The real estate agent works for the seller and is paid by the seller when the property sells. However friendly and helpful the agent is, remember they are representing the seller. The agent must not mislead buyers, but you should not rely only on the agent for advice or assistance.
You should ask the agent questions about anything you want to know about the property. Licensed agents are bound by the Code of Professional Conduct and Client Care [PDF, 208 KB] and have to deal fairly and honestly with all parties. They are not allowed to withhold any information they know about a property, and they must tell you if they think there might be something wrong with the property that you should check out. The agent can’t make statements about the property that they can’t back up with evidence.
As a buyer, you do not have to deal with the agent a property is listed with. You can approach another agent at the agency that is marketing the property. Any agent who works for the listing agency is also working for the seller.
Check that any agent you are dealing with is licensed, even if it is someone you know or who has been recommended by a friend. It is illegal to carry out real estate agency work without a licence. You can find contact details for all licensed real estate agents on REA's public register. The public register also shows if an agent has had any recent complaints upheld against them.
Find the public register(external link) of real estate agents.
Using a buyer's agent
Sometimes a buyer will use a real estate agent as their buyer’s agent to source properties and oversee the purchase process. Buyer's agents are not commonly used in New Zealand.
Buyer’s agents must be licensed. A buyer’s agent will enter a signed agreement with the buyer to act on their behalf, and the buyer will pay the agent for their services. If you decide to use a buyer’s agent, you should ask in advance about cost, what services are provided as part of the cost and whether any additional expenses may be charged.
Buyers will commonly choose to work with a real estate agent they have previously worked with to help them look for properties and help them to negotiate with the seller and their agent. Although the person helping the buyer in this instance is often referred to as a buyer’s agent, they will be paid a share of the commission the listing agent receives from the seller. Both agents in this instance are acting for the seller.