November 28, 2015
When selling your home in England and Wales you may want to recruit the services of an estate agent. Part of the contract that you sign is the length of the sole agency Agreement.
A sole Agency agreement requires the person selling the property to use ONLY the estate agent named on the contract, and no one else during the period of the sole agency Agreement.
Estate agents will require a REASONABLE period of time to try and introduce a buyer to your property. A lot of the agents’ costs are up front and therefore to try and recoup the marketing costs and have a chance of selling the property, they will need a reasonable period of time to do so.
This is the big question. The length of a sole agency agreement can range from 0 weeks to a shocking 52 weeks. Unfortunately, the agents who try to tie sellers into long term agreements are most often the LEAST competent in selling your home. Imagine you sign a 26 week agreement with an estate agent that does a terrible job of selling your home. If you want to change agents, you cannot do this for nearly 6 MONTHS!
In my opinion a reasonable period of time is 13 weeks (3 months). This will give a quality agent a good length of time to properly present and expose your property to potential buyers. It also gives time to understand the feedback from the viewers and to change the marketing strategy if viewings and offers are not coming forward.
The estate agents that attempt to tie you in for long sole agency agreements will not even mention the length of the contract when doing the paperwork. They use a technique of presenting a very wordy document and just asking you to sign it at the bottom. Quite often, the term of the sole agency agreement is in very small print hidden within another detailed paragraph. My advice is to read the small print very carefully and ask the agent to show you where the term of the sole agency agreement is on the contract. I would also advise that you ask the agent what their policy is in respect of cancelling the agreement in the event of not being 100% happy.
There are lots of unscrupulous estate agents around at the moment who are targeted purely on getting your property on the market at any cost. I would always advise that you interview a number of agents when selling your property. However, make your decision on which agent has the best marketing plan to sell your home. This includes how they present your home to potential buyers, how they expose or advertise your home, and ensuring that you are pricing the home correctly with GENUINE PRICING EVIDENCE AND OF COURSE, DO NOT SIGN A SOLE AGENCY AGREEMENT THAT IS LONGER THAN 13 WEEKS.