The logic seems clear enough. Several professional painters are going to paint your home quicker than just one. So, would a team of real estate agents be able to achieve a home sale faster than just one agent? Many home sellers are eager to unload their properties quickly so they can move on—usually into a different home they don’t want to lose to another buyer. Knowing that they (typically) need to sell their home to obtain their down payment on the next, they may be interested to hire multiple agents to sell their home. The short answer is—yes. Sellers can hire multiple real estate agents to sell their homes and these deals can happen quickly, but there are some definite considerations to keep in mind before taking this route.
When it works well, the idea of hiring multiple agents can lead to a quicker home sale. More agents tend to mean more open house events, more walk-throughs from interested potential buyers, more marketing, and more professional advice. All this ‘more’ can lead to a quicker sale. In a slow market, a quick sale isn’t always possible, but having multiple agents working for you could be the key to your early success in the marketplace. In some cases, particularly with high-value properties, agents may compete aggressively to win a sale, which often leads to a quick deal for sellers.
Unfortunately, there are lots of risks associated with taking the multiple agent route. While you can have more than one real estate agent, the agents might not be as tickled about the idea as you are. You see a speedier sale, but they may see less commission. Some agents may not be as inclined to put their all into a deal that’s not exclusively theirs. They understand that they could wind up with nothing for all their hard work because the selling agency will reap the commission.
Another drawback for hiring multiple real estate agent is the likelihood that you’ll pay higher fees. Multiple agent agreements tend to be associated with the highest fees. Agreements are negotiable, but you may find that agents are less open to this route than you might expect. Some buyers might not like the idea of handing out multiple keys to various agents or coping with the often-frenetic scheduling that invariably ensues when you have several agents showing your house.
In addition, disagreements between agents can lead to frustration. One agent may offer a piece of staging advice that another agent disagrees with. There could be scheduling conflicts between the agents and difficulties in getting agents to commit to any decisions made by other agents. Ideally, a seller won’t have to referee these disagreements, but they may feel like their in the middle of a tug-of-war—and that can have its difficulties.
Before listing your home with multiple agents, you need to find out if the agency is open to a non-exclusive agreement. Some will not be. Others may have experience with this option and may be more inclined to agree. If you have an exclusive agency agreement already, you will not be able to hire other real estate agents until you terminate this agreement or it expires. With a non-exclusive agreement, however, you can sell the house yourself (saving commission fees) or hire additional agents (who also agree to the non-exclusive terms) to provide their services too.
Typically, if you decide to work with multiple agents to sell your home, you’ll still need to select one to actually list the property on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Agents who work in the same locale use one MLS service, and usually it’s against the rules of the service to allow a home to be listed more than once. You can choose your listing agents; most sellers will choose the agent they feel most comfortable with.
Before hiring multiple agents to market and sell your house, carefully consider the legal ramifications that could be involved in your sale if the selling process isn’t clear cut. For instance, you don’t want to be put in a position where you’re liable for double commissions. This isn’t a far-fetched situation. A buyer might view the property with one agent initially but decide to work with another agent when making an offer. Both agents can claim the commission—which puts you, the seller, in a tricky situation that could result in a legal hassle.
Sellers also need to be aware of the binding nature of contracts. They may sign a contract from one agent’s buyer only to find that the next day or two later, another agent secures them a better deal—a cash offer. Signing another contract is a breach that can also have legal consequences. In short, if you do attempt to work with multiple agents, you’ll need to keep these potential legal pitfalls in mind and take steps to avoid them.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to ask the agencies you consult if they are willing to sign a non-exclusive agreement that allows you to work with multiple agents to sell your home. If they agree, it’s still important to determine if they’ve had experience with these real estate transactions before. After all, you’re hiring them for their expertise; you want to ensure that they’re comfortable and competent in this type of situation.
As with the hiring of any agent, you’ll want to check references and learn more about their experience selling homes that are similar to yours. Find out what types of marketing solutions they’ll rely on. Be sure to be transparent about your real estate goals to ensure that they’ll be on the same page as you.
If the potential problems associated with the multiple-agent route worry you, you might consider working with just one agent but limiting your contract to a shorter period of time. This way, if you aren’t getting the results you hoped for, you can hire someone else. If you do like the agent you’re working with and feel good about how things are progressing, you can always renew the contract. Plus, if the single agent isn’t performing as you hoped, you can always take the multiple agent route in the future.
There are no guarantees in the world of real estate—at least until the house closes! That’s why selling a home is such a serious endeavor and one that usually requires a substantial amount of expertise. Although you might view the process of using multiple agents to list your home as a way to double your expertise, you might not get the results you’re hoping for. Be sure to keep the pros and cons of hiring multiple agents in mind as you plan your home’s sale.