Dealing with a real estate agent

Under Northern Territory (NT) law all real estate agents and businesses must be licensed. Read the law.

You can check if an agent or business is licensed by contacting your local Licensing NT office.

A real estate agent can help you decide how to sell your property based on:

  • the type and location of the property
  • market conditions
  • your time frame and personal preference.

You should compare any recommendations from your real estate agent with recent sales data.

The agent will charge you a fee to sell your property.

Before you sign up with an agent

Before you sign an agreement with an agent you should talk to other agents and compare their services and fees.

Your agent should have knowledge of the property market in your area including what has sold.

Agreements with an agent

In the NT there are two types of agreements you can sign with a real estate agent:

  • general sales agreement
  • or a sole and exclusive sales agreement.

Your agent must discuss these types of agreements with you before you sign the contract to appoint them as your selling agent.

What should be in an agreement

An agreement will set out the services the agent will provide for you and the amount of any fees or commission you agree to pay.

It should also cover the extent of the agent’s authority to act for you and the estimated selling price of the property.

The agreement with your agent usually also has a set time that it must run for.

You can't get out of the agreement before this time, unless the agent agrees.

It the agreement does not have a fixed time, it must state how the agreement can be ended.

Read your agreement

It is a legally binding contract so it's important that you read and understand it.

If you do not understand the terms and conditions, ask for clarification or get legal advice.

Read more about signing contracts and agreements.

Negotiate your agreement

You can negotiate with the agent about the terms and conditions of the agreement and to ask for any legal-allowed changes to be made.

This includes the amount of any commissions, fees or other expenses that you may have to pay the agent.

How to end the agreement

It is important to properly end the agreement before signing up with another agent.

Your agreement with your agent should set out when and how you can end it.

If you don't end your agreement properly you may be charged commission by both agents when the property is sold.​

Real estate agent duties

When you appoint an agent to sell your property you can usually expect the agent to do all of the following:

  • provide an estimated selling price of the property
  • recommend the best method of sale
  • advertise and market the property and provide a marketing plan
  • organise and attend 'open inspections' and individual inspections by potential buyers
  • attract prospective buyers
  • organise an auction if you want one
  • communicate offers
  • arrange for the formal acceptance of an offer to purchase or the preparation of a contract of sale.

Rules for real estate agents

Real estate agents must be accountable and meet certain standards of professional competence under NT law.

Agents must negotiate the best possible price for you when buying or selling your property.

Agents who are members of the Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory must also follow the institute's code of conduct. 

Go to the Real Estate Institute of Northern Territory website

If you are not happy with an agent go to make a complaint about a real estate agent.

Last updated: 28 November 2017