I’m a Sole Man!

Paul Harris

Once you have decided to sell your property, the first step is deciding whether you will instruct estate agents on a sole agency, joint sole agency, or multi agency basis. Paul Harris from Fine & Country Cambridgeshire walks through the pro’s and con’s for each.

A multi agency instruction is where you instruct several agents and the one that finds you a buyer takes the commission. On the surface, this may sound like a great idea. Why settle for one agent when you can have many agents competing to sell your property?

However, there are a number of disadvantage to multi agency instruction. Firstly, most agents do not like to do business this way. Many will not be interested in a multi agency arrangement, meaning you may not be represented by the best agent for your property. Agents who do accept are likely to prioritise the sale of homes on which they are instructed as sole agents over yours, leading to your property sitting on the market longer. From a buyer’s perspective, seeing a house listed with multiple agents smacks of desperation. This may lead them to dismiss the property, or make an offer under the odds. Commission rates for this option are also generally higher than sole instruction, typically between 2.5 – 3.5 percent.

Joint sole agency instruction is where you instruct two agents to market your property at the same time. The commission is shared regardless of which agent finds you a buyer. As with multi agency instruction, initially it seems that doubling your representation may have some advantages, however, there are a number of disadvantages also. Again, commission rates are higher, usually the same level as multi agency instruction rates. Agents are less motivated to work on your property as there's always the possibility the other agent will find a buyer, allowing shared commission with minimal effort. If both agents have this mentality no-one is focusing on finding a buyer for your property. As this is not a preferred instruction method for agents, it is also harder to negotiate the terms of business.


To ensure your agent is representing your property in the best possible way, Fine & Country recommend a sole agency instruction. This is the preferred arrangement from an agent's perspective because it gives them the exclusive right to market your home, and therefore the motivation to ensure a sale on preferred terms. If the agent is motivated to sell the property at the best possible price this can only be good for the vendor client.

Now all you need to do is find the right agent. There are a number of ways to find someone to deliver the highest levels of service but personal recommendation is of course the most valuable and trusted option. So I would certainly suggest that potential sellers start off by simply asking friends and family about their experiences. Increasingly however, perspective vendors are turning to the web to gain a greater insight into the actual previous performance of agents they are considering. One web site in particular is www.allagents.co.uk (the “Trip Advisor” for estate agency) which can be used to gain further honest feedback from previous customers. Fine & Country have been reviewed on this site a number of times – take a look and see what you think! http://www.allagents.co.uk/fine-and-country.

For more information on how Fine & Country can help you move, telephone 0845 603 2825 or visit www.fineandcountry.com



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