Sole Mandate: what it is, and why you should sign one.


About to put your home on the market?

Not only has the industry changed rapidly over the past five years, with so much information at your fingertips, so much to do, and so many options to choose from, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Selling a home isn’t just about getting your price, because homes aren’t just about square metres, BICs and mod-cons.

They’re about the people that live in them.

Your first thought shouldn’t be about what the market is doing, or whether somebody will buy your home, it should be about the person that sells it.

That’s why you should consider a sole mandate, and here’s what you should know before you do.

Choosing a mandate

If you’re in a hurry to sell your property, choosing an open or multi-listed mandate may seem like the logical option.

The wider circulation your property listing gets and the more prospective buyers at your door, the better, right?

Not quite.

In the best case scenario, you’ll be keeping tabs on a handful of agents and putting your administrative skills to the test while fielding phone calls and organising viewing schedules.

But, the administrative load aside, things can become complicated if two agents both claim to have contributed to a sale.

In the worst case scenario, unless it’s clear which agent was responsible for the sale, you could be left paying double commission.

The least risky option is to use a sole mandate agreement.

A sole mandate is a written agreement (instruction) giving one agency exclusive rights to market and sell your property. The agreement should include the length of time that the mandate is granted for (usually 90 days), the selling price, the commission rate, and any other terms and conditions.

While it might seem counterintuitive to have a single agency selling your property, it’s lower risk and higher return than other options, provided you do your research and enlist a reputable agency in the process.

Benefits of a good sole mandate

With so many options to choose from, why pick a sole mandate at all?

You’re more likely to get your asking price:

The first step in choosing an agency is to request a property valuation. 

Any agency worth their salt will give you a comprehensive valuation based on current market rates, an analysis of pricing trends in your neighbourhood that is backed by research and experience.

This means that you will be able to set a market-related asking price, rather than over- or under-valuing your property.

Request a free property valuation here.

You only pay one commission, and the rate is fixed:

Commission rates are variable, and based on the value of the property up for sale. While these rates are negotiable, it’s true that you get what you pay for.

While it might be tempting save on costs and enlist an agent who only asks for a small or flat-rate commission fee, you run the risk of having the agent cut corners and skimp on quality marketing and comprehensive service.

Giving one agency exclusive rights to market and sell your property means that the agent is guaranteed to recoup their marketing costs, incentivising them to put time and effort into finding you a buyer, and at the right price.

Read more about estate agent commission fees, and what they pay for here.

You’ll get comprehensive, quality service:

Again, selling a home isn’t just about getting a good price, it’s about offering you (the seller) the most comprehensive possible service.

And reflecting this is the fact that the industry, and industry standards in South Africa has had to keep pace. Today, reputable estate agents aren’t ‘sales people.’ They’re qualified, certified, and up to date with developments in the market.

You’re under no obligation to accept an offer:

When agents compete against one another to close a sale, you might find yourself under pressure to accept a lower offer, or loose the sale.

Because all offers are directed through a single agent under sole mandate, your agent will be able to negotiate the best possible offer for your property.

Choosing the right real estate agency

Choosing the right estate agency takes some research. Here’s what to look out for when making your decision:
  • Choose an established agency with a good track-record in your neighbourhood;
  • Ask whether a group’s agents are qualified, and attend regular training;
  • Request a property valuation, and make sure it has supporting research;
  • Ask about the agency’s marketing approach;
  • Read client testimonials;
  • Browse their website.

Choosing Rawson Sole Mandate

At Rawson we understand that granting a sole mandate to a single company feels like a risk, especially because it can be difficult to break a contract with an underperforming agent.

Because a sole mandate is a legally binding document, in the majority of cases you will incur penalties (up to 10% of the agent fee) for cancelling a mandate before it expires.

This is why we’ve inserted an ‘escape clause’ in all of our sole mandate agreements.

This gives you, the seller, the option to cancel the mandate if the agent or agency do not live up to their marketing promises made (in writing) at the outset.

The reason we’ve included this escape clause is because we’re confident in the quality and level of service our agents can offer you.

Read about Rawson’s sole mandate ‘escape clause’ here.  


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