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Meumann White Inc


There is a common misconception amongst Sellers that by giving an open mandate to many different agents they will have a better chance of selling their property. The purpose of this article is to rectify this misconception and highlight the benefits of giving a sole mandate to an agent to sell a property.


What many Sellers do not realise is that the cost of marketing and selling a property to the agent is high. Advertising, office expenses, telephones, petrol etc. are all examples of expenditure incurred by the agent. Furthermore, all of these costs are incurred upfront, and in the absence of a sole mandate there is the increased risk that such costs will be incurred for no reward.

Sellers who want to sell their property are asking the agent to give 100% effort, which means incurring all of the above costs. It is therefore only fair and reasonable that the agent would ask the client for an equal commitment in return.

We submit that this is a fair trade, and allows both the agent and the seller peace of mind that they are both committed to each other for the duration of the mandate period. The agent is assured that if he uses all of his resources and time there is a strong likelihood that he will procure a purchaser for the property, and the seller is assured that the agent is using his efforts to secure the sale of the property during the mandate period.

Whilst this first reason for giving an agent a sole mandate is practical, the second reason for doing so is legal in nature.


An open mandate – where a seller allows multiple agents to work on the same property at the same time – places the seller at risk of paying more than one commission in respect of the sale of the property.

Potential purchasers usually approach a number of agents working in a particular area in which the purchaser is interested in purchasing a property in order to view what properties are on the market. There is a high probability that the purchaser who eventually purchases the property has dealt with at least two of the agents who may have had an open mandate in respect of the property. The seller in such an instance could be faced with a double commission claim. In our experience this happens more often than sellers expect.

The agent who finalises the deal is entitled to commission, but so may the other agent or agents who introduced the purchaser or the purchaser’s spouse, relative or other persons assisting in the viewing of the property.

As a result of the focus of our practice on property law, and the various issues that flow therefrom, disputes between a seller and agent or agents are often brought to our attention for guidance and arbitration. More frequently than not, the problem arises as a direct consequence of a number of agents being involved in the marketing of a property. Much stress, trouble and ultimately costs can therefore be avoided where a seller signs a sole mandate with one estate agent to begin with.

Article By David Campbell


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