Estate Agency Legals on Sole Agency & Multi Agency Agreements.

When it comes to buying a selling property in the UK nearly all of us will be using the services of an estate agency. The choice of estate agencies are immense from national chains to local independents, from traditional high street types to solely online agencies.

An important thing to remember is that all these types of estate agents will have different fee structures so do not rely on what charges you see with some estate agents will be replicated with others. Some will have flat standard rates ir cheap solutions say for £500 per sale or some can be a lot more ie £2,500 + per sale (depending on valuation of your home). We will also see many offering a percentage fee ie 1.5% for selling your property and again these flat fees will change from agency to agency. Do not forget that you are most likely to be charged VAT as extra so do be aware of an extra 20% amount on top.

You must also pay great attention to detail and the paperwork that an estate agency will present you to sign as some agencies will have extra fees they charge you for the likes of photographs, for sale signs, additional marketing, floor plans, audio tours and much more. These extra fees are usually charge by the lesser fee agencies or the online/hybrid ones.

Most estate agents out there are proud of their status in the local community (despite the industry usually getting bad press) and they will inform you of what you will be paying for a sale or putting your property on their books upfront as they will not want issues when it comes to paying at the end of the day. It still though pays you well to check the fine details to just make sure.

Another good thing to remember is that you can negotiate the fees to get prices down especially when the market is as per today, late 2015, where estate agents are finding it hard to get new valuations on their books. If the estate agent is very confident in selling your property quickly then it is highly likely that they will reduce their fees.

So, what is Sole Agency and Multi Agency?

  • Sole Agency: You agree to place your property for sale with one sole agency. This will be a signed for contract so you will not be able to showcase your property with another agency. You will be usually tied in to a period of time that it runs with that estate agency for a sole agency agreement. You can sell the property on your own back, ie to a friend or family member, depending on details in the agreement.
  • Multi-Agency: You place you property with more than one estate agency and it is simply whoever sells the property will get the commission and you can again sell the property on your own back and pay no commission. Again, remember the fine details on the contracts as not all estate agencies will have the same ones.
  • Sole Selling Rights: Less common, but still used and it means that the estate agency in question has a lot more rights over the sale of your property and will also mean if you sell the property yourself then they could still be due a commission.

Lastly, check the tie in periods estate agents require. You will usually asked to commit to anything between 4 to 12 weeks with an estate agent as it will of course cost them to get your property listed on to their books so this is of mutual interest as property rarely sells on the first day! There are rare instances where contract tie ins are much longer such as 20 weeks plus which isn’t favourable to the vendor especially if results aren’t good re viewings and offers and the relationship between vendor and estate agent has deteriorated. Remember, if you sign a contract then it is difficult to refuse the agent when he gets you to commit to varied sections of it, you can not sue the excuse of I did not see that or I wasn’t fully understanding etc.

All the above may seem severe and of a theme to put you off signing anything with an estate agent, but the good news is that most estate agents have great feedback and great results in selling property and abide by varied industry regulations in order for them to deliver an outstanding and fair service to the general public they serve.

Christopher Walkey

Founder of Estate Agent Networking. Internationally invited speaker on how to build online target audiences using Social Media. Writes about UK property prices, housing, politics and affordable homes.

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