Real Estate Agents


Compare Real Estate Agencies in New Zealand at Canstar Blue. First National, Barfoot & Thompson, Bayleys, Harcourts, LJ Hooker, 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.

Most Satisfied Customers | First National

First National Rated number one for customer satisfaction

Customers rate First National for overall satisfaction

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 975 Kiwis who had used a real estate agent (within the last three years) how they rated the services they had received.

This year, First National have regained the Canstar Blue Customer Satisfaction Award, having last won in 2015.   Rating a maximum five stars for all categories in all their applicable categories other than value for money (four stars), First National delivered a strong performance.

What to expect from your Real Estate Agent

When we asked people about how much estate agents fees and what they do, 57% said they thought that they charged a lot for what they do.  So, what can you expect and how much is it going to cost you.

Firstly, there can be a lot of costs involved, especially if you are selling your home.  Expenses you will need to consider include:

  •       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 18) NZ median residential house price of $562,000, and assume the 4% and 2% commission ratio, the fee due on a sale of this property would be $19,240.
  •       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, the size of them and when and where they will be placed.
  •       Auctioneers costs – After a period of steady decline, the proportion of homes being sold at auction increased in October 2018 to just shy of 16%.  If you go decide to sell your property through auction, you will expect to pay around $500 for the services of qualified auctioneer regardless of whether your property sells or not.

So that’s what you need to pay out for, but what can you expect in return?

No matter which agent you decide to engage, in return for the fees and charges, you should expect:

  •       Clear advice on what is involved in selling your property, including outlining your legal obligations.
  •       An outline of current market conditions and recent selling prices of comparable properties in your area.
  •       To be given copies of the Agency Agreement Guide and the Sale and Purchase Agreement Guide.
  •       Arranging and management of advertising of your property.
  •       To be provide with a pool of potential buyers viewing your property.
  •       Your agent to act as contact point for potential buyers and other agents, 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

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 and puts customers first by being fast, experienced, social and proactive and more.

As well as being rated a maximum five stars for overall satisfaction, First National also registered maximum stars in communication, problem resolution, financial paperwork, marketing and contract handling.  They were awarded four stars for value for money and were not rated for moving services as they are not offered.

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 rated four stars in all categories.


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, in our 2018 survey, Bayleys rated three stars in all categories.


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

Harcourts were awarded four stars for all categories other than marketing and moving services where it picked up three stars.

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.

Winners of the Overall Customer Satisfaction award in 2017, this year LJ Hooker was only rated three stars in overall satisfaction.  Four stars were awarded for value for money, financial paperwork and contract handling with all remaining categories rating three stars.


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 rated three stars for all services other than financial paperwork for which it was awarded four 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 a maximum five stars for value for money and four stars for all other categories other than moving services for which it scored three.

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 in all categories.

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.

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