2015 Real Estate Agents
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New Zealanders sold on First National
Choosing a home is a huge decision – whether you’re renting or buying – and one that is not without its complications. The New Zealand housing market is riddled with uncertainty right now, with prices climbing and speculation of a ‘housing bubble’.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to selling, buying, leasing or renting a home. That’s why real estate agents play such an important role. They help shoulder the stress, providing market experience and insights to help you make better informed decisions. They guide you through the process and help connect buyers with sellers, and landlords with tenants.
No matter what your reasons for needing their services, you will be placing a large amount of trust in these professionals to represent your interests and do a good job. Fortunately, New Zealanders are pretty satisfied with their real estate agents. According to our survey, 73% of respondents say they maintain a good relationship with their real estate agent, while 65% would recommend theirs to a friend.
And in order to find the firm with the best reputation, we asked more than 1,000 Kiwis to rate the agent they most recently used, whether it was for renting, buying, selling or leasing. The results are in, and First National has stood out from the crowd, receiving our Most Satisfied Customers – Real Estate in 2015.
Whether you’re a tenant, landlord, buyer or seller, there are a myriad of considerations to make before you commit to a property decision. In a rather condensed fashion, we have highlighted some of the key things you need to consider below:
The cash rate: The cash rate set by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand creates a standard for lenders to reflect in their own interest rates for financial products. This means if the cash rate is low, interest rates on a home loan are generally low, helping you can save quite significantly on repayments. The cash rate has dropped three times this year and now sits at a record low of 2.75%. According to Canstar’s database, the average home loan rate sits at close to 6%.
Fixed or variable rate: Essentially, a fixed rate home loan means your loan repayments will be charged at the same interest rate for however long the fixed term is. After this period, the rate will revert to a variable rate, unless you enter into another fixed-term contract. Variable rates mean the interest charged on your loan can fluctuate either up or down at any time.
To buy or wait: It might seem pretty obvious, but it’s something that simply cannot be overlooked. Prices are continuing to climb in New Zealand, creating apprehension of a housing market crash. Now may or may not be the best time to buy in certain areas – particularly for investors. No one can predict the future, but keep in mind that the housing market is plagued with uncertainty right now.
To sell or wait: As mentioned earlier, house prices are quite high, in fact the average price in Auckland is $800,000 – and rising by the day! Again this raises the question – should you wait to see just how prices will go? Or should you play safe and sell early in case the market collapses? It’s a bit of a gamble and something worth a lot of consideration.
Initial expenses: Although you can expect a large sum once your home is sold, there are some initial costs at the first instance. You may need a bit of money tucked away to help cover any legal costs or repairs before you put your home on the market.
Furnished or unfurnished: If you’re getting ready to sell a home and you’ve already moved out, you’ll inevitably run into the quandary of whether or not to leave your home furnished until it sells. Experts are divided on the topic, with some arguing that an empty house lacks visual appeal, while others argue that furnishing a house is either expensive, inconvenient, or both. It’s really a matter of personal preference with pros and cons on both sides.
Risks: Many people think owning rental property is always a money-making endeavor. However, that couldn′t be further from the truth. Investing in rental property has plenty of risks, including non-payment, property damage, prolonged vacancies, and more. Weigh these risks with the potential rewards before renting.
Availability: As a landlord, it is your responsibility to have you or someone on your behalf available to attend to tenant emergencies 24 hours a day. You should also keep a stash of cash to cover any emergency maintenance expenses to your property. Maintenance is almost always the responsibility of the landlord and not the tenant.
Legal obligations: You must have a clear understanding of laws, rules and regulations that govern rental housing. You may be liable for any lawsuits due to complaints filed as a result of your failure to adhere to these laws, rules and regulations.
Flexibility: If you’re not planning on staying in the area for long, then renting is perfect for you. Renting gives you the flexibility to upgrade or relocate as your circumstances change.
Stress less: Renting also means there are fewer ongoing costs to worry about; the rates, insurance, general maintenance and repairs are often covered by your landlord!
Affordability: Renting is generally cheaper compared to buying, but many often refer to renting as “wasted money” since the benefits of renting are immediate with no long term return. Weigh up what you can really afford with proper budgeting and consider if renting is truly the most appropriate position for you right now.
The companies we rated:
Established in New Zealand since 1985, First National claims to be the first stop for tens of thousands of property buyers and sellers throughout the country. First National says its network is made of agents with local knowledge who put their clients’ needs above all else whether buying, renting or selling.
Barfoot & Thompson:
Barfoot & Thompson is a family-owned and run business which claims over 90 years of industry experience. It specialises in Auckland and Northland properties, and claims that one in three Auckland homes are sold by the company.
LJ Hooker has 700 offices across the Asia Pacific, making it the largest real estate agent in the region. In addition to regular real estate agent functions, LJ Hooker also offers its own home loans.
Harcourts says its primary interest is on creating a relationship of trust and respect for its clients. Harcourts says its team is made up of knowledgeable professionals who specialise in all types or property sales and management.
Bayleys is a family run business that began in 1973 in Pakuranga, Auckland and today claims to have 74 offices in New Zealand and Fiji. Its staff can deal in industrial, residential and commercial properties.
Professionals identify themselves as the real estate company that works harder for you. Professionals is an independent New Zealand owned business that specialises in buying and selling residential property.
Ray White began in 1902 and has since expanded into a real estate giant, recording over $27 billion in annual sales in its latest report. Ray White offers a broad range of real estate services across New Zealand and has over 12,000 properties on display.
Frequently asked questions
Canstar Blue commissioned I-view to survey 2,500 New Zealand consumers across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have used the services of a real estate agent in the last three years – in this case, 1,162 New Zealanders.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market were compared in this survey.