A common mistake made by home sellers when they appoint an agent is signing an authority to sell without checking the length of time on the agent’s authority. Sellers may think they are signing up for 30 or 60 days, only to later discover that they actually signed for much longer. This can be a problem if the property doesn’t sell and you’re unhappy with the agent. Ensure you check every detail on the authority and ask the agent to explain all the sections before you commit yourself. Do not sign anything until you are clear on what you are signing.
“Sellers may think they are signing up for 30 or 60 days, only to later discover that they actually signed for much longer.”
The auction authority is the one which catches most sellers out. What most people don’t realise is when you sign up for an auction you are also signing up for a period of time beyond the auction date. So if the property doesn’t sell on auction day the agent still has your property for private sale for the length of time you have, perhaps unknowingly, signed. It is this length of time that slips under the guard of most people because at the time of signing all the focus is on the auction date and the possible success. Most agents will sign you up for 30 days or longer beyond the auction date which makes you wonder what little confidence they must have in selling your home on auction day.
In the event that you are not happy with the auction result and want to change agents, you may not be able to because you are legally bound to stay with the agent for the length of time on the authority. If you do choose to auction your home, before you sign the agent’s authority, make sure you know how many days after the auction you are committing yourself to.
You have the option at the time of signing the authority to choose any length of time. It can be as little as zero days to as many days as you like. It’s safer to sign up for fewer days and if you’re happy with the agent you can extend their authority period. If you’re not happy then you’re free to change agents.
Be in control. It should be your choice to either stay or go.
By Paul Kounnas