Selling your home is an important decision. And it’s not always easy. That’s why you need all the help and support you can get. Like a clear contract. And the freedom to change agent whenever you choose.
What your estate agent’s contract really means
Your estate agent’s contract sets out the relationship you can expect to have with them, as well as the fee you’ll pay. So it is important to understand that there are three main types of contracts.
This is the most common contract and one we think is fair. It means only one estate agent can market your property during the term of the contract. And if you find a buyer yourself, you won’t have to pay any commission. Your agent can still process the sale for you though, if you arrange a separate fee.
However, a sole agency contract does mean if another agent originally introduced your buyer, you may remain liable to pay them. Because of this, we strongly advise you check the time frame for a sole agency contract. We would be delighted to do this on your behalf, without any obligation – just give us a call.
Sole selling rights
Beware of this contract as it can easily be confused with the sole agency contract above.
Sole selling rights means the estate agent is the only one with the right to sell your home during the term of the contract. So, even if you found a buyer yourself you would still have to pay the agent. We don’t think this is fair and recommend you don’t sign a contract with sole selling rights.
This contract means, while several agents may act for you, you only pay the agent who sells your property. However, the commission you pay is usually higher so be sure to check this.
When you market your home through a number of agents it can look as though you’re desperate to sell. So your negotiating position is weaker. Moreover, it is common that the same buyers make up all estate agents’ lists, making multi-agency contracts mainly unnecessary.
If you’re not happy with your agent, we believe you should be free to appoint a new one. When you choose. Because our own contract is so flexible, we never use multi-agency contracts.
Should you always go with the highest valuation?
Don’t feel you have to instruct the agent who makes the highest valuation. Making a high valuation is easy (and flattering to you) but if it comes with a long contract attached you should ask why.
What if you want to serve notice?
Make sure you are clear about how to serve notice on your contract and when you can do this. For example, will you have to give notice in writing? What happens if you don’t serve notice at the end of the contract? And what is the minimum length of contract?
When committing to a contract we recommend you know how easy it is to extricate yourself from it! This may sound negative, but it is so important and is one of the most common bits of feedback I receive from disillusioned vendors when using other agents.
A contract with a long minimum term will benefit your agent. They’ll feel under no pressure to prioritise your sale. And you’ll be unable to change agent, however unhappy you may be with their service.