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Sole Agency, Joint Sole Agency or Multi-Agency? Why Work With Both an Estate Agent and an Auction House?

Sam Kinloch

So you’ve decided to sell your property, but did you know that you could use more than one agent to sell? A private treaty sale may be suitable for your sale, but in some circumstances, it may be in your interest to use a joint agency or multi-agency agreement to sell your property. 

Contrary to common misconceptions, professional property auction houses often work in collaboration with estate agents, forming beneficial partnerships and networks to sell properties quickly and efficiently.

Estate agents and auctioneers are both specialists in property sales, with slightly different remits and areas of expertise, and bringing this skill and market knowledge together can make a significant impact on the speed and value of your property sale.

In this article, we explain how the different methods of selling a home compare, what they mean to you as a seller, and why a mixed group of professionals could be an ideal solution.

If you’re looking to speak to an experienced auctioneer about working with your Estate Agent in a joint agency agreement, get in touch today. Let us know the details of your property and we’ll talk you through your options. Find out more about auctioning a house here.

Sole Agency, Joint Sole Agency or Multi-Agency? Why Work With Both an Estate Agent and an Auction House?

Different Ways to Sell a Property in the UK - Sole agency, joint agency or multi-agency?

We'll start by running through the different options to clarify how these sales approaches differ to provide an overview of what you might expect and the respective pros and cons.

Sole Agency Property Sales

Selling through a sole agency means you appoint one agent to manage the marketing and administration that goes into selling a home. Typically, the agent offers to take a lower commission as a percentage of the sale in return for exclusive rights to sell the property.


  • If a property is well suited to the agent's local client base, they have potential buyers already lined up and have a superb reputation; this option can work well.


  • The possible pitfall is reduced market coverage It can take several months to sell a property via a private treaty sale which may not suit your individual circumstances.

Joint Sole Agency Property Sales (Joint Agency Agreement)

While the words joint and sole seem very different, this approach means that two agents work to sell the property, working independently but sharing the commission – irrespective of which agent negotiates the sale.


  • Commission splits can vary, but the concept means a seller has two agents representing their property, widening the pool of buyers.
  • By combining the expertise and resources of both professionals, sellers or buyers can maximise their chances of success. In fact, we work with 650 joint agents across the South of England to help their buyers and sellers achieve the best possible price for their property.
  • Using an agent working alongside an auction house is often highly preferable to sellers with unusual, high-value or distinctive properties, alongside those either looking for a fast sale or selling a home in need of modernisation in which the buyer has an excellent opportunity to add value through redevelopment or renovation.


There are actually very few disadvantages to an auctioneer/estate agent joint agency agreement.

Coordinating efforts and communication between multiple agents can sometimes be challenging. There may be differences in marketing strategies, pricing opinions, or buyer negotiations, which can lead to confusion and potential conflicts between the agents involved.

A partnership between an Estate Agent and an Auctioneer circumvents these issues as there is a clear division of labour, with both parties working closely together to achieve an outcome rather than two firms competing against each other.

Sole Agency, Joint Sole Agency or Multi-Agency? Why Work With Both an Estate Agent and an Auction House?

Multi-Agency Property Sales

Multi-agency sales involve two agents or more, all working to sell the property. The agent who completes the sale is entitled to the commission, which can be higher because they have less certainty.


  • Agents may be perceived as working harder to market and sell the property since they are in competition to earn a commission.
  • Using multiple agents may result in wider exposure.


  • Lack of exclusivity - With a multi-agency agreement, the property owner is not bound to work exclusively with any one agent. This means that agents may not invest as much time, effort, or resources into marketing the property, as they are aware that they are in competition with other agents.
  • Potential inconsistency in marketing - When multiple agents are marketing the same property, there is a risk of inconsistency in branding, advertising, and pricing strategies.
  • Limited agent commitment - Since agents are aware that they are competing with other agents, they may be less motivated to invest significant time and resources into the property.

    Difficulty in tracking and coordinating efforts - Coordinating activities and communication among multiple agents can be challenging. There is a risk of miscommunication, overlapping efforts, or missed opportunities.
  • Potential conflicts of interest - In a multi-agency agreement, different agents may bring in potential buyers for the property. This can lead to potential conflicts of interest, as agents may prioritise their own buyers over others.

How Estate Agents and Property Auctioneers Work in Partnership

Some properties are ideally suited to sale at auction for a wide variety of reasons. Properties, for example - those that require repair or refurbishment, unique properties or those with rare features. Properties with a propensity for investment or re-development and land of all descriptions can achieve outstanding results at auction, where interested buyers with the capital to invest may bid competitively. If you’re interested in finding out whether your property is suitable for auction, read our guide here: How to sell a unique or unusual home or property. 

Other instances, as we’ve touched on above, are when a property is best marketed as a development project – something that developers, property investors and professional landlords often look for as a way to enhance their portfolio and return a capital appreciation profit.

If an estate agent, drawing on their local market knowledge, suspects a property will be difficult to sell or will be hard to market to the most appropriate buyer group, anticipating the sale to take longer than usual, they may recommend coordinating the sale with an auctioneer.

The aim is to get the best price for your property, using the wide-scale marketing campaign and access to a unique buyer pool available through an auctioneer to generate interest from a wide variety of interested parties.

Read our guide: should I use a property auction? 

Open bidding can work favourably, with transparent bids as opposed to sealed bids sometimes used in other sales methods. The additional advantage to the seller is that there is a high degree of certainty that the property will sell straight away, with funds released in as little as 20 days.

Benefits of Selling a Home Through an Auction House and Estate Agent

Most sellers working with an auctioneer and an estate agent have this route recommended, with the assurance that provided one bid is submitted at or above the reserve price, they will have exchanged contracts for the property when the auction ends meaning both the buyer and the seller have entered into a legally binding contract.. This is particularly helpful if you have an onward purchase to consider.

For estate agents, working with an experienced auction house is also advantageous:

  • They can facilitate a speedy sale for their client, working with the auctioneer to help establish the property marketing information and seller pricing expectations.
  • Land or property that may take longer or be more difficult to sell to alternative buyer demographics often sell very quickly, preventing client disappointment or frustration. Find out how long the auction process takes here: How long does it take to sell a property at auction?
  • Auctions often achieve fantastic sale values, where high-interest properties and the auction environment mean bidders can continue submitting bids to secure the property over a competing buyer.
  • Common issues in private treaty sales, such as one buyer dropping out of a chain, do not exist in property auction sales since every transaction is a cash purchase, and a legally binding agreement is made by the highest bidder.
  • The commission is split on an equal 50/50 basis, meaning that the estate agent is likely to achieve a higher commission than if they were to be a sole agent.
For more information about how estate agents can work with auctioneers, read our article here. 

There are other benefits to sellers, particularly where they wish to set their own time frames, with the option of entering the property into the next available auction date – provided there is sufficient time for marketing.

Agents can refer a property to their selected auctioneer, with their client's agreement, without delay ensuring the auction house can begin marketing the property and, in the vast majority of cases, achieve a profitable outcome in just a few weeks.

If you’re new to property auctions, find out how property auctions work here. 

If you’re looking to speak to an experienced auctioneer about working with your estate agent in a joint agency agreement, get in touch today. Let us know the details of your property and we’ll talk you through your options. Find out more about selling your property via auction here.

About the Author

Sam Kinloch

Sam Kinloch

Director & Senior Auction Appraiser

Sam’s career in the dizzy world of property auctions began when he hung up his chainsaw and headed in from the forest. Joining the team in 2003 Sam now sits on the Board of Directors and has been instrumental in the adoption of online auction services.
Out of the office you can find him flying around the velodrome or sipping coffee at a local café.

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07968 780714

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