Agency Underquoting is in the news again. The NSW government recently conducted a crackdown on unethical agents underquoting a listing in order to get more action around a sale. It inspected 124 real estate businesses checking documents to ensure the prices they quoted to sellers matched the prices they quoted prospective buyers.
They issued 22 fines, valued at $2,200 each. Since new regulations came into force in January 2016, 50 fines have been issued, however there have been no successful prosecutions.
Sydney resident Chris Fromm recently attended an auction, which went for $400,000 over what he was quoted. Mr Fromm had already paid for a pest and building inspection as well as legal costs. Mr Strom believes he had been deliberately underquoted, an illegal technique used by some real estate agents to drum up interest in a property.”He would have had some knowledge, given the interest that he had, we were never going to have a chance at that property.
Minister for Better Regulation Matt Kean said he would consider introducing tougher penalties and giving inspectors greater powers to investigate underquoting. “I think we should look at all options,” Mr Kean said. “We want to make sure shonky real estate agents are weeded out of the market and consumers get a fair deal.”
Mr Kean said there was evidence to suggest the Government’s efforts were working. In the first quarter of 2016, Fair Trading NSW received 119 complaints about underquoting. Just 12 complaints were received for the same period in 2017.
Underquoting was ‘expected’ in Sydney market said fellow REBAA buyer’s agent Amanda Segers ()pictured).”I’d expect [an] underquote in order for an agent to do their job properly, but it’s always been like that,” she said.
“If you’re a professional agent, you’re a trusted advisor, you should be doing the right thing,” he said.
“It’s very simple to comply. Don’t try to find ways around it, just comply.”