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General & Special Agent Types in Real Estate

Nicolaas Ackermann, Tisha Collins Batis
  • Author
    Nicolaas Ackermann

    Nicolaas has four years of professional work experience - having worked in hospitality, journalism, and marketing. He has a BA in Communication studies from the North-West University and has completed his TEFL qualification. He also has six years of writing experience complementing his qualified competence.

  • Instructor
    Tisha Collins Batis

    Tisha is a licensed real estate agent in Texas. She holds bachelor's in legal studies and a master's degree in criminal justice.

Discover what a special agent in real estate is. Read about types of agents and the differences between them. Understand the duties of a specific agent with examples. Updated: 05/17/2022

Table of Contents


Types of Agents

A real estate agent is a qualified individual who specializes in real estate transactions. They essentially make markets by bringing buyers and sellers together. Being qualified professionals, they also represent these buyers and sellers with the objective of trading the real estate in question for the highest possible price. The occupation requires a highly refined ability to sell as the majority of agents' income is made up of the commission that they receive for selling property.

Since real estate is generally categorized as either residential or commercial, agents tend to specialize in one of the two fields. This is due to how the needs of people looking for a home are far different from people looking to invest in something like a shopping mall. The agent would normally represent either the buyer or seller in a real estate transaction. When representing the buyer, the agent's primary objective is to negotiate a price that the buyer is willing to pay. On the other hand, when working for the seller, the agent would aim to sell the property for the highest possible price. This is so that the largest possible commission can be earned, and the seller can make the most profit.

Additionally, when representing a seller, the agent is also responsible for listing the property and advising the seller throughout the transaction process. The agent would offer advice on details such as how to price the property in question and how to maximize its value. This could be through sales techniques or physical improvements to the building. Listing a property today is far more convenient than traditional real estate practices. The online environment has made property listings extremely accessible to anyone with a mobile device.

Real estate agents representing buyers are responsible for compiling a requirements list of everything that the buyer wants in the property that they look to buy. This largely pertains to certain characteristics and traits such as a wide porch view, a large lawn, and a large living room. The buying agent, similar to the selling agent, acts as an intermediary in the transaction process by constantly receiving and delivering information concerning the negotiation. Their responsibilities last until the deal is completely closed.

Real estate agents face a number of challenges when conducting their work. They essentially have to sell very expensive goods in a market that is already illiquid. They have to endure the conflict involved in negotiating fair prices. The vast majority of their income is based on their performance. The main advantage associated with hiring an agent when looking to buy property is that the buyer does not have to look for the ideal property themselves. They also do not have to take on the responsibility of negotiating a fair price and handling all the paperwork. On the sales end, the seller does not have to engage in the conflict of negotiating a decent price for themselves. They also do not have to handle administrative matters like listing the property. Between buying and selling real estate there are three different types of agents. These are specific, general, and universal agents.

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What is a Special Agent in Real Estate?

A special agent in real estate, also known as a specific agent, can represent parties in both the selling and the buying of a home. This type of agent also has the authority to do a specific job for a client. The special agent has the narrowest task scope compared to general and universal agents. As a result, special agents tend to be employed for short periods of time and thus frequently take on new jobs. For example, a homeowner needs to have a property listed, so a special agent is hired to handle it.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an agent and a special agent?

An agent has more authority compared to a special agent. Where a special agent is limited to specific tasks, a general agent can conduct multiple tasks.

What do special agents do?

Special agents perform isolated tasks on behalf of clients. Their responsibility towards the client is limited to the assigned task.

What is a special agent in real estate?

A special agent in real estate can perform a specific task for a client. For example, they can list a property for a client.

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