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1 / 9

New Trend: Smaller Kiwi websites are now being targeted for hacking; disruption & data theft.

01-Dec-2021

 New Trend: Smaller Kiwi websites are now being targeted for hacking; disruption & data theft. 


First they came for the government, but mine was not a New Zealand government site, so I did not take the threat seriously; then they attacked the banks, but we aren't a bank, so I noticed, but remained reasonably calm; But, suddenly this weekend, they (the overseas hackers) came for e-Agent's website (www.e-agent.nz) and for the next 24 hours I could not focus on anything else.

So, what kind of attack was it? No, not your run-of-the-mill Denial of Service Attack, though they have tried that at times. This attack was aimed to scrape the site for code to steal, this triggered several old email scripts to run and send out old emails to clients.  At no time was the database at risk.

e-Agent uses one of the best IT/Programming services (JB Metrics Ltd) to protect us, while acting as our program developmental partner.. and boy are we glad we made that decision!

2 / 9

Open Homes Timing - Perhaps It's Time for Another Look

21-Nov-2021

 

Business Funnel


The prevailing wisdom has long been, that Open Homes should be held on Saturday & Sunday. The logic appears to be:

  1. Workers are most often available on weekend days.
  2. Part-time agents are usually only available to have open homes on weekends.
  3. It is easier for property owners to vacate during open homes on weekends.
As is the case with most "Long Held" beliefs, there is truth in the above, however, it does not present the whole story. Let's examine each of these:
  1. Many retail workers now work half of their work hours on weekends.
  2. Part-time agents have been dropping from the agent's work pool in ever larger numbers.
  3. Forcing property owners to vacate for weekend opens, implies lots of cleanup & organisation.
In addition, there are other market variables that can enhance "off-hours" open homes.
  1. Off-hours opens have few if any competitors for the buying public's attention.
  2. By not having to support more than one open, per weekend day, you could hold 1 hour opens.
  3. Number 2 means having the extra time for a customer to feel comfortable converting to a sale.
  4. Being able to better focus on each visitor's questions and requests can also lead to a sale.
  5. The off-hours open also reduces the confusion in customer's minds to better allow comparison.
  6. Off-hours media advertising is often less expensive.
  7. By mixing off-hours with traditional weekend opens, a larger potential market is reached.
So, by my relation to these points and the market funnel above, you might want to reexamine your open-house plan;  save some money and demonstrate that you really are a better listing agent.

Just saying...


3 / 9

How long will New Zealand remain a one-direction property representation country?

16-Nov-2021

 




Clearly, something is out of balance in this photo. The party on our left, seems to have a distinct benefit by weight alone. Equally obviously, for a truly balanced outcome, someone is going to need to bring this to equilibrium.

Then again, if you are the fellow in the blue shirt and you are representing the party on the left, this image probably looks about right to you, especially if you have a commission riding on the outcome.

This rather transparent reference to the current New Zealand property environment is far from new. It is independent of price, because our point of reference is not buyer versus seller, as you might have expected, but rather the inherent benefit to the seller in the property purchase system.

In New Zealand, but in few other English speaking countries, the seller has representation by definition and the purchase either represents themselves or traditionally uses a solicitor to try for balance. Indeed, even in the later case, the selling agent can and most often does, keep the skew, by seeking a fully signed contract, before the buyer's solicitor has even had occasion to see it, much less make buyer benefit alterations.

This 100+ year bias was a significant motivator for the government, when in 2008 it constructed the Real Estate Agents Act. Has the 2008 Act equalised the balance?


No, but it has made a beginning. Two changes have begun to have an additive benefit for the buyer. Some buyers have gotten the message that they should get a solicitor's review before signing (not many but some) and a small number of buyers have begun employing a "Buyer's Agent" to assist with finding, evaluating and negotiating on a property.

The seller's market has of course tempered these changes, but they are at least beginning. As mortgage rates increase, more homes are built and a more cautious buying public takes hold, we should expect the balance ever so slowly to get the buyer an even playing field... time will tell.




4 / 9

More Big News: Now When You Want To Suggest An e-Agent Improvement, The e-Agent "Wish List" Is Waiting!

13-Nov-2021

 



More Big News: Now When You Want To Suggest An e-Agent Improvement, The e-Agent "Wish List" Is Waiting!

The team at e-Agent is dedicated to not only providing the best eLearning system available, but to listening to suggestions from our users and making appropriate changes and improvements.

 For us to receive such feedback, we needed to create a "Road Map" that provides you with an easy means for providing suggestions; a means for your fellow eLearners to show their agreement and to offer a measure of priority.

 With this new road map, that we are calling our e-Agent wish list, you tell us what you would like to see added to our system; we review the suggestions that have support from other users and then make the magic happen.

 The screenshot below provides a peak at this system, but the new ideas and recommendations must come from you. In order to reward your use of this system, any and all wish list entries, that end up being implemented, will receive one of our free PC Tablet computers, so get involved!




5 / 9

Big News: A Face-2-Face Blended Learning Option Comes To The e-Agent Hercules System!

11-Nov-2021

 

Big News: A Face-2-Face Blended Learning Option 

Comes To The e-Agent Hercules System!



 

As my old boss, U.S. Airforce General Frank Dillon used to say "The difficult we do today, the impossible just takes a little longer". Apparently, thirty years later this truism still holds.

We have been providing online REA approved CPD for over a decade now and improving our delivery systems all along the way. We have gone from using other people's online learning platforms; taking in tons of suggestions; feedback and requested improvements, all the way to now, finally presenting course materials on our 100% in-house developed Hercules platform. But, we are not done!

It is now time, given a hopefully waning Covid pandemic, to focus on letting people have a more interactive blended experience.

We are calling it: "Hercules Office Hours."

  • The Hercules Office Hours experience is with no additional cost and is not a requirement of mandatory course completion.
  • Each week, beginning in February 2022, e-Agent will host two 1-hour online sessions (like Zoom, but even easier to use). The first hour weekly will cover a specific portion of the mandatory coursework and allow for direct interaction between participants and our trainers.
  • The second hour weekly will be devoted to interactive discussion of any mandatory materials, allowing for questions/input from learners, at various stages of course completions.
  • An email with additional details and a question submission form, will be provided late in January.
  • As this new initiative allows for learner-to-learner as well as learner to trainer interaction, it truly meets the best description of face-2-face training.
We Are Pumped!

6 / 9

Best Practices - Those Ever So Important Initials

27-Oct-2021


 Make Sure You Have EVERY Initial Before Commencing Celebrations!

-Best Practices Series-

The requirement for initials on each page of the Sales & Purchase Agreement, should NOT be treated as optional.      Let's find out why.

Sample Sale & Purchase Agreement

So, the image above is near and dear to every agent, because it represents an impending commission. This same ASP Agreement is also a minefield and far too many agents have fallen foul to treating it lightly and later wishing they had not done so.

Here we will examine one small, but highly explosive bit... the "Initials". For our purposes here we will not need to enlarge these pages, but the orange boxes, at the lower right corner of all but one of the pages is our target.

Wait, did I just say all but one page? Yes, but can you guess why page 10 isn't included? That's because there will be signatures and no initial is needed, as long as no additional material changes have been made on that page.

So, back to the remaining nine pages. Has anyone ever touched on this, during your original license course, or perhaps in training by your firm? If you were able to say yes, "good on them". But...

Let's perform a very brief mind experiment and the answer should become obvious. In presenting this agreement to a prospective buyer, you are required to review the agreement, before obtaining their signature and let's further imagine that you have reviewed all ten pages and have obtained their signature. The sale goes forward and the contract is subsequently accepted by both parties... Happy Days, right?

Not so fast, just moments before settlement you are notified by the buyer's solicitor that a tenant, not mentioned in the ASP, has produced some significant damage, but that the time allotted the purchaser to inspect the property has now passed and accordingly, the vendor has no intentions of making any adjustments.

Threats are exchanged by both solicitors, based on the language in the agreement, however, the purchaser now holds the position that no view of the contract clauses relevant was provided by the listing agent. The listings agent's position is that such a review was provided and the purchaser could be held responsible for any delay  in settlement.

In the end the conflict produced a complaint to the REA. Without a set of initials or some other evidence, the agent may find themselves in a very weak he said, I said situation. So,  those few minutes saved in not reviewing the contract and or failing to obtain initials of both parties, may cost real dollars and leave the agent's REA record with a three year negative finding.

Our position for Best Practices is therefore quite clear. Review the entire contract and obtain initials on each page, even if no alterations to the contract have been made. If you find yourself being told to ignore this advice, we suggest pointing the individual to:

Complaint Number:  C21752

 The REA has now acknowledged the Best Practice of initialling each page in the 2021 CPD course on Sales and Purchase Agreements:


Best practice

  • Have the party clearly initial at the bottom of each page of the sale and purchase agreement and any changes, ensuring a methodical and thorough process is followed and that the party confirms they agree to all parts of the agreement, including amendments.

Do keep in mind that the initials at the bottom of each page creates an assumption that the agent has reviewed these pages, with each signatory.

Shortcuts can often save time, but can also cost dearly!




7 / 9

The REA & REINZ

25-Oct-2021

 

Who, what, why

The REA & REINZ

Who Are They; What Sets Them Apart; 

& Why Is It So Important?

Up until twelve years ago these questions would have been meaningless, because until the passage of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008, there was only REINZ to contend with and it had been that way for decades.

You wanted to obtain a real estate license, you called REINZ. You had a complaint with another real estate agent, you called REINZ. You needed current sales data, yes, you called REINZ.

Sounds nice and neat, but there were problems. For one, unlike most other English speaking countries, New Zealand agents historically only served the vendor/seller. This left the buyer dealing with a system that was clearly biased against them and with an influx of new Kiwis from the U.S.; Canada; Australia; and the U.K., questions were raised and soon the politicians heard the commotion.

After reviewing the local and international models, the uniquely Kiwi Real Estate Agents Act 2008 passed through parliament and became effective in November 2009. So, what did this act actually change?

First off, the Act removed the licensing, regulatory and policing functions from REINZ and transferred those functions to the Real Estate Authority. This was followed by the REA becoming charged with organising the professional ongoing education of agents.

REINZ still had and has critical functions including a consulting role; as an Approved CPD Provider (as is e-Agent) and as a sales data consolidator.

The Bottom Line:

  • If you want to become licensed as a real estate agent, the REA is the responsibility agency.If you need to renew your license, once again it is the REA.
  • If you need to file a complaint against another agent, that too will involve the REA.
  • If a consumer is filing a complaint against your professional activities, the REA is again involved.
  • If you need to obtain CPD courses for license renewal, the REA selects all approved providers which includes REINZ and e-Agent.

8 / 9

Making Your "Open Homes" More Effective For You & Your Vendor!

19-Nov-2019


The "Open Home"; Nearly Everyone Does Them, But Too Few Do Them Well!

Please do not take the following as criticism, ok it is, but it is meant to point out significant issues and offer significant solutions, so chill out and give these bullet points a bit of consideration:


  1. Generally speaking, open homes represent extra work for both you and your vendor. If the property is not "Ready To View", it should be. Few agents mind holding opens in listings that sparkle or are so much better than competing listings.  At the same time, you might feel it useless to show off a "dog", but the real question for you and your client should be... will the listing sell as well "as is", or should some effort and or cash be applied to making the most of what you have to work with. Obviously, this question will require substantial commitment (read as time and cash) to provide any benefit. It will also require honesty!
  2.  Speaking of effort, what precisely is proven by the image below? Does it suggest that there is so little "curb appeal", that you must scream at everyone driving by? There is evidence of a much more effective approach, though it will require some extra effort on your part. I am suggesting that you examine a street map and select the sign locations at all/most of the major intersections and then use a few signs to help guide the buyers along the way.
  3. Reduce the mob scene! Sure by allowing only 30 minutes per open you get as many who will consider your listing, their number one priority, but suppose your listing is the second or third in a given half-hour, on their priority list...how does that help you or the vendor. Also, how much time can you spend with each interested parties, if you can barely keep up with getting them to sign in? My suggestion, have fewer opens for each listing and make each open for at least a full hour. The best part, less of your time, placing signs and more working with your clients and customers.



There are additional points regarding opens, but I think I will let them simmer a bit longer and allow some time for you to consider those presented here.

Happy Selling!




9 / 9

If You Do Not Understand Buyer Agency Today, You Will Miss Income Tomorrow!

01-Nov-2019


Ask, any 10 randomly selected real estate agents, "What is Buyer Agency?" and you will likely receive answers like this:
  1. A Buyer Agent works for the listing agent.
  2. A Buyer Agent assists a listing agent in finding possible buyers.
  3. A Buyer Agent assists a listing agent with "Open Homes".
  4. All of the above.
  5. None of the above.
So what did you select? 
(Spoiler Alert) The correct answer is 5, None of the above, or at least that has become the right answer as of the passage of the 2008 Real Estate Agents Authority. To see the actual language regarding Buyer Agency I recommend reading section 11 of the REA Code of Conduct (2012).

OK, so you have been in practice for decades; have had Buyer Agents assist with sales and are at a loss to understand what this is all about. So, just a wee bit of history.

When MP Clayton Cosgrove placed the 2008 REAA Act before Parliament, its stated purpose was to reduce marketplace confusion, with regard to agent/salesperson fiduciary responsibilities and how the consumers were being negatively impacted by this confusion. 

Accordingly, the REA (then REAA) was empowered to establish a clear set of licensing and conduct rules, which were to make it finally clear to both vendors and purchasers, exactly what relationship they had with their real estate agent and what services they could expect to receive.

So, here are the bits you might misunderstand the most and care about less than is desirable. One thing for sure; ignore them and pain is just around the corner, along with lost profits.
  • Just as a vendor is entitled to have and benefits from a professional listing agent, so is the purchaser.
  • When you look at Australia; the U.K.; Canada and the U.S., you will find that buyer agency has been in place for up to 25 years and for the same reasons it has made its way to New Zealand. Actually, the majority of U.S. agents are involved in transactions as a buyer agent and nearly 70% of their commissions are derived from buyer agency clients!
  • A Buyers Agent in New Zealand represents the Buyer and accordingly is looking to find the best property and at price and terms beneficial to the buyer. They do not "collaborate" with the listing agent in the process, nor do they have listings.
  • What about my Exclusive Listing Commission you ask? It is unchanged and completely unaffected by the buyer agent, as they are being paid by the purchaser and will not and indeed cannot claim any portion of your commission!
  • Under the Act, as an exclusive listing agent, you are still required to present any contract, including one from a buyer agent to your vendor on receipt. You will also need to provide access for showings. But, remember that none of these requirements will affect your commission in any manner
Finally, as we head into buyer markets, you just might want to consider acting as a buyer agent yourself; the water is fine and so is the income! As always your comments are most welcome.




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