By Trish Willis | Member of the Property Institute of NZ (IPAC)
Real Estate Commissions

It is important to be fully informed about real estate commission and fees before you sign up with a real estate agent to sell your house.

The average real estate commission rates are mostly in the 2.5 -3.95 per cent range, some higher, some lower. The above link has examples of approximately how much commission you can expect to pay depending on the value of your home.

Additional real estate fees to budget for

You also need to be on the lookout for any additional fees, including administration, auctioning, property marketing and advertising costs and look for ways to keep your costs to a minimum. The money is better off in your pocket.

If you choose a real estate agent based solely on commission without regard for the many other factors that influence prices, you may end up with less than the optimum sale price.

Sometimes, real estate agents will negotiate real estate commission and other fees. Some refund some marketing expenses when you have an unconditional sale and purchase agreement, although some are staunch and may not.

All expenses should be included in the real estate agency agreement that you sign, authorising a real estate agent to list your property. If you are not absolutely clear about all the expenses, don't sign.

If you want more hands-on help or advice about commission and fees or finding a suitable real estate agent with whom to negotiate commission, Agent Finder NZ offers a genuinely independent service which is free to vendors. Agent Finder NZ vets real estate agents and provides valuable pre-market real estate advice.

Make contact or give them a call on 0800 789 532 - it's a genuine free service for Kiwi vendors

Not Just About Commission

You should choose your real estate service and real estate agent by the price they can realistically achieve along with how they go about doing this.

This can mean NOT listing with the real estate agent who provides you with the cheapest real estate commission or highest house appraisal. High estimates are sometimes given to home owners by real estate agents to entice you to list with them.

We have consistently found over the years that real estate agents who are modest about their property appraisal estimates with the aim of exceeding that are better representatives than an agent who over-promises and under-delivers.

If you are hearing anything unethical in your discussions with the real estate agent, or your intuition is ringing an alarm bell, you should probably take heed.

Find out what to look for in a property appraisal in New Zealand first

The difference between the highest premium companies and the lowest fee companies on a property value of $500,000 is around $10,000.

Home staging and styling alone can boost the sale price by an extra 10 to 15 per cent according to real estate agents.

Risks of choosing a real estate agent based on commission

When discussing real estate commission with a real estate agent you should keep in mind it's important to find out whether they have experience and competence in selling real estate. Some are only recently qualified.

Selling property is a complex business, legally binding and your sale price will depend more on the quality of your real estate agent than the commission they charge.

When assessing whether someone is the right agent for you, your property type and location, look for the logic behind any recommendations they make in the house appraisal. Take note of how good their knowledge of the market is, including comparisons to other nearby properties. Don't be afraid to ask for examples of recent sales in your area.

If you are short on time you can find vetted real estate agents and interview help here

Understanding Legally Binding Documents

Real Estate Commission

Another matter to consider when anguishing over commission is the amount of legal documentation involved in a property sale along with the real estate agent's ability to interpret the content or their honesty about explaining information contained in documents.

Attention to the detail is paramount. Once you've signed, it's legally binding.

Find out here about the legal documents you might encounter.

This is one of the reasons why real estate companies invest a lot of money into training their agents. Getting legal detail wrong can be life changing.

Pounds And Pennies

Real estate agency work is complex and the equity you end up with comes from a combination of decisions that affect what your house sells for in the end - it's not just about the commission rate.

So our advice is - consider the big picture and don't jump over pounds to save pennies.

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Page updated November 27, 2022 by Trish Willis | Member of Property Institute of NZ (IPAC)

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