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HELP! What are the different types of estate agent contracts and what do they mean?

When selling your home, you will come across a lot of information that will be completely new to you. It can be confusing and daunting when you’re dealing with legally binding contracts, so that’s where we come in!

*Please be aware that this is only a guide and you should always do your own research and read the Terms of your contract thoroughly before signing.

Check out our list of different estate agent contracts and a breakdown of what they mean:

  • Sole agency – Sole agency is the most common type of estate agent contract. Sole agency means the estate agent is the only agent with the right to sell your home during the term of the contract. However, if the contract is open-ended, the agent might be able to claim commission, even years after the contract is over (see below).

  • Joint sole agency – Under a joint sole agency agreement, you appoint two agents, who agree in advance who gets the commission, which may be shared. This usually only makes sense if you want to appoint a specialist agent who acts nationally, as well as a local agent, rather than having two local agents competing with one another.

  • Multi agency – You can use as many agents as you like and only pay commission to the one who sells your property. The more agents you get working for you, the more potential buyers you will reach, and potentially the higher the offers you will get – but you will likely pay higher fees. Using this approach depends on what type of property you have, and the state of the market.

  • Sole selling rights – If your contract gives the agent “sole selling rights” then think carefully before signing. The estate agent in the contract is the only one allowed to sell your home during the period stipulated. And you will have to pay that estate agent, even if you find your own buyer.

Christine McLaughlin

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