The risk of using multiple estate agents

In a judgment highlighting the risk to property sellers of using more than one agent, Judge Carole Lewis said the Pam Golding agent who sold the house had not been the effective cause of the sale and had "reaped where she had not sown".

The fact that the sellers, Gavin and Tracey Attree, now found themselves liable to pay more than one agent "is of their own making", the judge said.

The dispute began in the Durban High Court, where Judge Chris Nicholson ruled against Wakefields.

The agency then took the matter on appeal to Bloemfontein, where five judges found in favour of the company.

According to evidence, the Attrees bought a house in 2001. In 2004, they started building another house in Mount Edgcombe and, while they were unsure if they were going to move, they agreed to let agents bring potential buyers round.

Wakefields listed the house on its books and, the company contended, it had an oral mandate to sell the property, for which it would receive commission of 6 percent.
From time to time, Wakefields agent Phoula Walker took people around, including Fiona Howard in March 2005. Howard "loved" the house but said it was too expensive.

By chance, soon afterwards, Howard was introduced to Pam Golding agent Daphne de Marigny.
She told De Marigny about the house and how much she liked it.

In April that year, a Remax agent suggested that the Attrees lower their asking price. Despite giving Remax a sole mandate, Gavin Attree told two other agents, including De Marigny, that they had dropped the price.

Recalling her conversation with Howard, De Marigny contacted her immediately, prepared an offer to purchase of R3.4 million, with a reduced commission of R150 000, and the deal was done that same day. The commission was shared between Pam Golding and Remax, and Wakefields cried foul.

Judge Lewis, writing on behalf of all the judges, said that but for Walker's introduction of the house to Howard, she would not have been aware of the property's existence.

"Howard was not looking in the area at the time and wanted to buy in Morningside. It was Walker's wisdom and business acumen that made her take her to Durban North.

"De Marigny, on the other hand, learned that Howard was interested in the property quite fortuitously. She did nothing about it until she was phoned by Attree. At that stage it was only five weeks since Howard had seen the house with Walker.

"Had Walker not shown the Howards the house first, it would not have been sold to Howard through the agency, Pam Golding," the judge said.

The court ordered that the Attrees pay Wakefields R232 560 plus interest at 15.5 percent a year from October 2005, and the costs of the litigation.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 22 Nov 2017
      Most people know of the Community Schemes Ombud Service (CSOS) and that levies must to paid to fund its operations. In this article the experts at Paddocks will address some of the issues that are causing confusion.
    • 22 Nov 2017
      While sales have noticeably slowed in most sectors in most Cape town suburbs, the security estate sector in Constantiaberg has bucked the trend by remaining buoyant, with sales by August this year already surpassing total sales in 2016.
    • 22 Nov 2017
      The end of the year is fast approaching, and so are all the travellers, tourists and holidaymakers. For those who live near or own a property in a holiday-hotspot, the festive season also brings with it an abundance of short-term rental opportunities. Its a great way for property owners to make a few extra rand for their own holidays or to put towards their savings.
    • 21 Nov 2017
      The buying process is over, and the moving truck has delivered your household goods to your new property. Now it’s time to unpack and turn your new house into a home.
    • 21 Nov 2017
      When an offer to purchase a property is signed by both buyer and seller, this constitutes a binding agreement or “Deed of Sale” between the two parties. However, in most cases the “standard contract” might not be enough to cover all the specifics pertaining to the sale. The agreement may require some additions or alterations to clauses, which needs an expert hand in the drafting of such
    • 21 Nov 2017
      As more and more South Africans look to invest in property abroad, Spain is offering them one of the best deals in global real estate.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Since 2012, sectional title complexes have been leading the South African property market, not only in terms of price growth, but sales volumes as well. Remaining relatively strong, even in the face of 2017’s political and economic turmoil, experts say this market segment could offer valuable insight into South Africans’ property purchase priorities.
    • 20 Nov 2017
      Regardless of whether you are purchasing your first start-up home, downsizing or moving in with roommates, finding ways to maximise small spaces can be a big advantage, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us