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Sole Agent, Joint Sole Agent or Multiple Agents: What’s Best?

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

When it comes to selling your property, unless you have prior experience and know what you’re doing, most people employ the services of an estate agent to manage the sale for them.

How you select your estate agent is up to you. Sometimes, having more than one can be extremely beneficial.

You might be wondering – sole agent, joint sole agent or multiple agents: what’s best? We look at the different options to help you decide.

Which estate agent is right for you?

Ultimately, the decision should boil down to the type of property you’re selling, and the market conditions in which you’re trying to sell.  Each situation is individual!

  • If your property is a popular style, with lots of interest, you’ll probably only need one estate agent working the market for you
  • If there’s limited interest in your property, you might want to consider expanding your reach and employing the services of more than one estate agent
  • If you have a large country property and wish to hit the local as well as the city markets, consider employing a local agent as well as one in the city

Why use a sole agent agreement?

Using a sole agent agreement can save you money, as you’re only paying for one set of fees. You could try and negotiate a lower fee if you agree to use their services only.

However, make sure that you don’t get tied down to a lengthy contract term (say 8 weeks at most), as you need flexibility to switch agents if they do not perform. Be aware that if you find a buyer privately during the term of the sole agency agreement, you may still be liable to pay the agent their fee.

Why use a joint sole agent agreement?

If your property is unique or high value and you want to advertise it both locally and nationally, you might consider using joint sole estate agents.

This will give you access to a more diverse market, but you will typically have to pay more, as the fee will be split between the estate agents.

Just make sure that both estate agencies are working for their fee, and one isn’t doing all the legwork. However, if this happens, the other agent involved will usually tell you!

Why use multiple agents?

If you want to maximise the exposure of your property and are looking for a quick sale, using multiple agents may be best for you.

With a multi-agent agreement, you set a group of appointed estate agents in competition with each other. This is based on the arrangement that the one who sells the property gets the fee, with the others receiving nothing for their efforts. As a result, some agents will not enter into multi-agent agreements.

The theory is, the more estate agents you have trying to sell your property, the more potential buyers they can reach and the more likely it is to sell.

However, due to the popularity of online portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla, the benefits of having more than one estate agent to reach potential buyers is significantly reduced. Therefore, these arrangements are not as popular as they once were.

If the estate agents know they’re competing against each other, you stand a better chance of a quick sale, as the agents have an enhanced incentive to sell your property. Beware, however, that a quick sale doesn’t always give you the best price.

The more estate agents you have working to sell your property, the higher the fee you will have to pay to the one that achieves the sale. Typically, a multiple estate agent agreement results in the highest fees.

You may also get pressured by the estate agents to sell at a reduced rate, so they are the ones who make the sale first. There is little incentive for them to encourage you to wait to see if you can get more from a different buyer, because if one of the other agents secures the sale, they get nothing.

Whichever type of agreement you choose, keep in close contact with your agent and make sure that you’re getting the level of service agreed. Happy selling!

Want to promote your property further?

Use Phil Spencer's Property Report to highlight the plus sides about you property and the surrounding area.

For example, a report will provide an up to date list of local schools to the property and a location map and ranking of the school. It also includes a breakdown overview of class size, gender split, total number of pupils and Ofsted result of each local school.

A good proportion of the schools that run their own admissions but don't always publish information on it, our report does. This can be very appealing to parents on the move. Get your report here.

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