Robert Williams Estate Agents, Exeter

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Sometimes we get asked the question, “Should I use more than one estate agent to sell my house?” 

Once upon a time, this strategy made perfect sense. After all, before properties were advertised on the internet, how else could you make sure that buyers across different geographical areas would see your home, if you didn’t use two, three or more agents to market it?

But then came the portals – Rightmove, Prime Location, Zoopla and now On the Market – and everything changed. Almost all buyers (93% at last count) look online to start their property search, often browsing a couple of portals, then simply call the relevant agent to book a viewing on a home they like.

So is there any point these days in instructing more than one agent? The short answer is ‘no’.

If a buyer spies your home listed several times online, at best it’s annoying, and at worst it’s misleading, because if the agents involved have used different photographs and descriptions to advertise the property, a buyer could be forgiven for thinking that the adverts belong to different houses.

When a buyer enters a search criteria on one of the property portals, properties appear in a list, in descending price order, with the more expensive houses showing first. Any properties that are marketed at exactly the same price will appear in a random order, to be fair and not favour any particular agent. However, some agents get around this rule by adding a pound to the price, so that thier properties will show first, and therefore you’ll see property prices like £300,001!

Consider how it looks to a buyer if you as the seller have instructed several agents? Desperate perhaps? In need of an urgent sale? This could have the effect of generating some very low offers from those buyers looking for a bargain, whilst genuine buyers may stay away completely, fearful of being stuck with a property that they themselves can’t sell when the time comes.

Finally, there’s the question of cost. If you instruct more than one agent, depending on the type of agency agreement you have, you’ll either pay the standard agency fee, but only to one of the agents; sometimes called ‘winner takes all’. Or else you’ll pay a higher fee, and it’ll be split between the two agents, typically 2/3 1/3 or else 50/50. The average uplift for a joint agency agreement is around 50%, meaning that if the average fee in your area is 2%, you will be paying 3% for a joint agreement.  

When you decide to sell your home, my advice is to choose your agent very carefully, and focus all your efforts on making that relationship work. Ultimately it will serve you well and give out the right signals to instill buyer confidence. So pick slow, pick wisely, and nurture your relationship so that your agent is on side to get you the best result.

If you haven’t picked your agent yet, or you are not getting the kind of helpful attitude you were hoping for, we’d love to hear from you and to arrange for one of our team to visit to help you plan your sales strategy.

Vouch Tenancy Deposit Scheme The Property Ombudsman RICS Rightmove Zoopla OnTheMarket Prime Location