How to Advise a Seller against Multiple Agency

Mon 28 Jul 2014

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Blog Author
Paul Jager
MOL Product Manager - Property & Conveyancing

There can’t be many property agents who would rather take a multiple agency instruction than a sole agency one. Although the commission fee is probably higher there is little else to recommend it to a negotiator. It means

  • You’ve lost control of the marketing – forget about the professional campaign you had in mind to promote the property. This is ‘every man for himself’.
  • You may not be told in a timely fashion that the seller has agreed a sale elsewhere – annoying when you’re still spending time promoting it
  • Even if you find a buyer, other agents may still be actively marketing the property to try and spoil your sale

So, how to persuade a seller to choose just one agent to sell their property, and preferably you?

Step 1

Provide the seller with the best market appraisal visit you can. This includes:

  • Be on time
  • Be courteous
  • Bring plenty of comparable evidence to support your market appraisal
  • Understand the seller’s needs and demonstrate how your organisation can meet these
  • Show how those features that separate you from your competitors benefits the seller
  • Prove that you're willing to genuinely work for your commission

As they say in America, make your offer ‘irresistible’.

Step 2

If the seller is still inclined to proceed with multiple agency then politely enquire why. It could be that their decision is fuelled by an incorrect assumption. For example

  • Agents will work harder with an instruction that several of them have, or
  • A multiple agency instruction will have a wider marketing reach

It's now easier to hone in on their ‘mistaken idea’ and explain how the opposite is true. They may not realise that in certain circumstances multiple agency can be detrimental to the marketing of a property. For example:

  • It might suggest that a single agent isn’t able to sell it because it has a ‘problem’
  • Agents spend the majority of their time on those properties whose sellers have shown them the loyalty of a sole agency instruction. Multiple agency instructions can often be left to languish
  • It is easier to track who is viewing a property via a single agent than several. It also diminishes the possibility of a potential buyer being shown the same property by two different agents and a commission dispute occurring
  • With several agents competing to sell the property the seller can’t be certain that the recommendation of an offer from one agent isn’t simply to get a sale agreed and the property then withdrawn from the other agents

Step 3

If the owner still isn’t convinced about the merits of a sole agency route, ask for a short period of sole agency to prove yourself. 5 days? If you believe the property to be saleable then be willing to demonstrate this. After that, if it remains unsold then the seller can try as many agents as they want.

Step 4

You’ve tried all of the above and the seller is adamant about following a multiple agency route. Now it’s time to decide whether this is an option you want. If it isn’t, then graciously decline but always leave the door open for them to return if their marketing proves unsuccessful. If you decide to take the instruction then you can only do your best and prove to the seller your worth. Who knows, the property may never sell and if in the future the owner wants to remarket again, it’ll be you they think of first.

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