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Sole or multiple agents?

By Patrick Kennan

A LOT of people who on making the decision that they wish to sell a property are confronted with the dilemma: do I sell the property myself and not use an agent; do I grant a sole agency an

d do I use multiple agents?


The answer is simple. Unless you are an expert and are happy and confident to deal with your own property, you should employ an estate agent to do it for you and you should grant a sole agency to a professional property consultant with whom you have rapport and who you can trust to deliver the best for you.


A good number of people take the contrary view that multiple agents are the answer. Their philosophy is that you should employ a number of agents, let them scrap it out and let the best agent win. This strategy is fine in theory but in practice it does not work. There are many reasons as to why one should employ a sole agency in place of multiple ones.


If you appoint a sole agent you are giving that agent your loyalty and trust. They will reciprocate this loyalty and trust and be energised by it. The agent will work harder and devote more time to you.


Agents who are employed on a multiple basis tend to take a “scattergun” approach. They will introduce as many buyers to your property as they can in the quickest possible time hoping to make a hit but they will not be able to go through a lot of trouble, time and expense. Why should they?


* Sole agents can be more objective about offers received from prospective purchasers. There is no pressure on them to beat the other agents. If they receive an offer from a prospective purchaser that they believe could possibly be improved upon, they will encourage you not to accept it but to hold out, but if they are threatened with other agents they may well be inclined to attempt to pressurise you to accept such an offer.


* The marketing strategy for your property can be tailor-made by a sole agent and agreed. It should be simple and structured. With multiple agents it is often chaotic and confusing and can lead to misunderstandings, chaos and often legal wrangles. It is not uncommon for buyers to deal with more than one agent on a single property, playing one off against the other and the seller is left with the problem of sorting out which agent should deal with that buyer.


* All agents have access to the same pool of buyers so giving your house to a number of agents does not broaden the number of people to whom it can be exposed. Buyers are free to deal with any and every agent.


* Very few agents work on their own. They usually work for a real estate company that has a team of sales agents who should all be actively sourcing prospective buyers for your property. By granting a sole agency, you are not restricting yourself to one person only. You are getting any advantage that you may feel a multi-listing would give with none of the disadvantages.


* Property consultants are far more inclined to spend their advertising budget on sole agencies with the result that your property actually gets less exposure to the pool of buyers out there in multiple agency scenarios.

The worth of a sole agent cannot be underestimated, however that sole agent must be someone with whom you have rapport and who will produce the results.


A little time taken at the beginning will save a lot of time and heartache later. Take the trouble to interview a number of agents and only select the one which has the qualities you are looking for.


* Patrick Kennan, a property consultant, prepared this article.

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