What Is a Special Agent in Real Estate and What Do They Do?

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Written By Justin McGill

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If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, you’ll likely come across the term “special agent” at some point. But what is a special agent in real estate?

A special agent in real estate is a professional who has been specially trained and licensed to represent buyers or sellers in a particular activity. The authority of the special agent is limited to the boundaries of that task.

I used a special agent when I bought my first house last year. Since I was new to the process, I found having someone there to guide me through it all extremely helpful. My agent answered all of my questions (no matter how small), helped negotiate on my behalf, and ultimately made sure that everything went smoothly from start to finish.

Let’s look closer into what is a special agent in real estate and their unique responsibilities.

What is a Special Agent in Real Estate?

Special real estate agents have several different tasks.

Agents who specialize in finding solutions usually work with customers and understand their individual needs.

What is a Real Estate Agent?

A real estate agent is a person who acts on behalf of the client (the buyer or seller) in a real estate transaction.

Not all companies that provide residential real estate sales services are legally required to use a licensed real estate agent. This is because using employees rather than agents can shield the company from liability for its actions.

Some agents may work as freelancers, while others work for larger companies or agencies.

Many people mistakenly believe that all real estate agents are either listing or buying specialists.

What is Special Agency?

In agencies that deal with specific issues, special agents represent the interests of a principal in an activity. Their authority is limited only to the activity they’re involved in.

A special agent is an individual who has been hired by an agency to provide guidance and assistance in real estate services. This type of agent is usually only involved in the process of selling or purchasing a property, and once the transaction is complete, their work is done.

As a result, the relationship between the agent and customer typically ends after the sale or purchase has been finalized.

Special agents are real estate agents who work for real estate companies. They perform a variety of tasks, including listing homes, showing homes, and negotiating sales.

Agents who specialize in finding solutions will know how to best meet the demands of each individual customer.

Special agents in real estate are responsible for a variety of tasks, from paperwork and negotiations to arranging viewings and creating purchase agreements. They play an important role in ensuring that the entire process runs smoothly, from start to finish.

There are a few instances where the position of agents is indicated such as when the client only needs them to assist with specific parts of the deal and not any others.

This can happen when a customer asks an agent to only handle promoting and advertising for their property. The agent would then just be responsible for those specific duties and nothing more.

Here’s how a special agent works.

Let’s suppose Anna the seller hires special agent Alex to locate a prospective buyer for her house.

As a special agent, Alex is entitled to his commission after completing the specific task he was assigned.

As soon as Alex finds a buyer for Anna’s home, his job is done and Anna has no authority over him. He shouldn’t take on any more problems that may arise.

Compared to other types of real estate agents, special agents have a very specific relationship with their clients. This relationship is straightforward.

Special Agents vs. General Real Estate Agents

Special agents and generalists have different goals, so they should not be confused.

They are categorized differently as per the distinctions between each one.

A universal agent has specialized in the field and has the authority to handle almost any of the principal’s issues, regardless of the kind. The agent’s authority is permanent.

On the other hand, a special agent is someone who solely represents a client during particular transactions.

General agents are somewhere in between the two types of agents.

A general agent offers a variety of services and is compensated for this with a commission over a longer period of time. This allows them to build a relationship with their client, which is essential for any successful business deal.

In contrast, a special agent is only a real estate broker who enters into a listing agreement with a seller or buyer. They cannot represent you legally.

However, when it comes to getting legally bound by a contract, a general agent may help you to do so.

If an unforeseen circumstance should arise and you are unable to close a sale, your general agent has the authority to do so on your behalf. His powers are not limited to any one task, giving you peace of mind in knowing that your interests will be represented no matter what.

This is the distinction that separates general real estate agents from special agents.

Agency Coupled With An Interest

An agent whose reimbursement depends on his authority to act as an agent is said to have an agency coupled with an interest.

A book agent, for example, agrees to sell a manuscript to a publisher in return for a percentage of all sales of the book.

The book agent also acts as a collection agent to ensure that his commission will be paid.

An author’s agent typically agrees to sell literary works to a publisher in exchange for a percentage of the author’s earnings from the sale of the work. The literary agent may also act as a collection agent to secure payment of their commission.

By agreeing with the author that the agency is coupled with an interest, the agent can prevent his own rights from being terminated.

What is a Subagent?

An agent may need to appoint other agents to help carry out their duties. These appointments may or may not be authorized by the client.

An insurance agency, for instance, may appoint a general agent to oversee offices throughout the state. The real estate agent will conduct business through real estate agents of her own choice.

These agents are considered sub-agents of the primary agency if the agency had the authority from the client to delegate tasks to them.

For legal purposes, subagents are agents of both the principal and the principal’s general agent. Both the principal and the general agent are liable for the subagent’s conduct, although normally the general agent agrees to be primarily liable.

Why Would a Real Estate Broker Hire a Special Agent?

Real estate agents who work for firms or brokerages typically are hired on as special agents and fulfill obligations to both buyers and sellers.

A real estate agent can act as a middleman between buyers and sellers. This is because they do not have any personal interest in the transaction. Therefore, both parties can benefit from using their services.

A real estate special agent is beneficial to a broker because they are only compensated slightly less than a full broker’s rate. This saves both the buyer and the seller money.

A real estate broker may hire a special agent for assistance with buyers or sellers who are difficult to work with. While there is no guarantee that the agent will be successful in handling either side, it is worth trying to provide the best possible service to the broker’s clients.

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

A general agent is an individual who is authorized by another person or organization to represent them in certain transactions. A special agent is an individual who has been appointed by a principal to perform a specific task or duty on their behalf.

What Are the 4 Types of Real Estate Agents?

The four types of agents are general agents, special agents, subagents, and independent contractors.

General agents have the authority to represent their principal in all matters within the scope of their agency.

Special agents have limited authority and can only act on specific instructions from their principal.

Subagents are appointed by the agent and work under the agent’s supervision.

Independent contractors are not under the control of the principal and are not subject to the same duties as an agent.


What is a special agent in real estate? If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, working with a special agent is something worth considering! Special agents are highly trained and licensed professionals who can help make the process go smoothly from start to finish. So if you have any questions about what is a special agent in real estate, don’t hesitate to ask – they’ll be more than happy to help out!

Justin McGill