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The Difference Between Hiring a Buyer’s Agent to Sell Your Home vs an Expert Listing Agent

Gretchen Coley

From the moment you meet her, you'll consider her a friend...

From the moment you meet her, you'll consider her a friend...

Aug 24 7 minutes read

So you've decided to sell your home... Now it’s time to find a real estate agent.

While you’re researching prospective real estate agents to interview, you’ll often come across two terms you may not be familiar with: buyer’s agents and listing agents. Though many potential sellers make the mistake in thinking that any real estate agent can sell your home, these terms indicate a difference in background and perspective when it comes to the process of selling a home. Here’s what you need to know before you decide to interview a buyer’s agent or a listing agent:

What is a Buyer’s Agent?

A buyer’s agent is obligated to put the best interests of the buyers in mind. In fact, a buyer’s agent contract will clearly state their fiduciary responsibility to the buyer. They’re diligent about everything relating to condition: Disclosures, inspection reports, making sure that any updates and repairs were reported properly. They know potential problems when they see them. A buyer’s agent is focused on price — after all, the goal of a buyer is to pay the least amount of money for the property that suits their needs. 

Professionally speaking, the goal of a buyer’s agent is to make a sale. They know how to engage buyers who would be interested in a home and how to best show a home in a way that appeals to a buyer. That diligence about condition translates into knowing where they can negotiate on price. A buyer’s agent also knows what can be changed easily and the improvements that would add value to a home. 

For some sellers, hiring a buyer’s agent is an attractive idea because you’d theoretically benefit from their specialized insights. Because they show so many homes and spend so much time with buyers, you’d get a peek into the minds of what potential homeowners want right now. However, hiring the buyer's agent that helped you find your home to sell it a few years later may not be the best option.

Meet Our Buyer's Agents

Buyer Specialist, Broker

Hello.   My name is Karen White.   Let’s get to know each other!  Raised in New York, I earned my social work degree in Albany.  After a successful career in healthcare, I had the privilege of focusing on my young children.  Like you, my husband and I chose to raise our family in North Carolina for its beauty, industry, diversity and of course, southern hospitality.  

Back to work and looking for an exciting career, I chose my best niche yet….. real estate in North Carolina!   It is an amazing adventure to buy or sell your home.  This journey can come with some stress.  I am here for you.  I look forward to providing the care and support you need to achieve your real estate goals with the best possible experience.  


I've had the pleasure of working with Gretchen long enough to know that we would be a great team.  That said, it is my pleasure to be the Client Concierge on the Gretchen Coley Properties’ team at Allen Tate.

Broker/REALTOR®

I’m so excited to introduce you to Megan Niesen.

Originally from Wisconsin and with over 15 years in real estate, the second you meet Megan you’ll understand why we are so thrilled to have her a part of our team. Many of her successes come from the fact that Megan is one of the most caring people that we know. She treats every single interaction with her clients as if they're her own family. Not only is she resourceful and service-oriented, she is organized and driven and has a track record to back it up.

After having a successful real estate business with tens of millions sold as an independent agent, we are excited to have her as the newest member of our team. She has lived in the South for over 20 years and has been in the Raleigh area for 5.

When she isn’t working, Megan is an incredible momma to her son. Together, they love to travel and be outdoors. They like to hike and bike ride and explore the city!

Can a Seller Hire a Buyer’s Agent?

Here’s the issue: How to actually hire a buyer’s agent to represent the sale of your home. Remember, buyer’s agents are obligated to the best interests of a buyer, not a seller. So, exclusive buyer’s agents likely will not work with a seller. 

Some buyer’s agents will work with a seller who will need to buy a property in the same area by handling both transactions. Occasionally, these agents can offer you a discount on services relating to listing your home, but this would depend on the real estate agent. If you don’t want to make multiple calls to multiple real estate agents, having sole representation for both transactions would cut down on the back-and-forth. 

Then, there are real estate agents who are generalists, but have expertise representing buyers and may even market their experience as a buyer’s agent on their websites. However, they are not exclusive buyer’s agents. You can ask these real estate agents to “put on their buyer’s agent” hat (so to speak) as you work together. 

What is a Listing Agent?

A listing agent is a real estate agent who specializes in working with sellers. They have a seller’s best interests in mind, which is to get the most money for their property in the shortest timeframe. Listing agents may also have specific expertise in a type of home: Historic homes, luxury properties, townhouses, condos, vacation homes, or even specific styles (like mid-century modern homes). 

Like a buyer’s agent, a listing agent is focused on making a sale. However, the route they take to get to the sale is a bit different. Their job is to achieve or exceed your asking price. Arriving at the price is based on comparable properties, plus specifics to your home that may add value. Then, the listing agent develops a marketing strategy to get buyers and agents interested but also presents your home in the best light. A listing agent will also spend time on staging your home and other changes you can make to bring out the beauty of your home. 

Listing agents have insights on what convinces buyers to make an offer on a home, how to distinguish your listing from similar homes, and how to adjust your strategy based on current local marketing conditions. Further, listing agents have an advantage when it comes to negotiation. They’re more likely to set a higher asking price than an agent who deals more with the buyers’ side of transactions. 

Meet Our Listing Agents

REALTOR®, Broker, New Home Specialist

From the moment you meet her, you'll consider her a friend. One of Gretchen’s greatest gifts is connecting with people, a priceless advantage when helping her customers buy and sell their homes.

Licensed in North Carolina since 2000, Gretchen Coley spent 12 years working directly with builders and developers to create and effectively market master-planned communities and the homes within them. She takes great pride in the life experiences and memories that are made in these homes and neighborhoods. Selling and successfully closing over 800 homes totaling over $250 million has helped her truly understand what is important to the clients she serves.

Gretchen is incredibly passionate about helping her clients. It is passion that allows her to match each homebuyer with their dream home in the perfect community where experiences and memories are created that last a lifetime. Through her Discover The Triangle video series, she introduces potential buyers to the communities they will love to call home.

Gretchen is known for her innovative use of technology and video in real estate and cutting-edge marketing tactics that lead to concrete results for her clients. Specializing in this technology and other tools of the trade necessary for today’s sellers ensures her clients get the most from their largest investment.

Her can-do attitude and ability to connect with clients as well as collaborate with other real estate professionals around the globe is a huge asset to both buyers and sellers. As a luxury certified specialist, Gretchen also has an additional level of understanding of what it takes to market, sell, negotiate and purchase high-end properties.

In 2016 Gretchen partnered with The Allen Tate Company. This powerful partnership has enhanced her industry presence both locally and globally. Gretchen has had the opportunity to work at many levels amongst a boutique and global network of real estate professionals. Gretchen’s years of industry experience and knowledge base make her ideally suited to market and sell your home. When Gretchen is not working, she enjoys time with her husband and three children. Much of her time is spent serving her community through political health and wellness endeavors.

Broker/REALTOR®, Strategic Pricing Specialist

Let me tell you a little bit about Devin!

Helping families achieve their hopes and dreams of home-ownership is a huge passion for Devin Curlings. After over 10 years of experience in customer service and being a full time mom, Devin stepped into real estate. As a military spouse,  she began her career as an on-site agent in a golf course community right outside of Fort Bragg in the Fayetteville, North Carolina area.

In addition to working outside of Fort Bragg, Devin became an expert in managing the pressure and normal stresses that come along with real estate and relocating with short notice. She is well versed in the VA loan process and derives great satisfaction in being able to work with military families.

Devin is ready and always willing to help ease buyers, sellers and builders by making the entire transaction as smooth and stress-free as possible.

Devin thrives in a fast-paced environment.  Eager to jump into the hot real estate market here in the Triangle and surround areas, she chose to partner with Gretchen Coley Properties at Allen Tate here in Raleigh.  With access to Allen Tate's rich history in buying and selling homes and her team's cutting edge marketing techniques and ideas, Devin is an extremely valuable asset as the new home specialist on her team.

Thoroughly enjoying the lifestyle that the Triangle has to offer, Devin can't wait to help you find your dream home!

Why Should I Hire a Listing Agent?

When hiring an agent to sell your home it's important to understand the different aspects that go into the sale from preparation and marketing to showings and negotiation. An agent that specializes in listing and selling homes will be prepared with a plan for your listing to come to market in the most effective way possible. 

Often times, what happens before a property is listed are the most important parts of selling the property. Between pricing strategy, staging, photography, videography, and online marketing listing agents have proven tactics for each of these steps. Once you're ready to list your home your listing agent will walk you through all of the steps of the process such as hosting open houses and navigating multiple offer situations. 

A buyer's agent may not be prepared or trained to handle all of the aspects of the sale as efficiently and successfully as a listing agent. Now more than ever, having an expert in your corner during a real estate transaction is vital to the sale of your home.

Meet Our Team of Agents

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