A survey of more than 900 property vendors gave most real estate agents a pass mark but found there was room for improvement

Real estate agents have received mixed reviews in a customer experience survey carried out by property data company CoreLogic.

The 2018 Vendor Perceptions of Real Estate Agents Survey asked more than 900 people who had sold a home to rate the performance of their agent, and while most agents would have received a pass mark on their report, many would have had the comment "must do better" pencilled into the margins.

The survey asked respondents to rate their agents before, during and after the sales process and found that satisfaction levels decreased as the sales process proceeded.

Before the sales process began, 57% of respondents were confident their agent would do a good job and get a good price, 39% were hopeful the agent would sell the property and get a price that was close to what they wanted, and just 4% were dubious about their agent's ability to successfully sell the property and meet their expectations.

But as the sales process got underway the confidence levels faded, with the number confident the agent was doing a good job and would get a good price dropping to 50.5%, those who were hopeful of a sale at a price close to what they wanted dropped to 32.8%, and those who were dubious about their agent's ability to achieve a sale increased to 16.8%.

By the time the sales process was over, 42.4% of respondents thought the agent did a good job and achieved the price they wanted, 36.5% thought the agent did an okay job and got a price close to what they wanted, and 21.1% were upset and thought the agent had not met their expectations.

CoreLogic's report on the survey results said the way agents managed vendors who might have overly optimistic price expectations was one of the main causes of the decline in satisfaction during the sale process.

"The issue of managing down vendor price expectations was flagged across comment sections in the survey, identifying the need to have 'hard" price conversations earlier with vendors," CoreLogic said in its report.

"Of all the things agents do poorly, managing down attracts some of the most angry and upset comments from sellers.

"The research identifies that it is one of the biggest things agents do to breach trust with their clients."

Overall, 35% of respondents reported having an excellent experience selling their home, 29% said it was good, 18% said it was average, 13% rated it poor and 5% said it was disastrous.

"Too many agents focus on the skills required to win the listing in the short term, rather than winning the relationship - and all of the referrals that the relationship will bring them over the long term," the survey said.

Here's the full report.

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29 Comments

Lol, the journey of a vendor is now proven.

Vendor looking for agent:
"Wow, that agent was great, they said they will make me millions."

Vendor during sale:
"The agent really doesn't do much, I reckon I could do that"

Vendor after sale:
"You want how much!!!!!! You didn't do $h!+, I could have sold it for the same amount privately."

I love how agents get panned the minute the market gets more difficult. Everyone will hate their agents by this time next year, but there will probably be fewer of them to hate. Falling markets sort out the wheat from the chaff!

To be fair, they get panned on here regardless of the market.

They will just get panned more now.

up
11

Yeah, when was the last time the RE agents weren't competing for last place in the "most trusted profession" list with used car salespeople, politicians and door-to-door salespeople.

Don't forget wheelclampers - or REA's of the carpaking world as they are known.

Oxygen thieves.

CoreLogic's report on the survey results said the way agents managed vendors who might have overly optimistic price expectations was one of the main causes of the decline in satisfaction during the sale process.

Of all the things agents do poorly, managing down attracts some of the most angry and upset comments from sellers.

So... vendors walk into the relationship with unrealistic price expectations, and then get mad at their agent when the agent has to broach the 'hard conversation' with them? Who's fault is that?

I think the issue is that to capture the sale, the agents are not having the "hard conversation" rather they are nodding and smiling at the unrealistic expectations in order to get the contract.

Yes, Noncents, and then grinding you down (politely called "conditioning" you) through the sales process to a realistic expectation.

A key problem here is that REAs are misnamed.
"Agent" implies they are working on behalf of someone (most commonly considered to be the vendor) which is rubbish - they are simply working for themselves to get a sale.

so true commission should be structured so that it is minimal if they don't hit their stated price range

If you think you could avoid using real estate agents in selling (or even buying) property, then do so.

I believe that there are plenty of folk in NZ who have the wherewithal - and can do at least as well as the smooth-talking, Audi/BMW brigade.

Having a good lawyer is sensible. But why pay a big commission to a real estate agent for something you can do perfectly well yourself?

TTP

TTP
Agreed.

It has always been possible to sell privately through newspapers. However, sites such as Trade Me etc., have made it so much easier for one to have all the photos and continuous posting for minimal expenses to attract potential buyers which was not formerly possible through newspapers.

REAs - like travel agents, face-to-face offices, and bricks and mortar retailers - are no longer the necessity they once were and may well be largely a casualty of change in this information revolution.

The only time that a REA may be of use when one has a relatively unique property that needs either considerable or specialised marketing.

We recently had to sell off my wife's parent's house. Our experience was that we sold within 5 days of listing on trademe with one open day. I think there is a case for saying we didn't get the best price - but looking closely at other sales we were within 10k. We heard from various agents saying they could get a better price. However, the have listings that are three months old. I suspect that using an agent delays the process while they get their $25k margin and in the process you are conditioned into a lowered expectation.

I have previously tried to say to agents -' I will give you 10% above this price which I know I can get quickly' but they make noises about being great negotiators but never take the deal.

Even if you didn't get the best price - a very quick sale and not having to deal with REAs sounds like a perfectly reasonable trade off to me. Time is money.

Real estate agents that are competent would normally get you at least what you can achieve if you did it yourself.
If you don’t like the offer then don’t take it.
Commission is only paid once and have seen so many private sellers undersell because they weren’t capable.
Get your agent to negotiate that is what you pay them for.

Hi TM2,

Firstly, how do you actually know which REA's are competent (and ethical)? They all tell you how marvellous they are - but I reckon it's as much to do with luck as anything else.

A sensible strategy might be to give selling your house a go, using your own devices. (Remember that you know as much about your house as any REA.)

If you don't succeed, call in an REA - but limit your expectations. Most of them are mediocre at best...... and some are less than scrupulous.

TTP

TM2,

In business for over 30 years in Glasgow,I knew a good few Estate Agents. Publicly,they would all say that the always strove to extract the top price for clients,but privately,they would admit that their interests were best served by quick turnover.That's entirely logical from their point of view and I have no doubt it holds good here.
The big difference lies in the commission structure. When I sold properties in 2003 and 2010,I paid the standard rate of 1%..The rates here are obscene. However,I note that a local broker here at the Mount is gaining traction with a rate of 1.95%. There will of course be a small number of top class agents who really know their market intimately and are worth their money-but very few.

The root of the issue is the lack of value for the actual work comitted. Mainly due to the fee structure and the agency overhead. Charge less money, do a good job and get repeat/referal business. Its easy to look good on a rising market. Its also easy to look like an Amway sales person when desperate for listings in a flat/decline.

There are good hard working agents out there, but the massive commission due to the stupido prices have attracted the usual suspects (unemployed phone systems sales people etc). Having watched up close during the gfc, a lot more agents will exit in round two of the great weeding out. Probably time for the next low fee option to start up

BUYING THE LISTING- agents raise vendors' expectations to unreasonable levels.

CONDITIONING- having smooth-talked & stroked the vendor to sign on the agency listing agreement, now the hard talk begins.

Just view the agents' profiles under "SOLD".Increasing numbers with "Price Witheld".

Selective disclosure,though .In some instances, price sold is indicated.Presumably its favourable to the agents' profile.

But, in majority of cases I have viewed, agents seem rather "shy" towards disclosure.

Why??? I can only surmise that disclosure is not favourable to the agents. A wide discrepancy perhaps between the original pitch & the actual sale price realised.

Survey seems to be of the agents they have signed up with.
Having recently sold a good sized chunk of prime land marked under the unitary plan...we ended up with an agent from an out lying Auckland suburb.
Reason being over the last 5 yrs we have been consistently spammed on phones by agents doing their best to just get a listing.. no listing no sale
Then ends they will go thru, the downright lies, estimates 100s of 1000s of dollars over reality ...
Then there is bring maybe actual , and certainly false potential buyers thru, without signing up..even to the extent to dump a offer on the table.. way over market value... not just unethical but ILLEGAL.
Yes we have copies of these documents and CCTV coverage of these events.. Im quite happy to even publish the actual agents names, branches, but likely run into issues with interest.co web site moderators..

And this is all, not covered in the survey, before signing up.
Then once signed up, the lack of marketing presentation knowledge..what information to list .. including potential buyer target descriptions.. the get that wrong.
Then we go to things like trademe and real estate listings, putting map markers on their office, not the property address.
After all of the pre agent selection process, sorted the marketing stuff ... I must say our agent worked hard thru the recent winter slow down...very hard.. and eventually came up with a good far price at sale...
Which happened to be around 26% ($200,000) below,That other local agents over estimate in trying to secure our listing and 13% above other sales in previous 6 months on a falling market.

Quite frankly most of the local agents have a despicable work ethic that is based totally on getting the listing at all costs, legal and otherwise.

Then once sold, still get the phone and email spamms to want to list our place, even from agents from the same company that sold the house.. Really.. just bloody lazy , waste their time and ours in a full head on , get listings at any cost.
I will qualify thu.. the agents where we have brought on the very outskirts of Auckland, working on behalf of prospective houses we looked at over many months...totally different ethic and attitude.
Surveys assessing subjects like this are good.. IF they ask the right questions.. this one thu negative still gives a very different result to a realty that even far negative.

Its a catch 22 really

Agents need to talk up their ability to sell the property for a great price to get the listing or else another agent will.

A lot of Vendors have unrealistic expectations as they are ill informed of what the market is doing by the media and when the rubber hits the road, reality strikes and they are so far into the process that they end up having to make decisions that they were not prepared for.

It is just a by product of a downward market.

If agents acted as they meant to.. give fair estimates, as meant to, with the vendors interest as per the law.. then there would not be a problem.

An agent say " before I make up the estimates , data, go to trade me or real estate web site, and look at listings around you, then click on estimates and sales data there.. then compare to your latest GF..."

Then when they get the agents estimates .. CORRECT and REALISTIC estimates they will be informed.
CATCH 22 ? when agents are meant to act in vendors interest with correct and informative information So thats NOT catch 22 that simply.. BS to get a listing in the agents interest then sort the BS out later.. call that professional and ethical?
To BLAME MEDIA is BS...
Media tend to give rather good info on general area trends...ave updated prices .. sales numbers, compassions with GFs.. and once in a while a headline except to the rule.. which is reported as an exception.. IF the ppl actually bother to get past the headline.
I say this and I'm definitely NOT a fan of how our media behaves, researches, background to a subject.
They are every much.. make a headline, stuff the accuracy.. and move on to the next headline to put their name to...
No different to far too many 'professional' real estate agents

Real Estate agents are generally people who have failed to get any qualifications to get them a reasonable job or they did get a qualification but they failed in the profession or trade they chose. This is easily proved by those agents who chose to comment on this site regularly and who regularly shower us with comments that are full of spelling errors that could be beaten by children at primary school. I watched them in action for 30 years and if I could have a dollar for the times I heard them say "I will get the purchaser that house for that price" I would be in the Rich List. Forget ethics. Forget that the vendor is paying their commission. How many times over the last decade have we read where agents have been sanctioned for buying off their vendor principals undisclosed. It would be they tip of an iceberg as to this day there will be vendors in Auckland who still don't know their house was bought off them by their agent through a relative or mate and eventually moved on for a healthy profit. Then we move onto articles about how agents have failed to disclose leaky home issues.
Is it not interesting that we pay them more than we pay an experienced surgeon to make us healthy or even save our life. At the end of the day we give them a key, they often tell fibs, white lies or straight lies to get it sold, they give the key back and we pay them an exorbitant amount of money to carry this out for us. No wonder more and more people sell their own homes.

Real Estate agents are generally people who have failed to get any qualifications to get them a reasonable job or they did get a qualification but they failed in the profession or trade they chose.

Bollocks, I have a masters degree in engineering. And many people I worked with had tertiary quals too.

I used the word generally. Obviously you could not make a reasonable living with your masters degree. I rest my case.

This is what happens when market starts heading south. One of the biggest problems is property valuations or CVs. Market started softening from late 2016, however, CVs in 2017 were totally out of whack. It is evident from the current market that most of the properties are selling below CV. lots of properties in prime locations such as St. Heliers and Glendowie are selling well below CV with a few exceptions.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/105527774/auckland-council-and-qv-in-st...

I sold commercial/industrial real estate for 4 years. Here's what I learned.

1) Everyone thinks agents are unethical, but in fact it's the public who are unethical. They will happily try to go behind agent's backs to save on commission
2) Agents are generally hard working.
3) Vendors do want more than their place is worth and buyers want to pay less than it's worth. This is just normal market stuff. I'm fine with this.
4) Dealing with the public requires the patience of a saint. Think working behind the counter of a shop, or a public institution. Endless nutty demands.

What I have decided since leaving the industry in 2000:

1) Auctions are a terrible system. They are a system designed by agents for agents. Because of point 3 above, they want to remove the price altogether.
2) The commissions are too high now. Property prices have more than doubled since then. Costs would have only gone up marginally.

So to summarise:

1) people are cheap/greedy
2) Everybody thinks the job they do is hard work and worth every penny they make. (almost, I know a few that realise they are creaming it jobs that require bugger all work most of the time)
3) People are greedy
4) By and large, people suck.

Is anybody surprised by this?

Freakonomics reported that agents talk down vendor's expectations during the sale process, to get a sale & their commission. When it comes to selling their own property, they hold out for the higher price.

The research was done in the US, but no reason to think it would be different here.

This current survey seems to reflect that.