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Estate Agency Agreements, what are they and what do I need to know?
When you first consider selling your house, it is advisable to have at least 2 but ideally 3 different estate agents come out to provide you with a valuation of your house and discuss the selling process. It is now down to you, the seller, to decide which agent you would like to instruct. In some cases you will have a clear preference, and in other cases you might wish to instruct all of the agents at the same time – for each scenario there is a different type of estate agency agreement that you will need to sign.
A multiple agency agreement is where a seller chooses to instruct 2 or more estate agents at any one time to market their property. Often sellers believe that this will give their house a greater chance of market exposure. Some agents may have a recent selection of buyers on their database that are specifically looking to buy in your area, or one particular agent might have a buyer walk in to their office and see the listing in a shop window and ask for a viewing.
This scenario was perhaps more typical before the Internet took over the way in which we now sell houses. Nowadays buyers tend not to walk into the high street offices to see the latest properties for sale but instead go straight to Rightmove and Zoopla listings. The downside to a multiple agency listing is that sellers will generally have to pay a far higher commission that that of a sole agency agreement as the agents are competing with each other and there is of course a risk that they will earn nothing despite great efforts to sell the house. Also it can appear that a seller is desperate to sell quickly by having multiple listings and boards outside their house, therefore buyers may use this to their advantage by putting in very low offers.
More commonly sellers will choose just one estate agent to market their property with. In the current generation of house selling, pretty much all estate agents do the same thing as far as marketing goes – photos, descriptions, floorplans and of course listings on popular advertising portals. So either way potential buyers will come across your property and will make an enquiry to find out more.
Sole Agency Agreements are the cheapest option for a seller – the main thing to do before selecting which estate agent to go with is to find out how they deal with buyer enquiries. Things to consider is the vetting process of potential buyers before viewings are arranged, agency opening hours, evening and weekend communication and of course the viewing process itself.