Is using Multiple Estate Agents a Good Strategy?

One idea we hear occasionally is whether there is a benefit to instructing more than one agent at the same, especially when there is a need to sell or let a property quickly. As attractive as this approach sounds, it is not necessarily the way to go and there are a few myths that need squashing.

More agents equal more viewers?

This is the view that with more agents involved in advertising, the number of potential buyers or tenants increases accordingly - this is unlikely to be the case. Agents use portals such as Zoopla, Rightmove, OnTheMarket.com, and so on as that is where 95% of all property hunting is based. Simply listing the property with multiple agents means the same volume of the audience is targeted. Using multiple agents just means your property will be advertised in these places multiple times which can be confusing and frustrating thus having an adverse effect on your campaign. 

It’s possible that some agents will be better than others at presenting the properties on these websites, but generally getting your property up on these sites is the main factor in getting it seen.

Have different agents access to different potential buyers and tenants? 

Gone are the days where potential buyers and tenants would trek up and down the streets of local towns registering their details with multiple agents in the hunt for the perfect property, waiting for the phone to ring. These days people search for property online, where new properties are listed, showcased and that's where the attention is focused. The notion that an agent has access to a database of potential buyers or tenants that no other agent has sounds appealing, but it's completely false. Different agents tap into the same volume of audience for your listing, so there really is no advantage.

Multiple agents can cause problems with prospective tenants

Tenants who see the same property advertised multiple times on one of the go-to letting websites are likely to get a bit confused. As lettings move at a much faster pace than sales, it is possible they will think that the advertisement is fake or out of date, and they could dismiss it entirely.

They may also start to think that you are anxious to let the property (which is likely to be true if you are using multiple agents!) and thus feel that they are in a position to apply some leverage. This will not work to your advantage.

Having a sole agent might mean lower commissions

When you hire just one agent, they are more likely to get the sale. This means they might be willing to take a slight hit with regard to the commission. According to the HomeOwners Alliance, sole agents typically take a commission of 1% to 1.5% + VAT, whereas the commission can rise to as high as 3% + VAT for multiple agent agreements.

Many buy-to-let landlords have the mistaken idea that using multiple estate agents creates healthy competition, but this isn't the case - it just bears frustration and extra costs.

You can always change agents

If you are not happy with how things are going with your current estate agent, you can always find a new one. This is a preferable option to using multiple agents for the reasons listed above.

However, you should be sure you are leaving your agent for the right reasons. If you honestly think they are doing a poor job of advertising and showing the property, that’s one thing. But if you just aren’t happy with their advice (they are telling you that you have set rent prices too high, for example), you may want to take a minute and consider whether they might be right.

You can always have a talk with your agent before you take the step of leaving them. This may save you a lot of time and hassle if they are willing to change their approach.