Do I have to pay both estate agents?

Our lawyer, Fiona McNulty, explains the legal issues involved with using two estate agents and paying commission
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Question: I put my house on the market with one estate agent and we didn’t have an offer in six months. I then put the house on the market with another agent, and a buyer who had looked at the house when it was being marketed by the first agent made an offer — though their second viewing, which seemed to do the trick, came via the second agent.
Who do I pay the commission to? Do I have to pay a higher rate of commission because there appear to have been two agents (though I only instructed one at a time)? Worst of all, will I have to pay them both?

Answer: It depends on the wording of the contract you signed with each estate agent and whether the contract with the first agent had been terminated properly.

If the terms of your contract with the first agents make it clear that they are entitled to be paid commission if they introduce a buyer who subsequently proceeds with the purchase of your property, then you may have to pay them, as the buyer did go through them in the first place.

Consider the terms of the contract you have signed with the second set of agents to see if there is provision for payment of commission during the contract period if a buyer, even though they were introduced by another agent, exchanges contracts.

If you are unsure what the contracts mean, do instruct a solicitor to advise you on the terms so that you do not end up paying more than you need to. Indeed the solicitor may be able to negotiate with the agents on your behalf to reach an amicable and acceptable solution for everyone involved.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP

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