and the listing agent.

The payout is generally based on a percentage of the home’s final sale price, set by the listing agent.  Another type of payment structure is the fixed or flat fee. It’s not a percentage; it’s a dollar amount. Finally, there is the combination. This combines the rate and the fixed cost. The seller’s agent sets their commission fee and then determines what percentage or set fee gets paid out to the buyer’s agent.

Note: Some agents will offer services beyond what a buyer or seller contracts the agent for, which would be paid upfront. There are three types of real estate commissions in Ontario.

Both a buyer’s agent and a listing agent have the specific skill sets and connections needed to ensure an informed listing and a fair purchase for both parties. Hopefully, this guide will help you to prepare for a discussion with a real estate professional to help you sell and buy your next property.

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