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Demystifying Mandates can Maximise your Property Sale

  • Latest News
  • February 9, 2024
Demystifying Mandates can Maximise your Property Sale

PROPERTY THREADS:  Cape Town’s Property Tapestry

Navigating the world of property sales can often feel like entering a labyrinth of terms, contracts, and obligations for sellers. Among the myriad considerations, mandates stand out as crucial agreements that can significantly impact the selling process, says Sandy Walsh, General Manager at Property.CoZa Prestige on the Atlantic Seaboard in Cape Town.

For property sellers considering their options about mandates, misconceptions may complicate decision-making. Sandy Walsh, General Manager at Property.CoZa Prestige on Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard says it’s important to demystify the four key mandates to facilitate the selling process.



An exclusive mandate is a contractual agreement between a seller and a real estate agent, granting the agent exclusive rights to market and sell the property within a specified timeframe. “During this period, the seller cannot appoint another agent to sell the property and may only sell their property using their selected agent,” explains Walsh.


  • Dedicated attention: Agents that focus solely on selling your property will dedicate more time and resources to follow an agreed marketing plan.
  • Sole reference point: The agent becomes the seller’s sole point of reference and works closely with buyers and other agents to deliver the best offer.
  • Increased marketing: The agent can invest in more extensive marketing campaigns, including professional photography, virtual tours, and targeted advertising to maximise exposure and attract potential buyers.
  • Higher price potential: An agent vested in securing the best possible price for the property will ultimately benefit the seller financially.


  • Limited flexibility: Sellers are bound by the mandate’s terms, which restrict their ability to explore alternative marketing strategies or switch agents if dissatisfied.
  • Pressure to deliver: The agent may feel increased pressure to sell the property if the specified timeframe and marketing price are not realistic, potentially resulting in rushed decisions or compromising pricing.



A sole mandate is like an exclusive mandate but allows for the seller to sell their own property. Walsh points out that only the real estate agent holding the sole mandate is entitled to a commission upon a successful sale, and a seasoned agent will involve buyers from all sources including referrals from fellow agents to achieve the objective.



  • Agent selection: Sellers can interview different agents to establish their areas of expertise and marketing strategies, then select one agent to represent their property.
  • Broad reach: Having one point of reference when actively marketing the property increases exposure to potential buyers across different networks and channels and ensures effective feedback and communication between the agent and seller.


  • Potential confusion: The seller may receive conflicting advice on price from multiple sources and agents, so make sure your agent provides regular updates on the market’s reaction to the price and interest in your property.
  • Commission clashes: In the event of a successful sale outside of the terms of the sole mandate, agents may dispute commission entitlement, potentially resulting in legal complications or additional costs for the seller.



A dual or joint mandate occurs when a seller appoints only two real estate agencies to market and sell their property simultaneously. “Unlike a sole mandate, where only one agent is entitled to market and sell the property for commission upon sale, two appointed agents agree to share the commission if either of them successfully sells the property,” remarks Walsh. She adds that more commonly, the two appointed agents do not work together and take on a ‘winner takes all’ approach to the commission.



  • Increased exposure: Two agencies actively promoting the property may provide broader market exposure for a seller.
  • Competitive advantage: Competition can motivate agents to work harder and be more proactive in marketing and negotiation strategies.
  • Quicker sale: When multiple agents market more aggressively to a bigger audience the property may sell more quickly.


  • Communication challenges: Coordinating communication and managing expectations with two different agents may cause miscommunication or conflicting advice for the seller.
  • Split commission: Dividing the commission among multiple agents upon a successful sale can mean a lower overall commission percentage for each agent, potentially affecting their motivation and commitment. Let the agents decide how they will treat the commission and duly sign a joint agreement.



An open mandate (or non-exclusive mandate) allows a seller to appoint multiple real estate agencies to market and sell their property simultaneously. “Unlike exclusive mandates, the seller retains the right to sell the property independently or through other agents without any restrictions,” comments Walsh.



  • Control and flexibility: Sellers retain control over the selling process and can explore different marketing strategies or switch agents without contractual obligations.


  • Lack of commitment: Without the assurance of exclusive representation or commission, agents may invest less time and resources into marketing the property, potentially reducing marketing efforts or exposure.
  • Potential for confusion: With multiple agents marketing the property simultaneously, coordination and communication may become challenging, leading to confusion or conflicts regarding marketing strategies, pricing, or contractual obligations.
  • Reduced motivation: Agents are likely to prioritise properties with exclusive and sole mandates or higher commission potential, decreasing motivation to promote properties actively under open mandates.
  • Overexposure risk: Excessive multiple-agent marketing efforts could overexpose the property, causing buyer fatigue or perceptions of desperation and impacting the property’s perceived value.


Choose Your Agent



Walsh stresses the importance of selecting an estate agent with a good track record.
“As a seller, you should ask a prospective agent about their recent sales, ascertain their knowledge of your area and possibly request testimonials from previous clients. Since this is a short-term business partnership, enquire where the agent will be sourcing their buyers from and ask for details about their marketing strategy,” advises Walsh.

She recommends that property sellers consider choosing one experienced real estate agent with whom they feel comfortable and can form a trusting working relationship. “In my many years in the industry, one thing remains unchanged; there is only one pool of buyers. A seasoned agent should be able to tap into that pool to achieve the best price for their seller in the shortest time.”

“Whether opting for an exclusive, sole, dual, or open mandate, clarity and communication are essential to promote a harmonious partnership between a seller and estate agent,” comments Walsh.

Walsh asserts that mandates serve as essential tools that shape the seller-agent relationship and influence the outcome of the complex selling journey. Better understanding of the different mandate types will help sellers feel more confident when entering the property market.

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