What to Ask

What to ask your real estate agent

The inside guide

  • Glen Jones
  • 4th Apr 2024
Abt Our Leadership Glen Jones Profile

Looking for more than just your average real estate agent?

In today’s competitive market, an agent’s sales skills should be a given. It is personal rapport and shared values that will make the difference. Glen Jones, Managing Director of the New Zealand Sotheby’s International Realty (NZSIR) Wellington region has many years’ experience working with the best in the business—and he knows exactly how to find them. Here, Glen explores the key traits that distinguish exceptional agents from the rest of the pack and the questions you need to ask to find your own “dream team”.

Buying or selling a home is more than just signing on the dotted line. While a good agent can expertly facilitate the mechanics of a sale, exceptional agents become trusted advisors and confidants, providing support and guidance throughout the journey with the ability to articulate how they or their company add value to the end result.

With so many options available when choosing an agent, how do you uncover the standouts? This article will help you identify an exceptional agent and provide you with the right questions to ask to assess their skills.

Hbn P1353 (4)

An advocate with insider access

Instead of thinking of your real estate agent as your representative, think of them as your advocate. A quality real estate agent can utilise their access to databases, sales data, and other networks that you would not be able to access on your own, providing you with a highly competitive edge in the market.

At NZSIR, we leverage exclusive resources beyond what many other agencies can offer. For example, NZSIR’s reach includes renowned platforms like The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times and the global Sotheby’s network, an esteemed network aligned with one of the world’s most prestigious brands.

What to ask:

  • What is your previous experience?
  • What networks or databases do you have access to?
  • Who is the target market?

Property Syndication Int May2023

More than a salesperson

Your agent is the person who will remain by your side as offers are negotiated and contracts are reviewed. They will ensure your interests are protected and all reasonable options explored. Without an agent, you risk handling many complex matters alone, which can often end up being time-consuming but, more importantly, costly to the end result.

What to ask:

  • What sales method do you recommend?
  • What can be done to add value?
  • What professional contacts do you have? (i.e. valuers, building inspectors and tradespeople)


Personal connection and compatibility

Just as important as an agent’s sales skills, experience, and the agency they represent is the personal connection you make with them. Much like any partnership, compatibility drives success. Sometimes, this is where a bit of gut instinct comes in. Sitting down face-to-face gives you a feel for who they are as a person. If they come across as being personable, honest, competent and hardworking then you can’t go too far wrong. Knowing the idiosyncrasies of the market, the most suitable sales method, marketing strategy, and home presentation are the fundamentals, but it is the personal side that can make the difference. We are always looking to cultivate this in our NZSIR team.

What to ask:

  • Can you give me some references from recent sales?
  • How do you keep in touch with your clients, and what is the frequency of contact?
  • Will I be working with you directly or with a team?
  • Do you work my open homes or will it be a team member?


Local knowledge, global perspective

An agent who is immersed in the local market and their community will always stand out. From this, they can leverage their knowledge, promote a home’s unique value to buyers, and maximise the sale price. When your agent has good insights, it will help inform smarter decisions. They stay closely attuned to seasonal buying trends and drivers, advising you on the best timing and marketing tactics tailored to your area to attract the right buyers.

What to ask:

  • What marketing channels do you recommend and why?
  • How can you and your company add value to my sale?

"Take a good look at the appraisal document. Why? The appraisal document the agent presents to you is of utmost importance."

Dig into the comparable evidence in this document and the current market competition they have referenced, which relates to the appraisal range they have concluded with. Digging into these elements will indicate how familiar the agent is with the local market and recent market activity and, ultimately, be a good indicator of their competence.

Adobe Stock 478283134


Standout marketing for a competitive edge

A competitive market demands a competitive marketing plan to capture buyer interest fast. NZSIR sets itself apart with marketing activity that is tailored to the property, targets the ideal buyers, capitalises on the prestige of the brand and our national and international reach. NZSIR agents not only understand the fundamentals of marketing but also leverage technology like targeted social media campaigns, videography, and other multimedia to appeal to the appropriate demographic.

What to ask:

  • How will you promote my property to your database?
  • What will the marketing strategy look like for my property?
  • How will you ensure my property gets a priority listing on your site or third-party sites?


Nzsir Website Showcase Macbook I Pad I Phone February 2022

Cultivating the Dream Team

From my perspective, we are careful about who joins the NZSIR team. I have recruited many quality agents over the years, and while it is important they are at the top of their game for the essentials of real estate selling, there has to be something extra special about the agents who join our team.

Our agents wholeheartedly represent the NZSIR brand and its legacy of quality. By living up to the prestige of our brand, our agents share this desirability in the marketing of your property—which adds value in its own right.

During the notable Henry, Smith and McCaw years, the All Blacks introduced a “team-first” policy. The policy came as a result of the often negative impact destructive personality types can have on team culture. We take a similar approach at NZSIR. Being a good person trumps all else in this industry—and this is what the NZSIR team is based upon.

C7 Staff Montage 04

Every client, a premium experience

Tap into the knowledge and support of the best in the business, contact us today about selling your property.

Related Stories

Rosa Carter

What's in demand right now?

Rosa Carter, MD of Canterbury, provides essential insights for buyers eyeing their next home and sellers aiming to captivate the market

Kathryn Pstyle (1)

Insights & Stories

Stories that get you closer to the most beautiful homes and lifestyles in the world and in-depth market research to help with your next move.