They've got the cash upfront, they can move in tomorrow - some might say Rhys and Charlotte Attwood are the 'perfect' home buyers.

So why won't any real estate agents respond to their inquiries about Auckland homes for sale?

The Attwoods - Rhys, his wife Charlotte and two children, James and Daniel - are relocating from Palmerston North to Auckland due to Rhys' job.

With talk of the Auckland housing market cooling and now cashed up after selling their Palmerston North home, Rhys and Charlotte thought buying in Auckland would be an easy task.

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But it's hard to buy a new home when the real estate agents in charge of selling them won't respond to your inquiries, Rhys found.

"I sent an inquiry to 10 Auckland real estate agents on TradeMe and real estate websites saying, 'Hey we're cash buyers, short settlement or long settlement, we can settle straight away, we'd love to view the property and put an offer in'," Rhys said.

Of the 10 agents Rhys contacted, only one got back to him.

Rhys was so frustrated by the elusive agents, he decided to bypass them altogether and sent flyers directly to the homes he was interested in, in the hope he would have more luck dealing with the vendors directly.

"These agents are charging vendors up to $25,000 to list their homes on TradeMe, Rhys said.

Rhys Attwood, who has sold his Palmerston North home and is happy with a short or a long settlement would be a perfect buyer for plenty of Auckland homes. Photo / Alexander Robertson
Rhys Attwood, who has sold his Palmerston North home and is happy with a short or a long settlement would be a perfect buyer for plenty of Auckland homes. Photo / Alexander Robertson

"For $25,000 I would want to know that every single person who inquired about my property was able to view it - any time, day or night, or on the weekend, by appointment. I just don't understand it."

The Attwoods had been searching in a fairly broad area across Auckland stretching from Hillsborough to Remuera.

Rhys inquired about properties via both TradeMe and Realestate.co.nz, represented by a number of different real estate companies.

He said the poor response indicated it was an industry-wide issue in Auckland.

"You'd think we'd be snapped up. We're cash buyers, pre-approved with no settlement time, we just want to buy a house, you know."

Rhys supplied a list of the agents he tried to get in touch with and of the eight the Weekend Herald contacted, only two answered the phone.

One of them was Jo Orawiec from Barfoot & Thompson who, it turns out, was also the only agent to respond to Rhys after his initial inquiry.

Orawiec said Rhys' anger over the lack of response from agents was completely reasonable.

"I think sometimes the agents are just too big for their boots. How do you sell a house unless you communicate with people?" she said.

She said it was a given that an agent responded to every single inquiry they received about a property on their books.

"I know myself, I get really grumpy - it doesn't matter if I've phoned the doctors to make an appointment or whatever - if people don't come back to me, it's rude, it's very rude. I just think some of the agents are too far up themselves."

The other agent who picked up the phone was Deepak Arora from Harcourts who apologised for not responding to Attwood.

"We get so many inquiries and we are so busy that sometimes they just get missed," he said.

The vendor of the property Arora was marketing had already got in touch with Attwood after receiving his flyer.

The other six agents the Weekend Herald contacted didn't respond to inquiries.

Real Estate Institute New Zealand chief executive Bindi Norwell said the Attwoods' situation sounded extremely unusual.

"It's not something we've ever heard of. Usually agents are very proactive and are conscious of returning calls in a timely manner, so we understand his frustration," Norwell said.

"We're happy to put Mr Attwood in touch with some agents who might be able to help him, and we will send a reminder to all our members about the importance of checking their online portals on a regular basis."

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