Selling privately when in a Sole Agency contract

(15 Posts)
KimmySchmidty Wed 07-Oct-20 15:46:00

Hi there, I was hoping for some advice from you all. At the end of July I instructed a local estate agent. Overall I've been happy with their service although we have only had a handful of viewings over the months and no offers.
Just to note I didn't get around to signing the contract (not great from me, I admit) but it's a Sole Agency agreement with a minimum period of 8 weeks from the beginning of August (the date of the contract).
My flat is an ex-council property and I have heard that the council might be interested in buying the flat. I want to make sure I do everything above board so I wondered if am okay to go ahead with seeing if this will be a viable option with the council without involving the agent? Or would this come back and bite me?
This might be a non-issue since I didn't sign the agent contract but I still want to make sure I do everything above board.

OP’s posts: |
Panicmode1 Wed 07-Oct-20 16:55:37

How do the Council know you are selling? If they know because of the agent marketing the property then you will owe a fee. However, it may be more difficult for the agency to retrieve the money if you havent signed the contract.....I would ask your solicitor.

Bouncycastle12 Wed 07-Oct-20 16:57:52

Check the property ombudsman on this? Have a feeling they’ve narrowed the definition of who counts as being “introduced” to a property to the people an agent’s actually showed around.

KimmySchmidty Wed 07-Oct-20 17:27:56

@Panicmode1 - I reached out to the council as I heard a property in the building that was previously privately owned has been bought by the council

@Bouncycastle12 thank you, I will try and find the best way to contact them.

OP’s posts: |
bilbodog Wed 07-Oct-20 17:42:22

Sounds like you are out of the 8 week period by now anyway and if the agent hasnt been on the ball enough to ask you to return the signed contract im not sure they can do anything now?

DespairingHomeowner Wed 07-Oct-20 17:47:40

You need to give them notice in writing and let that time elapse

DespairingHomeowner Wed 07-Oct-20 17:50:00

The reason for this: despite not signing the contract, you proceeded to let them represent you, so it’s an implied contract. Give notice and you will be in the clear/ it’s the only motivation they will ever have to sell your flat so they can get paid

They will likely chase you if they find you have sold privately so avoid the stress/risk if you can

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Loofah01 Wed 07-Oct-20 17:53:05

Yep, give notice on the contract but you did the intro so you should be OK in any event

KimmySchmidty Wed 07-Oct-20 19:58:01

Thanks for the advice all. Just thinking about giving notice to the agent, it's a shame to do that since the council option may fall through at any point but I guess it's the cleanest route. We could ask them to relist?

Couldn't find this use case on the property ombudsman site but will keep digging.

OP’s posts: |
DespairingHomeowner Wed 07-Oct-20 23:44:19

Give notice: they will work harder for you

If council sale falls through, a new agent will attract more interest anyway

KoalaRabbit Wed 07-Oct-20 23:50:46

I would give notice. Our notice period is 7 days after minimum period but don't know if that is standard.

DespairingHomeowner Thu 08-Oct-20 08:44:37

KoalaRabbit

I would give notice. Our notice period is 7 days after minimum period but don't know if that is standard.

Mine was 3 weeks. OP - I’d expect 4 weeks notice to take it to 12 weeks which is typical but check the contract

GU24Mum Thu 08-Oct-20 12:27:21

You're unlikely to need to service notice if you want to sell to a buyer you've found independently as the agreement with the agent is likely to say that you are liable to pay its commission for any sales generated during its agency period. Just tell them that you've made contact with the Council and are minded to accept their offer. The agents will then be pretty motivated to see if they can drum up anyone else who will be a better buyer so that they don't lose their commission.

GU24Mum Thu 08-Oct-20 12:27:34

PS: but do check that that's what the agreement says!

WombatChocolate Thu 08-Oct-20 18:26:23

Selling to the council is a great option.
You need to ascertain how serious they are and if they ar on tight timescales....probably not.

Be aware they will probably offer a price below your asking price (they often have a formula) and will then not budge and negotiate....it is take it or leave it. They won’t pay extra for any fittings. They might not bother with a survey if the rest of the building is council owned and they are already the feeeholder.

They are clearly a strong cash buyer without a chain...it’s good news esp in the current market.

Annoying if you have to pay the agent commission when they didn’t introduce you, but you might not be able to avoid it. One possibility if you have a long notice period is to approach the agent and explain you have had a discussion with an interested ‘organisation’ who will make an offer and require very little work for the agent and so you’d like to agree a reduced fee, given you are under contract but the fact they will have had zero role in it.....make clear that if they won’t go for that, you will simply wait until the notice period expires and then proceed with the interested buyer and they will get nothing. This is a possibility if the notice period is long (never sign up for that kid of thing again but negotiate it down) and you feel the council can’t or won’t wait, or you feel for your own peace of mind you want it sorted fast.

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