Buying with an agent or privately

It’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities whether you are buying through an agent or buying privately.

Summary of important things to know
  • Real estate agents are trained, licensed professionals who must follow the standards set out in the Code of Professional Conduct and Client Care. They must also meet their obligations under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 (the Act).

  • The real estate agent works for the seller. If they sell the property, the seller pays them a fee (commission). 

  • The agent or seller is required to tell you about any known problems with the property and must not withhold any details.

  • Sometimes buyers use real estate agents called buyers’ agents to help them find and buy property.

  • In a private sale, the buyer and seller deal directly with each other rather than through a real estate agent.

  • In a private sale, make sure you and the seller sign a sale and purchase agreement because this will include all of the standard obligations and responsibilities for both parties. 

  • It’s important in a private sale to pay your purchase deposit to your lawyer or conveyancer so they can arrange for it to be held safely in a trust account pending the completion of the sale.

  • The Real Estate Authority (REA) can help with questions and complaints about sales involving a licensed agent but cannot help you if there is an issue with a sale with a private unlicensed seller.

  • Get legal advice, regardless of whether you buy through an agent or privately.

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