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Why using more than one agent can cost you money

Published: 17/07/2019 By Tom Bloomfield

It’s still common to see homes for sale with more than one agent, but we want to argue that not only do multiple listings provide virtually no benefit, but they harm the chances of finding a buyer at the best price.

If you look below you will see an example of a property being advertised with three agents on rightmove.

The owners of this property may well have appointed three agents in the hope of widening their buyer audience, or perhaps they expected a frenzy of hard work as each agent raced to beat the others to the fee.

However we believe the improvement in the owner’s fortunes is minimal. 93% of buyers search online so the net is only slightly wider, and most modern estate agents are too busy being reactive to have the time to be consistently proactive.  Meanwhile, homeowners who follow this route suffer from a number of potentially negative side effects:

1. Appearing overpriced Houses with multiple listings give the impression that they failed to generate activity via the first agent. Extend this logic and some buyers will conclude that a house is “overpriced” – this is not the impression any house should make to the marketplace and it will bolster the confidence of any buyer during negotiations.

2. Inconsistent Presentation If one agent has invested to produce a good set of sales details, the benefit of that effort on that home’s first impression will be partially if not completely undone if the next agent only produces a mediocre set of details.

3. Fee Disputes There are numerous potential scenarios that could lead to two of the agents involved claiming to have introduced the same buyer. Fee squabbles are stressful and unproductive, and as the owner you will risk paying more than one fee.

4. Conflict of Interest We have encountered occasions where buyers have tested which agent will give away a vendor’s price expectations before viewing with the agent who they think will get them a better deal. There is a potential reward in this scenario for the agent who sells out his own client at a knock down price.

5. Disjointed Negotiations When multiple parties are interested in the same house it is more efficient to have them all managed by one competent firm. If the responsibility is shared between two or more competing firms, their duty to work to achieve the best price can play second fiddle to the agent’s desire to close their deal quickly.