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
    • 19 Jun 2018
      In the current market, letting out a property can be a good option as rental demand remains strong, especially in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg. This is according to Chris Renecle, MD of Renprop. However he says that before homeowners let their property out, there are five key points they should make sure are covered before they market the property for rent and sign any lease agreements.
    • 19 Jun 2018
      The Capetonian dream is to live by the ocean with the iconic mountain making an appearance somewhere in the horizon. But, that dream comes with a hefty price tag that many simply cannot afford. But, should you venture some kilometres out of the city centre, entirely new realms of beachside bliss await you …
    • 19 Jun 2018
      Douw Steyn, one of the richest men in the country, recently allowed a rare glimpse into his Fourways Palazzo when it was featured on the SABC lifestyle programme Top Billing - and it is beyond your wildest dreams!
    • 18 Jun 2018
      Many home sellers are motivated to appoint estate agents because they know that the agency will carry the costs of advertising and marketing their property.
    • 18 Jun 2018
      When a property is sold when it has a tenant in occupation, the questions often raised are: “What happens to the tenant if the landlord sells the property?”, and what rights the tenant will have with regards to cancelling the lease or enforcing it, says Sunell Afrika, rentals manager for
    • 18 Jun 2018
      Sellers are often caught off-guard by the expenses incurred in the selling of a property. Just like there is no such thing as a free lunch, there is also no such thing as selling your property without incurring at least some costs.
    • 15 Jun 2018
      The second quarter of 2018 has proven to be the turning point for Midrand’s real estate market, especially the upper end which started to waver towards the end of a tumultuous 2017 with a notable drop in both sales and average selling prices.
    • 15 Jun 2018
      According to data recently released by FNB, the average age of a South African home buyer has increased from 38 to 44 this year. In an attempt to help first-time buyers enter the market sooner, Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, walks us through the steps of saving for your first home.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us