Should you use more than one estate agent to sell your home?
This is a question we often get when someone has tried to sell for a while – maybe even for years – without success. The query often arises when the current agent has introduced a buyer that is interested in buying the house, but has not yet sold theirs, or isn’t in a position to sell. In this situation, the homeowner wants to bring in another estate agent to inject a fresh energy into their marketing, but they don’t want to risk losing the only interested buyer they have.
It’s a common quandary. But rest assured, it’s something we’ve dealt with successfully many times before, over the years. We’re here to help you make the right decision for you and your family, and enable you to move on with your life.
Firstly, let’s tackle the issue of an interested buyer, introduced by the original estate agent. The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) recommends a six-month period, whereby if a property is sold to a buyer introduced by the original agent within six months of that introduction, that agent may be able to be able to claim their commission fee, even if the house is no longer listed with that agent. However, there are conditions and extenuating circumstances, not least the question of how much input the new agent has also had in selling the house to the same buyer. For example, the buyer could have viewed with the original agent, put their home on the market, sold months later, then viewed with – and offered via – the second agent. In this case, a court may decide that the second agent has been more instrumental in achieving a successful sale. In 2008 the Court of Appeal case of Foxtons Limited v Pelkey Bicknell & Anr found that to be entitled to commission “estate agents must show that they introduced the purchaser to the purchase and not merely to the property.”
In any case, the homeowner should never need to pay two commission fees, thanks to a recent change in legislation. [More about that here.]
[For a more in-depth exploration of estate agent fees, read this excellent article on The Advisory.<
Why two estate agents are less effective than one
It sends the wrong signal – it looks a bit desperate – buyers will think that your sale is becoming urgent, and therefore be wary of an offer anywhere near your asking price.
It gives a buyer an excuse to make a low offer – using two estate agents (or more) can be seen as a signal you’ll accept a lower offer, and therefore an excuse for your buyers to offer very low.
It shows it’s unpopular – no one wants to buy a house that no one wants to buy, (or anything else for that matter).
One of your agent’s will have better marketing than the other.
Often, one agent is much better at producing photography and brochures than the other, and the less skilled agent’s marketing will undermine the effectiveness of the better one.
An example is the two Rightmove adverts below. Whilst both estate agents have used a professional photographer, because of the very different editing of these images, they each give the house a very different feel. This incongruity is a red flag to buyers, and can make them feel uneasy about the authenticity of the adverts.
In the example below from central London, this four bedroomed home has been listed with three different estate agents, each one a week after the other. None of the sets of photographs are particularly sparkling, although the ones taken by York Estates are definitely the best. A quick flick through the galleries raises concerns about the condition of the property, as some of the agents’ images show wear and tear that others have disguised or avoided.
Marketing your home with two estate agents (or more) will often raise questions in your buyer’s head that may make the decision to view a complicated one. Make it too hard, and the buyer will simply call to view another home instead of yours.
In summary, find an agent that you love; one who inspires you with confidence they can sell your home. By placing your trust in just one terrific agent, they will reward you with their loyalty, commitment and hopefully, a sale.
If you’d like to have a chat about what’s involved in switching from your current agent, we’re here to listen and advise. You can reach us on 015394 88811 or book a visit using our easy booking form here.
Sam and Phil