Deciding to sell through an agent vs selling your house privately

We help you weigh up the options

7 February 2024

Should you sell your house privately or through an agent? It’s a conversation many homeowners preparing to sell have with their friends and family. “Shall we have a go at selling the home ourselves? We know the property best, we’ll save on agent fees, I mean, what have we got to lose?”

Trade Me Property is here to support homeowners who are selling their home privately, providing them with the answers on everything they need, from what to include on their ‘For Sale’ sign, to photography advice. Before you make the decision either way, talk to people who have sold privately and find out what their experience was like. Homebuyers are used to quick responses, so if you’re taking on the responsibility yourself, be prepared to dedicate your life to the selling process while it goes on for typically five to six weeks or more.

If it’s the cost of an agent that’s putting you off using one, it can be argued the agent won’t cost you a cent if they do their job right and get you the best possible price for your home. Are you confident you have the ability to negotiate the best price if you sell privately?

One Wellington homeowner who has bought and sold a number of times over the years says: “I bought my last house privately and I think it was a mistake for the vendors. They were pretty green and could have had another $20,000 out of me. I wasn’t their highest offer but I was the easiest to deal with apparently.”

Those in the pro-agent camp would say that selling a home has become a much more sophisticated process than it used to be with good agents using data, social media and digital marketing technology to communicate with a broader range of buyers than ever before.

We asked Josh Phegan, the international trainer and coach of high performance agents in New Zealand, Australia and beyond, why he’d always take the agent route. Here’s what he shared:

Market knowledge

Markets move quickly, whether it’s due to government policy, geopolitical events, interest rates or all of the above. A good agent will be able to guide you on what to do in response. It might be they’ll advise using a different sales method, tweaking the marketing, pricing or timing, they’ll be considering all the options as the market changes.

Marketing expertise

Any agent at the top of their game in the business knows that consumers now spend six to eight hours a day on a mobile device. Around 90 minutes per day they’ll be on social networks where real estate salespeople will have a presence. Agents will be aware of digital skills like t-shirt tech, where consumers go online, look at a product and then have it follow them everywhere on socials. A good agent will also be able to deliver well-produced videos, another area of tech designed to bring new audiences in and drive buyer demand.

Legal and compliance expertise

When a tricky situation arises, a competent agent will ensure you know who to go to for what advice, to smooth out the sales process. For example, you get another, better offer while a bidder is doing their due diligence on your home, what do you do? Another bonus is that agents know the legal requirements around how they can represent a property, what they can say to buyers and what they have to disclose. If you're selling yourself you need to know these laws and be very careful about what you say to prospective buyers. The risk is all on you. If you don’t have the answers, it’s always a good idea to outsource to an expert.


You get your life back and someone else does all the work, plus they’ll most likely get you a sale price you probably couldn’t get by yourself. Are you ready to be glued to your phone for all calls and questions? To manage open homes and be around to facilitate them? It’s a huge commitment and if you’re not 100% sure, then it’s always a good idea to outsource to an expert.


Gill South
Gill South

Josh Phegan
Josh Phegan

Real Estate Speaker, Trainer, Coach -

Josh Phegan is the internationally renowned go-to speaker, trainer and coach for high-performance real estate agents and agencies. He is the number one preferred trainer for Australia's top 100 agents and top 50 women in real estate.

He personally coaches some of the who's who in the real estate industry, both new, emerging and high-performance agents, with his number 1 sales agent writing over $20.5m fees, 250+ transactions and $1.1billion in sales.

In 2024 he is set to perform in 200 events face to face and virtually in the UK, UAE, New Zealand and Australia. He works with leading real estate agencies at both training and boardroom levels. He hosts industry-leading events such as the Real Estate Blue-print and is the producer behind the High-Performance podcast with Alexander Phillips. Dynamic, captivating and fast-paced.