In the constant wave of property stories that have featured in the media in recent weeks, one in particular caught my eye. It was this: Are more real estate agents misleading buyers? from the NZ Herald.

I am personally confident that the answer is no but rather those that are not being honest with clients are getting found out as people become better informed as to their rights.

Like any financial transaction it’s vital that our clients on both sides of a property deal are fully informed about their rights and what they can and should expect from their agent.

Here at Harcourts we offer all our vendors The Harcourts Promise, which is our signed service agreement in which our sales consultants commit to provide five essential services for clients:

•    provide a detailed marketing plan
•    provide post-inspection feedback
•    provide written progress reports
•    hold regular marketing review meetings
•    present all offers in writing

This is what any good sales consultant should provide as a matter of course for any client. But what else should they be doing? What do you, as a client, have a right to expect?

Probably one of the most important things to remember is that a real estate agent is legally required to act in the best interests of the property vendor and to act in accordance with their instructions – but that should not be at the expense of honesty and transparency when dealing with buyers.

Check HERE for the Real Estate Agents Authority Professional Conduct and Client Care rules

A proper sales consultant should never put their buyer or seller under any pressure to accept offers. They should make sure both the vendors and the buyers are kept up to date on any relevant developments and try to ensure all parties have a clear understanding of relevant documents and the process.

Crucially an agent cannot withhold or provide inaccurate information about a property. Even though they are working on behalf of the seller they must still treat the buyer fairly and supply them with honest accurate information about the property. That also means that can’t make any claims about a property without being able to provide evidence to substantiate them and they must be honest about the seller’s price expectations.

On the other side of that, an agent must also market the property in line with the price dictated by the vendor. They must also let vendors know if they are receiving any discounts, special deals or even commissions on advertising.

Concerns around conflict of interest are another issue that has come up regularly recently, again around buyer due diligence. If any agent has any connection with a supplier involved in the property deal, or with a buyer or seller, they must fully disclose that to all parties affected.

In addition to the points above follows is a list of 20 of the most common things that I personally offer to vendor clients as part of a comprehensive full service, noting that every campaign is different to another, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list:

  1. Arrange high quality and appealing photographs.
  2. Create a well worded and inviting ad copy text.
  3. List your property on Trade Me
  4. List your property on Real Estate
  5. List your property on Harcourts
  6. Take out Dominion Post marketing at your instruction
  7. Take out Property Press marketing at your instruction
  8. Take out Blue Book marketing at your instruction
  9. Deliver 100-200 Just listed flyers in your neighbourhood.
  10. Highlight your property to all the Harcourts agents in Wellington.
  11. Dedicate a time for agents to visit and view your property at commencement of the campaign and quote your property to their buyer databases
  12. Conduct open home inspections at an agreed time on Sundays if appropriate and follow up with all attendees in a timely manner and provide relevant feedback
  13. Conduct viewings by appointment at your convenience, and report back on any interest or feedback from all buyers.
  14. Email your property details to management companies or mortgage brokers to showcase your property to investors or prospective investors.
  15. Quote your property to my own extensive buyer database and follow up for buyer appointments as well as cross referencing new buyers coming into the market.
  16. Conduct any negotiations competently and with lightning urgency and in your best interests.
  17. Conduct any tender or auction campaigns competently and effectively and in your best interests.
  18. Provide regular and informative contact throughout the campaign and be available for your service or inquiries at any time.
  19. After sale service right up to and following settlement – with you all the way.
  20. Maintain your confidence and privacy at all times in accordance with my fiduciary duty to you within the bounds of the relevant legal frameworks.

To find out more about The Harcourts Promise click here

For more information or to discuss any of your current real estate requirements, please just get in touch, I would welcome the opportunity to not only work to the expectation I have outlined above, but far exceed it. I’m available anytime so get in touch on 027 532 3273 or corey.watts@harcourts.co.nz

Corey Watts is a licensed salesperson under the REAA 2008