In the US we use a two agent system – one who represents the seller (known as the listing or seller’s agent) and one who represents the buyer (known as the buyer’s agent). Both parties have representation in the sale process. One agent can represent both the buyer and the seller (called a transaction broker) in the rare instances where the Realtor is also the listing agent for your favorite property.
The system works because all properties are made available to all Realtors via the Multiple Listing System (MLS). The MLS is where every property for sale is listed and updated which a Realtor can search to help locate the most suitable property for you. You only need to find one Realtor and he/she can find you any property, gain access and negotiate on your behalf.
It is the seller’s agent that lists the property on the MLS that charges the seller a commission; he/she simply splits the commission to the agent who brings a buyer to the table. The seller is still contractually obligated to pay the sales commission regardless, so you won’t be able to get a better deal if you don’t have an agent working on your behalf, (when no buyer agent is involved the sellers agent keeps 100% of both sides).
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