My Top Tips for Selecting a Real Estate Agent

Tony Buckwell
March 20, 2022

Here are some common questions you might be having when beginning the journey of selling your home:

  • How should I select a real estate agent when there seem to be so many available?
  • Are there attributes that make one agent better than the others?
  • Could the agent I select affect the price I get for my home?

Those are great questions. The agent you select is a critically important decision affecting the entire real estate sales experience (and outcome). 

Are all real estate agents the same? 

From the outside looking in, I can see how all agents must appear to do pretty much the same things and offer the same service. However, in reality, there are some very significant differences between the way we work and our service. But how can you assess those points of difference?

Real-Estate Company Backing

Firstly, and very importantly, what company do they work for? I understand that most people must think all agencies are fundamentally the same. However, there are such significant differences in how Barfoot & Thompson works for you compared to a franchised company or small boutique operator. Therefore, you must get this information first.

Related Blog: Choosing a Real Estate Agent: What Sets Barfoot & Thompson Apart?

Open home research (secret shopper)

In the months leading up to your listing date, why not visit some local open homes hosted by various agents and get a first-hand impression? How professional/welcoming/helpful were they? How well did you feel they represented their client (the homeowner)?

Speak to past clients

An agent should be able to provide you with the contact information for a list of past clients happy to speak to you about their experience. For me, referral/personal endorsement is almost top of my list when seeking the services of any professional.

Online research

Company profile information, social media business profiles, or a website (such as the one you are on now), can all provide a wealth of background info. It is incredible how a simple Google search can produce a selection of valuable information before deciding.

Meet the agents you are considering (the interview)

Request a meeting with the agent/agents that demonstrate the qualities you are looking for. 

Even before you are ready to sell, why not request a face to face meeting and have a chat about the potential for working together in the future? Ask them what they offer that should compel you to choose them over the competition. There is no obligation to commit, and this may give you the first-hand information you need to provide the confidence to take the next step.

Complete a quick background check

All real estate salespeople in New Zealand must be licensed with the Real Estate Agents Authority. The REAA is an independent government regulatory body for the real estate industry in New Zealand. Its job is to promote a high standard of service and professionalism in the real estate industry and help protect buyers and sellers. The REAA provides you with a significant level of protection as a buyer or seller. You can search for any salesperson and check their disciplinary record at

Things to Look Out For

It’s just as important to know what not to have in a real estate salesperson, so be wary of those who:

  • Over-flatter you or otherwise seem insincere.
  • Seem to tell you things you want to hear, especially about how much they think your home will sell for
  • They are quick to drop their commission rate. If they can’t even negotiate their commission rate with you, what will they be like when dealing with a buyer to achieve a premium price for your home?
  • Try to “buy your listing” by offering to pay for everything. Although this may seem tempting at first, it does create a definite conflict of interest. Do you want an agent motivated to secure just ‘any deal’ to recoup their costs, or an agent committed to a premium result for you due to their professional impartiality?
  • Have a disciplinary record with the REAA.

Great questions to ask:

Here are two questions that a homeowner should ask:

  • Why should I list my property with you?
  • What makes you so different from everyone else?

Many salespeople give vague responses that show no direct benefit to the homeowner, such as:

  • I am an excellent salesperson (too ambiguous).
  • I am experienced (too vague).
  • I have been selling houses for over 30 years (no direct benefit).
  • I provide excellent customer service (too vague).
  • I can give you a free appraisal (not unique).
  • I am passionate about selling houses (not unique; no direct benefit).
  • I listen to my clients (too vague; not unique).

A real estate salesperson should be able to provide you with specific points of difference that are unique and offer a real benefit to you. For example, they might specialise in a particular real estate area (e.g. apartments, rental properties).

What are your thoughts?

I’m always open to a no-obligation chat. Fill out the form below and I'll get in touch as soon as possible.

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