What is a General & Special Agency in Real Estate?

real estate agency

The process of buying, selling, and negotiating is already quite complicated, but to make matters even more confusing, different types of real estate agencies come into the equation.

Typically, an agency describes the partnership between a principal and an agent. Agents in an agency can be categorized as general agents or special agents. When focusing on a special agency, this kind of agency involves primarily providing the hired agent authorized to represent a client in a specific and special transaction.

A general agency, on the other end, is one where the general agent has the authority to commit to a principal in a specific business and the agency relationship is usually continuous.

What Is A Real Estate Agency?

What Is A General Agency In Real Estate?

What Is Special Agency In Real Estate?

The Difference Between Special And General Real Estate Agents


What is a Real Estate Agency? 

Infographic summarising functions of Real Estate Agencies

Real estate agencies are established for the sole purpose of connecting buyers and sellers in the process of purchase, rental, or maintenance of property such as homes, land, and buildings. While operating a real estate office may seem quite gratifying, it is not as simple as it first appears. Most real estate agents must abide by a multitude of policies and guidelines.

Real estate agencies have the potential to generate substantial revenues in a short span of time and this makes it a very profitable business. An estate agency in Malaysia usually offers a 3 percent commission to their employed agents for each property sale/ purchase they make. Typically, the amount of commission is based on the final selling price in any close deal.

Surely, finding a house that meets your requirements in Kuala Lumpur might be difficult given the city’s rapid growth and fast pace. However, with the aid of top real estate companies in Malaysia, this may not be impossible.

To be specific, the services provided by real estate businesses go beyond simply assisting you in choosing your desired home. The services entail helping you in selling any real estate property you may already own.

You might be thinking, “Do I really need the assistance of an estate agency?” For simple real estate issues, a real estate agent’s assistance might not be required. Typically, only major real estate transactions, such as the purchase or sale of your home, may call for the services of a real estate agent.

While the road to becoming a real estate agent and being your own boss may appear to be rather straightforward, in reality, it requires strenuous effort to be put out. This entails managing intricate paperwork, offering the greatest service, dealing with different businesses and the list goes on and on.

The market involving real estate agencies in Malaysia has faced repeated ups and downs and has been affected by a multitude of elements, notably interest rates and the status of the economy since it is one of the sources of growth and the generator of global stability.

In light of the market crisis brought by the epidemic, causing the real estate industry to be in turmoil,  many investors—especially those just starting out in this line of work—are uncertain about the path that the real estate market is traveling.

However, in accordance with the projected recovery of the global market and its practically reaching the ‘endemic’ stage, Malaysia’s commercial real estate industry is expected to experience slight growth. If we think about it, the fundamental reality is that there will always be potential in the real estate market.

What is a General Agency in Real Estate?

Group discussing General Agency in Real Estate

A general agency allows an agent to administer a company and perform continuing duties on behalf of the client and property. In a variety of situations, a general agent typically possesses sufficient power to take actions and these acts are constrained to a particular event.

Any private constraints on an agent’s authority do not act on or influence third parties, and these parties are free to believe that an agent has the duty to exercise the general agent’s duties on their behalf.

A great example of a general agent is a property manager. A property manager is usually a general agent of the owner and he may be willing to oversee the entire financial and operational management of a sizeable number of properties and frequently participates on behalf of the customers and manage their transaction-related issues.

Similarly, real estate agents are general agents of any real estate firm that they manage. Furthermore, general agents are typically known to assist their clients with discovering the houses they desire and in return, they receive a commission on top of the base pay.

An attorney is necessary to create a real estate agency in this manner. This is due to the fact that a general agency cannot be established without a power of attorney.

What is Special Agency in Real Estate?

Understanding a Special Agency in Real Estate

A special agency is one that only deals with a ‘specific’ issue. In an agency as such, a special agent is hired to represent the principal in a particular activity and his authority is limited to the boundaries of the task. These agents are required to provide guidance in real estate services throughout the process of selling/ purchasing.

An example of a special agent with a special agent is the agency hiring a listing agent to sell a client’s home. Once the transaction is complete, the special agent’s work is done, thus, this relationship usually comes to a close. This indicates that the interaction between the agent and the customer terminates after the sale or purchase of the property is finalized.

What then do agents of special agencies do? Within the real estate industry, special agents have a number of responsibilities. Special agents usually have expertise in finding the best solutions and along with this, they prioritize the desires and demands of individual customers. Special agents in real estate administer paperwork, lead negotiations, arrange viewings for potential purchasers, and create purchase agreements after a deal is closed.

There are a few instances in which the position of an agent in a special agency is indicated, such as when the particular client only requires the agent’s assistance with a specific part of the transaction and not with any other aspect of it. This may occur if the customer requests the agent to promote and publicize the client’s property and the agent’s duties are limited to those tasks alone and nothing beyond it.

To help you in understanding better,  let’s suppose Anna (a seller) employed a special agent by the name of Alex to locate a prospective buyer for her house. Since Alex is a special agent, he should receive his commission after fulfilling the precise task he was assigned. In this instance, this was, finding a buyer for Anna’s home. Once Alex has found one, Anna has no authority over him and he is not to take on any more problems that may arise.

In comparison to other real estate agencies, the interaction between a client or principal in a special agency is far more specific.  This type of agency is very uncomplicated and straightforward.

The Difference Between Special and General Real Estate Agents

The notion of each of the two categories of agents—general and special—has been discussed above. Since they have distinct goals and abilities, special agents and general agents should not be confused with one another. They are categorized differently as per the distinctions between each one. A couple of these differences will be discussed below.

Understanding the concept of universal agents, which draws a contrast between the two types of agents, special and general, is necessary to comprehend the distinctions between the two types of agents.

A universal agent is one that has specialized in the field and has the authority to handle almost any of the principal’s issues, regardless of the kind. The authority of an agent as such is perpetual.

A special agent, on the other hand, solely acts as a client representative during particular transactions. Broadly speaking, general agents lay midway between the two types of agents. A general agent is required to offer a variety of services and is compensated with a commission over the course of a considerably longer relationship with the client.

The primary distinction between the two is that a special agent is only a real estate broker who enters into a listing agreement with a seller or buyer, as opposed to a general agent who performs ongoing services like those of a property agent.

To be more specific, a special agent might be referred to as a limited agent who, as previously indicated, has only limited authority and cannot represent you contractually. However, when it comes to getting legally bound by a contract, a general agent may help you to do so.

If an instance arises when due to unforeseen circumstances, you might not be able to close a sale, your general agent can do it for you, and his powers are not confined to a certain task. This is the true distinction between a general and a special real estate agent.


The real estate agency market in Malaysia and all over the globe has seen years of turmoil. With emerging technologies and the growing pace of the cities, it is essential to get in touch with top real estate agencies. Moving homes or selling an older property to make an investment in a more recent one has become a yearly effort due to the fast-paced city living.

As a result, it is imperative that we, as buyers and sellers, understand the real contrast between general and special agencies in real estate, as well as the distinction between each agent. Of course, this may not entirely address all of your concerns, and you may still be unsure of which agency is the ideal fit for you.

Nevertheless, don’t worry; get in touch with IQI Global to speak with a member of their outstanding workforce for further assistance.

If you’re interested to become a successful agent, don’t hesitate to be a part of our amazing team!




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