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Crackdown on pricing by agents

Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by Jacque, 30th Jul, 2007.

  1. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

    16th Jun, 2005
    In an article I was recently interviewed for about price guides it seems I'm far from alone when it comes to expressing my annoyance about misleading and vague price guides given by real estate agents. Obviously, not all agencies are involved but it is rife amongst some, and it's amazing that the Dept of Fair Trading or the ACCC hasn't prosecuted more sellling agents for misleading frustrated buyers. Only one agent has been fined in NSW to date for underquoting.

    The problem doesn't solely lie with agents- after all, some buyers keep their cards close to their chest in auction situations and then overpay on auction day- the emotional purchaser is alive and well. However, if all agents were at least upfront about price guides given out to potential purchasers (at a guide that is the same as the selling estimate given to the vendor on the agency agreement) then there would be less heartache all round.
    It's a difficult process, particularly for buyers who have done it several times in their quest to buy a property, to pay for searches/contract reviews etc only to see it all go down the drain at an auction at which they never had a chance in the first place. Even worse, when the selling agent who's led them down the garden path blames the "market" for the high price.

    Selling agents should be competent and skilled enough in their own areas to know, more accurately than buyers, what the value on a property is and convey this honestly to potential purchasers. Buyers are just fed up with being taken for a ride and wasting their time, money and emotions, and who can blame them?

    Linda Burney, minister at Fair Trading, has launched an enquiry into the underquoting practice and recently announced a blitz that will operate for three months in NSW, with undercover investigators visiting open homes and auctions to ascertain how widespread underquoting actually is. Let's hope when the results are made public that those agencies responsible change their tune. See article here