Selling: Double take

Many agents won't explain the vital details in important legal documents to a seller, which is often detrimental and could even end in disaster.

Agents will often almost shockingly "do almost anything to avoid explaining legal documents to their clients", says Lanice Steward, MD of Anne Porter Knight Frank.

Remember not to rush

"It is true, however, that for many clients, this is an irksome formality — one that they would rather avoid. They don't want to make the effort to understand fully what they have agreed to, but every now and then, a lack of understanding leads to real complications...

She says in almost every case the agent was to blame for not pointing out the real implications of certain clauses.

Read the fine print

As an example, there was recently a case of an elderly lady who had signed a contract granting an agent the right to sell her property. This, it was said, entitled her agent to claim a five percent commission six weeks after the client thought the mandate had lapsed.

When the home was sold by another, it transpired that the client had never had the agreement fully explained nor were the words 'sole mandate' — on which the late commission claim was based — even actually used.

"It's quite surprising how often it is the mandate clause that causes difficulties," says Steward.

Understand what you're signing

"My advice to property sellers is that they must make certain at the outset that they really understand what they are signing.

"In addition, the seller should insist on looking at the listing sheet to ensure that the house has been correctly represented with all its features, fittings and faults disclosed," says Steward.

This listing sheet can be signed in granting a mandate but this is not a sole mandate unless that is actually stated.

Article from: