The Sole Mandate Debate

The Sole Mandate Debate!! The choice between granting a sole mandate or going for a multi-agent, open mandate approach is often debated, and can be a contentious and confusing topic for property sellers, AND could also be the difference between a smooth sale or a turbulent one.

Let’s unravel the Sole Mandate vs Open mandate Debate and equip you with the knowledge to make an informed decision.

In South Africa, the two most common mandates are sole mandates and open mandates, each with its own set of pros and cons.

Firstly let’s look at the Benefits of an Open Mandate…

An open mandate often seems very appealing to a seller. It involves a much less formal agreement, and more flexibility, giving Sellers the freedom to choose as many agents as they want. Open mandates look attractive to sellers because of the flexibility, and there is a perception that their property will get more exposure because there are more agents involved.

OK, so apart from the potential benefits, what are the Risks of an Open Mandate?

The downsides of an open mandate are this:  From the agent’s perspective it means that the seller has no commitment towards them, and they aren’t assured of being rewarded for their efforts and expenses. So therefor a seller must also accept that the agents will show less commitment and accountability from their side. You cannot hold any one agent accountable … It’s almost like playing the lottery with your most valuable asset and hoping for the best. Because there is no guarantee of commission or reward for their efforts on an open mandate, agents will be less inclined to spend money on marketing, or put all their effort into the sale, and they may instead put more focus on other properties where they do have a sole mandate.

Furthermore, with an open mandate overexposure can lead to buyers getting the wrong impression – that you’re a desperate seller or your property is struggling to sell. With open mandates the agents might also focus more on quantity than quality, sort of like a  ‘hit and run’ before moving on to the next property. Then also… with multiple agents involved the seller runs the risk of paying double commission if it is not clear which agent effectively made the sale, for instance if the buyer was in contact with two different agents along the way.

OK so let’s look at the other side of the coin: What are the benefits of a Sole Mandate?

A sole mandate grants exclusive rights to just one agency or, in some cases, 2 or 3 agencies if it is a joint sole mandate. The sole mandate is a written agreement that specifies each party’s obligations.

The advantages of a sole mandate can be substantial, although there is a catch, which I will get to later on. So With a sole mandate, you can expect the agent to invest time and money into the marketing. The agent has a more guaranteed return on investment, which means more focused marketing efforts, and more willingness to spend money on the marketing efforts. For the seller there is obviously less risk of double commission claims, plus there is more time for the agent to pre-qualify buyers properly, and there is a higher likelihood of receiving a better price, because there’s less pressure to accept lower offers. One agent controls all the buyers, creating healthy competition that can result in the best possible offer for the seller.


The catch with a sole mandate is that you must make sure you choose the RIGHT AGENT. This decision is pivotal and is THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT when choosing to give a sole mandate. Before giving a sole mandate, it’s crucial to do your homework!! Look for a competent, reliable agent who will do everything they can to sell your home. Check their online presence and social media activity. Are they visible online and in the marketplace? Are they active and do they have a history of success? Do they have positive testimonials and reviews from previous clients?

Remember, it’s not only about the type of mandate; it’s also about finding the right agent who will work tirelessly to sell your home.

So, HOW do you decide which agent to use? Well, whether you choose a sole mandate or an open mandate, the key is always to choose the right agent. The agent you choose should be able to demonstrate a comprehensive marketing plan that includes high-quality media (HD photos, decent walk-through videos, and 3D tours if required…. AND of course, even MORE importantly: the agent should use effective, targeted advertising strategies across various platforms to ensure maximum market exposure aimed at attracting the right buyers and achieving the best possible price for your property. Nowadays it is more important than ever to make sure you have a COMPREHENSIVE digital game plan and an effective online marketing strategy.

PLUS you need to know they will not simply post the property ads on all the platforms and then hope for the best! You must make sure that the agent has a strategy to tweak and adjust the marketing as and when necessary… especially by using data-driven, “Sponsored and Demographically Targeted” Advertising Campaigns based on buyer demographics. And using FLOW marketing techniques on various social media channels. And of course RE-MARKETING campaigns based on buyers’ previous interests and previous marketing results and data.

AND THEN… Beyond qualifications and experience and marketing expertise, finding an agent whose personality and approach resonate with yours is also crucial. Selling your home is a personal journey, and having an agent who understands your needs, communicates effectively, and makes you feel comfortable, can make the process smoother and more enjoyable, and significantly enhance your home selling experience.

I sincerely hope that will help you in your decision when deciding what type of mandate to use, and how to find the right agent, when you decide to sell your home.

Remember, selling your home is a significant life event, and we’re here to support you and help you turn a potential stressful situation into a happy memory!!!! Feel free to reach out to us for further assistance or with any additional questions you may have.

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