Choosing the right realtor can save vendors more than $20,000 on the sale of an average Tauranga home.
As a new website is launched comparing the nation's real estate agents, local property experts say choosing the correct agent should be a businesslike and considered process.
Harcourts Advantage Realty managing director Simon Martin said the benefits of picking a first-class agent and company were clear.
"A good agent and agency adds value in the sale of the property, definitely," he said.
"Sellers need an agent and agency that is going to make sure their property is well exposed and promoted so it is visible to purchasers. They also need someone who can deal with buyers and get the deal across the line."
Mr Martin said building a rapport was important.
"It's a full-on process. You're going to be working closely together, and you have to be able to trust and feel comfortable with your agent."
The latest Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) figures revealed the median sales price for a Tauranga home in October was $333,000. Paul Vujnovich, the Auckland businessman behind www.findmyrealestateagent.co.nz, said employing a poor agent could cut sales prices by up to seven per cent - equivalent to $23,310 on the typical Tauranga property.
Realty Services chief executive Ross Stanway said vendors needed to make confident choices.
"It's a huge decision for people in the position of selling their property. In most cases it is the single biggest asset they own.
"They need to be convinced the person, team and brand they are entrusting their asset to will deliver them the best outcome possible.
"It's too important a decision to be made hastily or on emotive or spontaneous grounds. It should be a businesslike and considered process."
He said sellers should go through a checklist of "easily measured aspects" as well as "personal characteristics".
The measurables included a salesperson's ability to demonstrate local market knowledge and provide ongoing market information.
The agent's experience and his or her supporting brand's profile and presence were also important, as were the range and effectiveness of marketing options available.
Mr Stanway said local brand strength would ensure the property was widely advertised and marketed.
"If the brand has a dominant position in the marketplace it is not by accident.
"It's because a reputation and performance, both historic and current, is well established."
Personal characteristics to be considered included enthusiasm and the agent's ability to take the client's requirements on board.
"The salesperson needs to listen to the motivation of the vendor and their particular circumstances, taking into account timeframes, reasons for sale, etc, so that the important factors are known.
"They need to demonstrate a strong work ethic. What will they actually do, or be able to make available in terms of marketing, to identify a suitable buyer? Previous sales of similar properties or in a similar locality that have been effectively marketed could be used to demonstrate this.
"The salesperson should also always provide prompt market feedback. Whether the vendors like what the market feedback says is not the point.
"It must be honest, accurate and timely. So the vendor understands exactly where their property sits at any given time in the marketplace."
Mr Stanway's due-diligence approach to choosing an agent was echoed by realtor comparison website founder Paul Vujnovich.
"Considering your home is your biggest asset, it appeared that no, or very little, due diligence is really ever done," he said. "That's way too haphazard."
Mr Vujnovich's site is free for property owners to use and offers agents an opportunity to promote themselves to sellers with their photo, profile, testimonials and video. Agents can only be linked as a specialist in two suburbs, no matter what city or town. Agents pay a fee, $99.95 annually, to create a comprehensive profile to help sellers with their decision, otherwise the site will only carry their name and phone number.
"My website is designed so you can compare suburb specialists as it promotes agents who offer themselves as specialising in selling properties in your area," said Mr Vujnovich. "(It) provides a checklist of questions that you can send an agent via the site.
"The questions have been carefully thought through and cover much of what prospective sellers should be asking their agent."