2017 Real Estate Agents

Compare Real Estate Agents in New Zealand at Canstar Blue.   LJ Hooker, Barfoot & Thompson, Bayleys, First National, Harcourts, Professionals, Property Brokers and Ray White were compared on value for money, communication and advice, problem resolution, financial paperwork, marketing, moving services, contract handling and overall satisfaction.

See our Ratings Methodology.

2017 award for real estate agents

Most Satisfied Customers | LJ Hooker

LJ Hooker are the customer service kings!

LJ Hooker are real (estate) popular in New Zealand

The housing market is big business in New Zealand.  Buyer, seller, landlord or renter, the usual route most of us take into property is via a real estate agent, but with so much choice, how do you know which agent is the one for you?

Real estate agents are equipped with the knowledge and experience to help you find the right home, or to help maximise the return on your asset. Regardless of whether you’re a home owner or tenant, dealing with property involves mammoth financial decisions – so making the right choice can have a huge impact on your wallet as well as your sanity!

Canstar Blue recently asked 1,104 Kiwis who had used a real estate agent (within the last three years) how they rated the services they had received.

This year, we can confirm LJ Hooker as the winner of the Canstar Blue Customer Satisfaction Award, rating a maximum five stars for overall satisfaction, contract handling, marketing and problem resolution.  In the remaining categories that we identified as the main drivers of customer satisfaction – value for money, communication and advice, financial paperwork and moving services, LJ Hooker rated a respectable four stars.

What to expect from your Real Estate Agent

If you are selling a house, there are a few real estate agent expenses you need to consider:

  • Administration fee – Expect to pay in the region of $500.
  • Agent’s commission or fee – Obviously these vary between agencies but in broad terms you can expect to pay between 2.95% – 4% on the first $400,000 of your sales price and around 2% on anything over that. So, if we take the (Oct 17) NZ median residential house price of $525,000, and assume the 4% and 2% commission ratio, the fee due on a sale of this property would be $18,500.
  • Marketing costs – are usually incurred on top of the commission fee and cover the cost of advertising in local property magazines, newspapers and online as well as any bespoke property literature. Again, there is a huge variance in costs here as it really does depend on what the vendor wants and how much additional cash they want to spend.  Have a clear plan of what you want to spend before you sign any agreements.  Also have a clear understanding on how many adverts you can expect, when and where they will be placed.
  • Auctioneers costs – Although the number of properties being sold at auction is in steep decline (only 14% of properties sold at auction), if you go to auction, you will expect to pay around $500 for the services of qualified auctioneer regardless of whether your property sells or not.

In return for these fees, charges and costs, you should expect your agents to:

  • Advise you of what is involved in selling your property, including outlining your legal obligations.
  • Outline, and advise you of current market conditions and recent selling prices of comparable properties.
  • Provide you with copies of the Agency Agreement Guide and the Sale and Purchase Agreement Guide.
  • Arrange advertising of your property.
  • Provide a pool of potential buyers.
  • Act as contact point for potential buyers, answering queries and arranging viewings (both scheduled open homes and private appointments).

The most important thing is, do your research before you sign up with an agent and where possible, negotiate.  All agreements should be included in your agency agreement (which both you and the agent sign up to) but make sure you receive and read a copy of the agency agreement guide before you make any decisions.

All real estate agents need to be registered and adhere to a code of conduct.  In addition, their licence needs to be renewed with the Real Estate Agents Authority every year.

NZ real estate agents

LJ Hooker

LJ Hooker claims to be one of the largest property managers in the Asia-Pacific region, with more than 700 offices and 8,000 staff across Australia, New Zealand and seven other countries in the region.

As well as being awarded five stars for overall satisfaction, LJ Hooker also picked up five stars for problem resolution, marketing and contract handling.  Four stars were awarded in the remaining categories of value for money, communications and advice, financial paperwork and moving services.

Barfoot & Thompson

Barfoot & Thompson is a family owned and run business with over 90 years of experience. The company’s website claims that one in three Auckland homes are sold by them.

Barfoot and Thompsons were awarded four stars for moving services and three stars in every other category.


Bayleys began in Pakuranga, Auckland as a small family business and expanded into a well-known and trusted agency both domestically and internationally. Bayleys says it’s an expert in the marketing and sale of a wide range of properties, including commercial, agriculture and residential.

Winners of the 2016 Customer Satisfaction Award, Bayleys still put in a strong performance for 2017.  Five stars were awarded for communication and advice, problem resolution, financial paperwork, marketing and moving services and a respectable four stars were awarded for overall satisfaction, value for money and contract handling.

First National

First National began in Australia in late 1981 and expanded to New Zealand in 1985. First National claims it’s the first stop for tens of thousands of property buyers and sellers across New Zealand. It says it puts its customers first by being fast, experienced, social and proactive and more.

First National scored four stars for moving services and three stars in all other categories.


Harcourts says it is a progressive real estate agent that understands the needs of its clients and puts that first. The company began way back in 1888 and has since expanded to an international agency.

Harcourts were awarded four stars for problem resolution and contract handling.  Three stars were awarded in all other categories.


Professionals is a group of independent New Zealand-owned businesses operating under the same recognised name. Professionals promises to work harder than any real estate company to earn your trust.

Professionals were the only agents to be awarded five stars for value for money.  All other categories registered four stars apart from moving services which registered three stars.

Property Brokers

Established with a single office Palmerston North in 1986, Kiwi company Property Brokers now have a network of branches stretching from North Otago to Waikato.

Property Brokers scored three stars in all categories rated.

Ray White

Ray White claims it is the ‘clear leader’ in residential sales across Australasia and Indonesia. The company’s website says it has nearly 1000 individually owned and operated offices with over 13,000 staff across Asia-Pacific.

Four stars were awarded to Ray White for value for money, problem resolution and marketing.  The remaining categories were all awarded three stars.

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 who have used the services of a real estate agent in the last three years – in this case, 1,104 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 have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then alphabetically. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.