A new website designed to help would-be sellers find real estate agents is helpful but won’t replace word-of-mouth recommendations, says Real Estate Institute president Helen O’Sullivan.
www.findmyrealestateagent.co.nz is designed to allow agents to showcase themselves to sellers, with a photo, profile, testimonials and video.
Agents are sorted by specialist suburbs and one person can only be linked to two suburbs, no matter which part of the country they are in.
Website creator Paul Vujnovich said it was important that people were able to get good information about real estate agents.
Sellers could lose up to 7% off the sale price on a property if an agent was not a strong negotiator, he said.
“I’ve found that many people choose their agent from either a random sign they’ve seen, a brochure put through their letterbox or meeting an agent at an open home. Considering your home is your biggest asset, it appeared that no, or very little due diligence is really ever done. That’s way too haphazard. There are so many pitfalls with this approach.”
Mike Pero, of Mike Pero Real Estate, has backed the idea. “It gives them a chance to see who the proactive agents are in their area. It also compares apples with apples and potential customers can see what they're getting for the commission they will part with.”
O’Sullivan said she could see the reasons behind the site. The questions it was asking of real estate agents were valid and encouraging people to spend time comparing agents was helpful.
“Anything that helps consumers do due diligence on the person they use to sell their biggest asset is good.”
She said the promptness of agents’ replies from the website would also give sellers an idea of the people they were dealing with.
But she said suburb expertise were not always the biggest drawcard for an agent. Someone selling an investment property, for example, might want to work with an agent who had a strong contact book of investors.
“I don’t think it replaces talking to friends [for recommendations] at agents’ testimonials and results.”