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Get The Best From Your Agent

Get the right professional to sell your house or help you buy one, says Bindi Norwell of REINZ. A good agent could save you thousands.

8 October 2021

Autumn 21

Buying or selling a property can be one of the most expensive and stressful decisions you’ll ever make in your life.

That’s why you should work with the right partners to make the process as seamless as possible. Here’s how to get the best from an agent when you’re buying or selling a property.

Why not to sell privately

Homeowners who use a real-estate agent to sell their home can expect to get on average 15 per cent more money for the property than they would by selling it privately, recent analysis conducted by REINZ showed.

This is the highest difference between the two methods of selling that we’ve seen in 18 years. We’ve seen the difference slowly increasing over the past few years.

Back in 2015, you would have been 8 per cent better off using an agent. In 2016, the gap grew to 11 per cent, 12 per cent in 2017, dropped to 5 per cent in 2018, 6 per cent in 2019 and has now leapt to 15 per cent in 2020.

The figures show the true value an agent can bring to the process of selling your property.

That’s not to say you can’t sell privately – it can work perfectly if you have the time, inclination, expertise, and patience to do it.

But, for example, if you’re a busy family where both parents work fulltime, then it might be better to use the skills and expertise of an agent.

Keep in mind that there have been many regulations and legislative changes in the property market over the past few years.

Agents have been trained to help you understand what’s required and keep you informed of your rights and obligations.

Talk to several agents

When you’re buying a house, the best way to find the ideal property is to talk to a number of local real-estate agents about what’s happening in the property market.

They’ll be able to fill you in on what’s around in your price range and what might be coming on sale over the coming weeks or months.

They’ll often they have properties on their books that haven’t yet been advertised online or in print.

Referrals count

If you’re selling, ask your family, friends, and neighbours which licensed real-estate agent they’ve used in the past couple of years to sell a house for them, and whether they’d recommend them.

It’s important to get on with your agent because there could be difficult conversations down the track around selling.

Appearances are everything

The agent will advise you on the best way to present your property for sale.

They may suggest any maintenance the house needs and whether the gardens need a tidy-up. The agent may recommend decluttering or staging the property as a way of getting the best price.

Look for an agent who can show they know your local area and community, ideally with a network of potential buyers.

They can make sure your property is best positioned for people looking in your area and is marketed the right way for potential buyers.

Don’t choose on commission

It’s worth understanding what an agent’s commission fee is.

Fees vary by agency and, in a competitive environment, agents can adjust their fee to be more competitive, but our advice is that choosing an agent on commission alone could lead to you getting a lower price for the property and losing out on a lot of money.

Last, but not least, it’s important to work with someone you trust.

Bindi Norwell is Chief Executive at the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ).

Informed Investor's content comes from sources that Informed Investor magazine considers accurate, but we do not guarantee its accuracy. Charts in Informed Investor are visually indicative, not exact. The content of Informed Investor is intended as general information only, and you use it at your own risk.


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