Sole mandate or open mandate: here’s the difference

Sole or open mandate are components in the property transaction process. What do they really mean?

Record low interest rates have increased the number of first-time buyers within the South African property market. Many first-time sellers have also joined the fray, either upscaling, downscaling or simply relocating owing to a change of lifestyle. As a first-time seller, there may be components of the selling process which may be unfamiliar: one of which is the concept of a sole or open mandate.

Explaining this concept, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, states that a sole mandate is an exclusive contract that stipulates an allotted timeframe during which a seller may not appoint another agent to market his/her property. “Sellers can appoint another agent only once the sole mandate has elapsed. Giving an agent an open sole mandate, on the other hand, means that there will be multiple agents, from a variety of agencies, who will be marketing and trying to sell the property.”

The trouble is that many sellers falsely believe that if they let multiple agencies market their home, they will increase their reach to potential buyers which will enable them to sell quicker. “The truth is that it is often far more effective to sign a sole mandate and allow one agent the space to secure the best sale. While the threat of COVID-19 still exists, a sole mandate is also a safer option because sellers will only have to liaise and deal with one agent rather than several,” Goslett explains.

Beyond this, working with a reputable agent is the best way to simplify the selling process. A real estate professional’s guidance can end up saving sellers money, time, and stress. But, when sellers work with multiple agents, it can become difficult to know whose advice to follow. Working with one real estate agent can streamline the process and provide support on which the seller can rely.

To get the most out of the relationship with their mandated agent, first-time sellers are advised to be as open and honest as possible. “Never feel embarrassed to ask if there is something that you do not quite understand. As experts in their industry, real estate advisors are there to guide sellers through the process, but they might not always think to explain the jargon they use. By being upfront with your agent and asking when you do not understand something, you will be better informed and better equipped to navigate the process smoothly,” Goslett concludes.

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