Sole, Joint, or Open Mandate?

As a property seller, you will want to make the right listing decision in order to sell for the most the market will pay.  So just which is the best way to list?  A sole mandate with one company, a joint mandate with 2 or 3 companies, or an open mandate with many companies?

Let’s first establish how you sell for the most money.

Your property needs to be strongly marketed to attract the most, and the best buyers.  That means it needs to have a strong marketing plan that covers more than just property website listings.  It must include print – as print marketing attracts buyers not limited to a specific area or price range.  It must include marketing to a database of qualified buyers, as well as showhouses and social media marketing.

Strong marketing yields strong buyer enquiry.  This is when marketing strategies are required to place the buyers in a position where they compete against each other for your property.  That’s the only condition under which they will make their very best offer.  And that’s when you sell for the most the market will pay.

Having established how you sell for the most money, let’s now consider the different listing options.  Sellers who list on an open mandate will list with many companies on a non-exclusive basis.  Agents will do the very minimum when it comes to marketing, as any significant marketing investment carries too much risk.  When an agent receives an offer they will do their very best to get you to accept it – and the focus becomes their commission, not your selling price.  Very seldom does a property sell for maximum market value when listed by open mandate.

Some sellers believe that a joint mandate, between 2 or 3 companies, will yield the best result.  The reality is that a joint mandate agency won’t invest what is required in the marketing of your property.  They will be motivated to achieve a sale, but not at the best price – at their price.  In other words, when an agent receives an offer they will motivate you to accept it, not because it’s the best offer, but because it’s their offer.

If you’re a seller who wants, not just any sale, but the best sale, then a sole mandate listing is the best way to achieve this.  Select one agency that commits to a written marketing plan and executes their marketing strategies.  They will be focused on achieving you the best sale.  Your sole mandate agent will often bring you multiple offers as he is able to get buyers to compete and make their best offer.

You simply cannot achieve this on an open or a joint mandate.

Simply put – when you list on an open or joint mandate you are placing the agents in a position where they are working for themselves, not for you.  Their commission becomes the primary focus.  When listing on a sole mandate your agent works to get you the very best result.

Steve Caradoc-Davies
Principal, Harcourts Platinum

Director Harcourts South Africa

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