Property Investment

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Private property issue #10 - bayleys vs harcourts vs ray white

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Private Property – our weekly newsletter that gives you insights into what's happening in the NZ property market. Written by managing director Andrew Nicol. Sign up to receive this in your inbox every Thursday.

Bayleys vs Harcourts vs Ray White … who’s got the best real estate agent fees?

It’s hard to compare real estate fees.

Companies often don’t publish their costs on their websites;

There are different types of fees (e.g. admin fees);

And there are different tiers.

E.g. one company might charge 3.95% for the first $400k, then 2% after that.

Another might charge 3.5% for the first $500k and then 2.5% for anything above.

But after some data crunching, we’ve ranked the companies from the most expensive to least expensive.

Bayleys came out consistently as the most expensive, closely followed by Remax.

And then Harcourts, Ray White and Barfoots all hover around a similar price.

Lesser-known players like Mike Pero, Tall Poppy and Arizto appear to compete more heavily on price, so naturally, they charge less.

You might be thinking, “how did you calculate this data … and (more importantly) how should I use it?”

First, we used Calculate’s standard real estate commission calculator.

We then ran the calculator 30 different times at $100k ­intervals (i.e. what’s the commission at $100k, $200k, $300k … all the way up to $3 million).

That meant we could create a database and calculate the average fees.

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BUT (and this is a big but) … if we took a simple average of the different fees … we’d get an overly simplistic (and inaccurate) answer.

And that’s because more properties sell in the $700-$800k range than in the $2.9 – $3 million range.

So we need to pay more attention to the commissions charged for a $700k property and pay less attention to very expensive or very cheap properties.

That means we can answer the question: “if each real estate agency sold the same type of properties … who would have the highest commission?”

That’s how we get the modelled commissions at the top of this email.

This data is helpful, especially for investors thinking of selling up their existing properties and buying new builds.

How should I use this data?

You can use this data to start thinking about value for money.

That doesn’t mean automatically choosing the lowest-cost provider.

For instance, a higher-fee real estate agent might have more experience … and they might get you a higher sale price.

Let’s say your property is worth $700,000.

As a ballpark, you’d need Bayleys to sell it for $3.8k more than Harcourts before you come out ahead … For Barfoot and Thompson, that’s $9.4k.

Is that achievable? With the right agent – definitely.

Just because Harcourts charges lower fees than Bayleys (on average), that doesn’t mean you’ll always come ahead using Harcourts.

But also, just because Bayleys charges higher fees (on average), that doesn’t mean you’ll always get the best price.

So while price shouldn’t be the only factor you look at … it doesn’t mean you should disregard it entirely.

But you can use this data to understand where each company sits, which is not a bad place to start.

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Opes Partners
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Andrew Nicol

Managing Director, 20+ Years' Experience Investing In Property, Author & Host

Andrew Nicol, Managing Director at Opes Partners, is a seasoned financial adviser and property investment expert with 20+ years of experience. With 40 investment properties, he hosts the Property Academy Podcast, co-authored 'Wealth Plan' with Ed Mcknight, and has helped 1,894 Kiwis achieve financial security through property investment.

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