Pitfalls of Multi agency compared to Sole agency


Q. Do multiple agency agreements make much sense any more?

A. To be honest, no – but then, they never really did!

Of course, the argument in favour of multiple agency agreements has always been that with several agents working on your behalf rather than just one, your home benefits from correspondingly wider exposure to a greater number of potential buyers. That’s why so many people used to go for them, and still do – even though agents generally offer a significant discount on their fees for sole agency.

All of which is rather ironic, when you thing about it, because the only real difference with a multi agreement is that your property keeps cropping up all over the place with different agents - and people may start to wonder if there’s something wrong with it. In this regard, the internet – where well over 90% of buyers start their search for a new home – has only exacerbated the problem.

However, the biggest flaw in the case for multiple agency agreements is their winner-takes-all ethos. Yes, one agent may well succeed in securing the sale and earning the commission. But as far as the rest of the participants are concerned, they wind up with nothing at all to show for their efforts. And human nature being what it is, that’s hardly much of an incentive to really pull out all the stops!

The truth of the matter is that sole agency is, and always has been, the best bet – as long as you choose wisely, of course. Much better to have one highly motivated and thoroughly professional agent on your case than half a dozen who are just going through the motions. And it’s cheaper too!

Finally, however, I can’t resist a quick plug for something called “multi-listing.” Common in places like the USA, the only genuine multi-listing system across the UK is operated by Team – a large network of independent high street agents, all linked by some extremely clever technology which enables them to share all their properties. Team members basically work together on behalf of their clients, with commissions split between the agent who wins the instruction and the agent who secures the sale – so everyone’s equally motivated.

It’s what multiple agency ought to be – but isn’t. And best of all, it costs no more than an ordinary sole agency fee!