Why using more than one agent is a bad idea

Published: 31/07/2023 By Tom Bloomfield

Given the recent change in the temperature of the property market it's becoming more common to see homes marketed for sale with more than one agent.

Despite this, I 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, however we believe the improvement in the owner’s fortunes is microscopic, as virtually every buyer now searches online using portals such as Rightmove. Only one listing is required to reach the entire market of serious buyers.

Meanwhile, homeowners who follow this route simultaneously 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 many buyers will conclude (sensibly IMO) 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.