Frequently Asked Questions


I'm thinking about selling privately, because I think I have the ability to do it.

Yes, but on the downside – consider the following: You are unlikely to achieve competition between a number of buyers vying to buy your house. By using an agency there is more chance of completion and of achieving a premium over and above the commission. It is difficult to negotiate a sale that involves your property. Buyers are usually uncomfortable dealing directly with owners, and you are also unlikely to place advertising in the full range of media that an agency uses to capture all potentials buyers. A good agent will minimise stress and is trained to cover all technical matters and obligations when selling a property.

What are my obligations regarding to disclosures of the property?

Offers that are presented to you by your Tommy’s agent will normally be on the standard Agreement for Sale and Purchase document as approved by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and the Auckland District Law Society. Section 6.0 of this document is dedicated to home sellers’ warranties and undertakings or, in layman’s terms, details of disclosures that a home seller is obliged to make when selling their home. This section covers items such as building permits, code compliance certificates, details of any arrears in rates or other charges against the property, a declaration that chattels passing with the sale are unencumbered, and a multitude of other items. Weather-tightness and drainage issues that the property may have or have had are also top-priority disclosure issues.

How important is marketing? Can I save money and not use paid advertising?

It is possible to use internet advertising only. We also often find buyers for properties with little or no advertising. In general, we advise clients to advertise in a range of media, so that they pick up all prospective buyers. Tommy’s passes on the saving made from bulk buying in paid media. These rates are considerably less than the standard rates available to consumers.

Are Tommy's fees negotiable?

At Tommy’s we have set fee guidelines. We are prepared to discuss our rates and find a mutually rewarding way of working together. It is at the negotiating table where Tommy’s agents can more than earn their fees.

How important is presentation when selling?

How a property is presented for sale does make a difference. First impressions count. It is a long-held view that a buyer can be lost within the first 30 seconds of viewing a property. Whilst wholesale renovations may cost more than a home seller can reasonably expect to recover, cosmetic improvements to both the home and the grounds can be time and money well spent. Repainting and papering can enhance a property. If this is being done for the purpose of selling, then choose colours wisely. Decluttering can also help to make a home look more spacious. The layout of furniture and hiring or borrowing extra furniture can make it look more inviting.

Should we give buyers a price guide?

Irrespective of the chosen method of sale, Tommy’s believes that a price guide should be advertised in every case. Market research tells us that most buyers (around 80%) want a price guide, and many say they will not respond to advertising without one. Buyers like to know if a property they are interested in is within their price range.

Confused by property sales methods? Wellington commonly use two to best effect.

In Wellington, it is most common for a home to be sold through a form of tender. There are two main methods of sale by tender, a closed tender and a tender where the owners have the option to sell before the prescribed tender date. Tommy’s find these to be the most successful methods of sale to maximise the power of both our established buyer network and our marketing channels.

How do I begin the process of selling my property?

At Tommy’s we follow a 5-stage process to engage the selling of a property.

1) Contact – You will contact one of our salespeople to appraise your home.

2) Discussion – You will discuss your timeframe for selling and what you like about the process from previous experience.

3) Research – Our salespeople will take notes during their visit, before returning to the office to research pricing and prepare a proposal.

4) Summary of findings – Our salespeople will arrange a time to present their proposal to you, this includes a market price expectation, method of sale, marketing plan and associated costs.

5) Contract of agency – At that time, or after you have had time to read through the proposal, you will choose a start date, agree a marketing budget and sign a Contract of Agency before getting underway.

Why is Tommy’s approach different to the other agencies?

The significant difference between Tommy’s and other real estate agencies is our team approach. We have a reputation for having the lowest staff turnover of any real estate agency in New Zealand. No other company has an inclusive approach to selling like we do – we do not care which Tommy’s agent sells your home, so long as they get you the most money! Second to this, our open plan office environment brings our entire team together whereby communication and advice is always available between agents. Along with this we spend three mornings every week training our team of agents on negotiation skills and keeping them up to date with all the latest compliance issues – this means we can protect you, the owner.


I have been told I need a deposit but am not sure what it is.

A deposit is one of the first things to consider when purchasing a home. If somebody refers to a deposit, there are two things this may allude to. Firstly, this could relate to a deposit required by the bank. In order to get a loan, you may be required to provide a 20% deposit or down payment. Alternatively, deposit could refer to the payment made to the agency upon confirmation of the agreement to purchase. This is generally 10% of the purchase price and goes towards the 20% that the bank requires.

How do I arrange a mortgage?

Most buyers require a mortgage to a buy a new property. It is recommended to begin this process before looking at property options. By doing so you will gain an indication of what you can borrow, what the repayments will be and of the bank’s requirements. Do not be afraid to shop around for a mortgage, it is a competitive space and you may be surprised by the amount of interest you pay on the amount you borrow.

Should we gain legal counsel when selling/buying a home?

In short yes. A good lawyer is like a good pilot. If something goes wrong, you want someone with expertise to take charge and know exactly what they are doing. Buyers should seek a lawyer at the start of the process of buying a house whilst sellers who have had previous good experience with a chosen lawyer should stick to someone they know and trust. With the assistance of your agent, legal counsel will mean you are more aware of what agreement you are making when signing any legally binding agreement. Our Tommy’s agents are more than happy to recommend a lawyer to you through our established Wellington network.

Tender sale is most common in Wellington, what are the most important things I need to know when buying by tender?

Buyers submit confidential written offers to their agent before a specified tender date on a marketed property. If the sale method notes that the vendor has the option to sell prior to the tender date, you can make an offer at any time before the specified date. (It is important) as a ‘buyer’ to register your interest with your agent and ask to be informed if someone else makes an offer before the tender date. At this time, a deadline for all offers to be presented to the vendor will be set.  If the vendor accepts one of these offers the property can then be sold before the tender date. The vendor does not have to accept an offer and may negotiate, through the agent, with any other buyers that submitted an offer by the deadline. More than one offer being submitted to the vendor will begin a multi-offer process.

Want to view a property but cannot make the open home?

If there is Tommy’s property you would like to view outside of open home times, let your agent know. Our agents show lots of buyers through properties during the week, however, be mindful that if a home is rented or the owners have pets, young children or work from home, you may have to be flexible about availability.

How do I make an offer on a property?

All offers must be in writing. It is important to get legal advice on all aspects of your offer before signing any legally binding document. You can either make a conditional or unconditional offer. A conditional offer is when you include one or more conditions to be fulfilled by a specific date. A builder’s report or financing are examples of conditions. An unconditional offer means there are no specific purchaser conditions, so when the owner signs the agreement the house is sold.

What happens after making an offer on property?

When an offer is made on a property, a deadline is set by the property owner at which they will look at the offer. This will depend on the owner’s availability and how new to market the property is. In a competitive buyer market multiple offers are likely to be put forward. An agent cannot say you are in a multi-offer process unless there is more than one offer in writing for a property. In this situation, the seller can choose which offer works best for them, even if it is not the highest. As a buyer in this situation it is good practice to put your best foot forward as you may not have another opportunity to increase your offer. Unfortunately, agents cannot discuss the details of any of the other offers.

Researching a property your interested in? Make sure you do your homework.

Buying a property is no mean feat, with high amounts of money involved there is a list to check before committing to a purchase. This may seem like an expensive exercise, however the cost of not doing said homework can be far greater. Your agent, lawyer, builder and lender will be able to help with ticking the research checklist. It is important to acknowledge that almost no property can be perfect prior investigation is the only way to find any less than ideal aspects and provide a way to find the best solution before you offering. You do not want to find out something is not what you expected after you have bought your home. At Tommy’s we strive to ensure this does not occur although buyers must be aware that the more research the more secure property purchasing decision they can make.

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