If you’ve landed on this page, there’s likely a good reason why. You’ve likely frantically typed complain about a real estate agent into Google, seething with rage.
Why? You’re on the hunt for your dream home, and you’ve encountered a huge block, and perhaps some unethical conduct. You’re faced with a stubborn bull dressed in a blazer, with a clip board and an ungodly amount of power.
It’s the rogue real estate agent.
As a Sydney mortgage broker, I see people wanting to complain to NSW Fair Trading all the time.
So what makes a real estate agent go over to the dark side?
What turns a real estate agent bad?
Sometimes in life, stressful situations get the better of our moral judgement. This occurs in situations where there’s high risk involved. It’s the kind of situation where the threat of annihilation is so high, that we go into defence mode. We want to protect ourselves, and our body has a natural, built-in flight or fight response to stress. Like when we experience a break up, lose a football game, or our jobs are on the line.
If you’re a real estate agent selling homes, you rely on that commission from sales. Real estate agents have particularly stressful KPIs, and unfortunately, not all deal with this anxiety in an ethical manner.
A seller’s real estate agent has one goal, and one goal only: to sell their client’s home. If you’re a home buyer, this means their job is to find someone who will buy, and buy willingly, quickly and with minimal fuss. Ultimately, they want to make a sale, and you’re either the key to this, or a barrier.
As an enthusiastic home hunter looking for their forever home in Sydney, understand that you have the power to deal with a rogue real estate agent.
How real estate agents act out
There are a few crimes that rogue real estate agents are guilty of. And I mean literal crimes, as all registered real estate agents in NSW are bound by the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002. There’s also the Fair Trading Act, and all practising agents are required to have a Real Estate License from NSW Fair Trading.
Common crimes and what to do
You don’t need to like the seller’s real estate agent if you’re a home buyer. You just need them to act ethically and obey the law. Here’s what you might encounter when on the hunt for your home in Sydney, and how to deal with it efficiently.
Fair Trading NSW brought into force some new under quoting reforms in January 2016. Under quoting happens when an agent states or publishes a price for a property that is less than the price they’ve told the seller their home will sell for. For example, the seller and their agent think their home will sell for $1 million, and the agent tells prospective buyer’s the home is $750,000. Like bees to honey, the buyer is drawn to this sweet deal and gets a nasty shock when they’ve realised they’ve wasted time and money inspecting properties.
What to do: Since the new reforms came in, it’s pretty unlikely that a real estate agent would be dumb enough to under quote. It helps to research the recent sales prices in the area to compare, and I’d advise you to never believe anything that sounds too good to be true.
But if you feel like you’ve been scammed, contact NSW Fair Trading and lodge a complaint.
There’s also a right way to make an offer on a home, which can see you climbing the home owning ladder without breaking bank. Learn how to make an offer they can’t refuse.
Operating without a Real Estate License
All real estate agents selling or managing properties are required to have studied CPP40307 Certificate IV in Property Services (Real Estate) to receive a Real Estate License. If an agency or independent agent operates without one, they face some fairly serious fines and have to compensate both the buyer and the seller.
What to do: It doesn’t happen often, but it can happen. Always makes sure the agent representing the buyer is licensed and registered, which you can do easily online.
The more repairs and minor issues on the property report, the more likely the selling process is going to stall. And a seller’s real estate agent wants to sell that home ASAP, so that they can move on to the next one to sell. And of course, make commission faster. This means they might misrepresent the home as being in better condition than it is, much like when anyone sells anything second hand. It’s doesn’t happen all the time, but it can happen.
What to do: Unlike with most previously used goods, you have the legal right to order your own inspection report. This is done during the settlement period, which you can learn to negotiate in your favour.
A seller’s real estate agent has one job: to sell their client’s home. Sometimes, this isn’t compatible with your goal: to find your forever home within your budget. Not all real estate agents have it out for home buyers, but you might encounter some less than ideal behaviour on your journey to home ownership. But know your rights, know what’s legal, and when in doubt, contact your friendly and helpful Sydney mortgage broker for guidance.