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

Tony Buckwell
April 5, 2022

I often get asked, "why do more people choose to sell their home with Barfoot & Thompson above other real estate service providers?"

Before I address this question, I need to confess that I would not have been able to answer it myself before entering the real estate profession.

What I believed

My impression was that there are several 'big players' in the market (e.g. Barfoot & Thompson, Harcourts, Bayleys, and Ray White), that they were all structured the same way, and all offered a similar service experience.

If that is true, why does Barfoot & Thompson continue to be recognised year on year, within NZ and internationally, as a benchmark real estate company?

All real estate providers have quality sales consultants and offices dotted around the country. They all have access to the same websites and print publications to market property, use professional photographers, and offer open homes and private viewings. So why do more people select Barfoot & Thompson when selling their most valuable asset? 

What makes Barfoot & Thompson different? 

The answer is this: We are the only large non-franchised real estate company operating in Auckland.

Before entering this profession, my reaction to that statement may have been – so what?

This fundamental structural difference is how/why we can deliver more buyer competition to your property.

We do not operate under the classic franchise model, with franchise boundaries and exclusivity of our listings, as our competitors do.

Barfoot & Thompson branches are part of a completely open network where every property in our listing system is fully available to every agent working with their buyer databases. Each branch is run by a Manager (not separate franchise/business owners) under the umbrella of our Support Centre. None of the other 'big brands' has this structure.

I did a quick survey of one of the other 'big name' companies with offices surrounding my business area. I discovered that five separate business owners were paying a franchise fee for the privilege of having a common logo in their windows. These owners have one prime goal – to make their business successful (and fair enough) -- but how does that translate into an Auckland-wide support network for their vendor/clients?

I will leave that to you to ponder, but here is how it works at Barfoot & Thompson.

How does a 'non-franchised business model' and an open branch network have the potential to deliver more buyer competition to your home?

I accept that you could read this as just a theoretical discussion that has no real impact on your success when the 'rubber hits the road', so here are two case studies as examples of how the B&T network has benefited past clients of mine.

I could have provided many more, but these should be enough to demonstrate the point I am trying to make.

Case Study #1: 103 Marina View Drive, West Harbour

There were 25 buyer introductions from agents other than me during this property's marketing campaign. However, it wasn't just the number of direct agent/buyer introductions that pleased me; it was where they came from.

Here is a summary of the locations of branch agents who introduced potential buyers to this West Harbour listing I was managing:

  • Grey Lynn, Royal Heights (X6)
  • West Harbour (X2)
  • Mairangi Bay, Mt Roskill, Browns Bay (X2)
  • City CBD, New Lynn (X2)
  • Glenfield (X2)
  • Greenlane, Dannemora, Hobsonville, Northcote, Blockhouse Bay, Swanson, and Long Bay. 

This campaign was delivered entirely during a Covid-19 Alert Level-3 period, where private viewing was the only viewing permitted. 

Despite this, the auction day saw ten registered bidders, represented by Auctions Live Online Bidders and telephone bidding in rooms via some of the agents listed above. 

There were 100 bids offered, with an average bidding increment of $11,162. The opening bid was $1,600,000, and the final bid when the hammer finally fell was $2,705,000. 

This was a great auction that delivered a sale result far exceeding my market appraisal range, buyer feedback during the campaign, and my vendors' expectations! 

I invite you to see how the vast Barfoot & Thompson non-franchised network can work for you by taking a sneak 'behind the scenes' look in the video below: 

Case Study Two: 186 Luckens Road, West Harbour

  • During the 3.5 -week auction marketing campaign for this property, there were 90+ viewings.
  • The number of viewings by potential buyers with agents other than me was 19.
  • Where did these other Barfoot & Thompson agents come from to introduce a customer to this West Harbour listing? West Harbour, Hobsonville, Royal Heights, Albany, Blockhouse Bay, Browns Bay, Takapuna, Henderson, Te Atatu, Milford, Onehunga, New Lynn, Glendene and Epsom.
  • The result of this strong buyer engagement? 4-bidders in-rooms + 1 telephone bidder + 4 online bidders via our Auctions Live App. Forty-five bids were offered during the auction call.
  • The property sold for $180,000 above its CV, and $70,000 above the reserve.
  • The final bidding action that drove the sale result to this premium-level was provided by two buyers who had been introduced to the property from the database of agents from other branches.

Case Study Three: 84 Anich Road, Massey.


  • During the marketing period for this auction sale, there were 57 total viewings. A percentage of these were attracted to the property via the usual marketing channels and were hosted by me via open homes or private viewings.
  • Thirty-three of the total viewings were by buyers from the databases of other agents (57.9% of the viewings).
  • THE BIG ONE: Where did these other Barfoot & Thompson agents come from to introduce a customer to this listing in Massey? As the West Harbour based listing agent, I was supported by my branch colleagues from; Panmure, Mission Bay, Royal Heights, Blockhouse Bay, Swanson, West Harbour, Meadowbank, New Lynn, Glendene, Beach Haven, Milford, Henderson, Mt Roskill, Glenfield, Grey Lynn, Glen Eden, Te Atatu, Titirangi & Stonefields. Nineteen branch locations in total!
  • This property sold successfully at auction for a price the vendors were delighted with. The competition provided by having buyers introduced by Barfoot & Thompson agents other than me was the critical element to this result.

My final point…

Whilst the cases I have highlighted here are not necessarily typical of every listing I manage, they are clear examples of how an open and co-operative network of 65+ Auckland branches and 1700+ salespeople has the potential to deliver buyer competition from across Auckland in a way that any franchise model may struggle to replicate.

So although all real estate service providers may have access to similar marketing tools, it is often the second layer of direct buyer introductions that delivers the additional buyer competition and premium result that Barfoot & Thompson clients are thankful for.

If you are like me and enjoy an easy to watch video to convey a concept, you will probably appreciate how this clip pulls my message together in just over 60 seconds:


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