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Tuesday Nov 04, 2014

Don't sign estate agents mandates without thinking

Property sellers should familiarize themselves with their estate agent mandates before they sign them, to prevent disputes from arising.

Mandates, whether sole, dual or multiple agent mandates, are legal contracts between the sellers of the property and the agent involved, says Annette Evans, regional general manager of the Institute of Estate Agents, Western Cape.

Once the document is signed, it is taken that the parties have read, understood and accepted all the conditions in that agreement and cannot be questioned later.

Changes to a mandate have to be in writing, and attached to the original mandate, so that if any dispute arises, there is written proof of what agreements were reached, she said. According to the Consumer Protection Act, mandates may be cancelled but this is dependent on many factors determined by the Act which need to be ascertained prior to signature.

Asked what sort of disputes arise, she said that in some cases it could be the percentage of commission, whether another agent is allowed to market the home, or what the agent's will be doing to market the home, to name a few.

"Sellers should take the time to read the mandate carefully and the agent should sit with the seller and explain everything in that mandate to the seller. The seller, in turn, should be asking all of his questions regarding the mandate at this meeting and not after the contract is signed," said Evans.

"A property is probably the largest asset you would ever own, and you would never hand over millions of rands as an investment to someone without asking carefully what the terms of the agreement are, and the same applies to the selling of a home, ask beforehand what you are agreeing to."

IEA Press Release


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