Sole or multiple agency?


Should you appoint just one estate agent?

Or is there a better chance of achieving a sale by using two or even three simultaneously?

Most sellers appoint a single agent, until things get a bit desperate and 2 or more agents are appointed in an effort to shift the property (which was probbaly over-valued by the first agent). This is when a fresh crop of different agents’ boards will suddenly appear.

So either sole or multiple agency are the main options – discussed below. But in all cases the most important thing is the arrangement should be ‘no sale no fee’ –  so you only pay the agent’s commission upon completion of a successful sale.


Sole agency

By far the most popular choice. Here your estate agent is the only agent with the right to sell your property.

Fees for sole agency are less than for multiple agency (see below). Importantly this leaves the door open to selling privately, if you wish, for example, to place your own advert in a local newspaper or on a website. It’s not always appreciated that with this arrangement you are perfectly free to find a buyer yourself (since you are not an estate agent) with no obligation whatsoever to pay the estate agent’s commission – as long as they didn’t introduce the buyer who subsequently approached you privately.

Apart form the relatively low fees, the attraction of sole agency is that, being the only agent, it should inspire the confidence to spend more time and money promoting your home.

However, sellers have sometimes been badly caught out where they have later switched to a different agent, who then successfully introduced a buyer.

If you read the small print, the contract you sign normally ties you in to the first agent for a number of weeks, or even months. During this period they are the only agent with the right to sell your property.

So it’s best to tell them that you only want to sign up for a short period – no more than 4 to 6 weeks – which leaves you free to terminate the contract if they fail to perform.


Multiple agency

With multiple agency you’re free to appoint any number of agents, each with the right to sell your property on a ‘winner-takes-all’ basis.

From the agent’s viewpoint there is a greater chance of wasted effort and expense, which is why the fees quoted will be higher. This again leaves you free to advertise and sell privately alongside the estate agents.

But because buyers often register with lots of competing agents, disputes sometimes arise between rival agents as to which one actually introduced the successful buyer. Apart from the expense, the drawback is that a sea of boards outside your house can smack of desperation.


Other options

There are 2 other less well known options for appointing estate agents – Joint Sole Agency and Sole Selling Rights.  These will be covered in our next blog.


Our next blog – coming soon ……

 Other options:  Joint Sole Agency and Sole Selling Rights



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