by Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd
Real estate agents have been parading about in their “negotiator” suits like the naked emporer in his invisible new clothes, trying to convince consumers of their competence in real estate negotiations. I have had enough of incompetent real estate agents’ stupid mistakes, deceptive practices and consumer indifference. I have now banned real estate agents from the negotiation stage of the real estate sale!
In past weeks my office has received the usual number of formal written contracts prepared by real estate agents, containing dumb mistakes:
“Settlement: is due on 31 February, 2009”
incomprehensible special conditions:
“1. Should the offer be accepted by the Vendor, a more detailed contract be drawn up with specifications to suit purchasers requirements, but within the builders proposed budget, to the satisfaction of both parties’ solicitors.”
and deceptive special conditions (the classic deceptive special condition is the one circulated to real estate agents by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) which limits the purchaser’s right to end the contract to rare situations where the building is affected by a major structural defect).
Enough is enough. We now inform our vendor clients and their real estate agents that all expressions of interest are to be directed to us, and that we will attend to all matters associated with negotiation of the sale, preparation of the contract, and completion of the sale and conveyancing.
Real estate agents are prohibited by law from conducting genuine negotiations
Few real estate agents, let alone real estate consumers, are aware that real estate agents are prohibited from providing legal advice or performing any of the legal work involved in real estate negotiations, and that they face a penalty of imprisonment for 2 years if they do so.
In the past we have required real estate agents to consult us before presenting offers to vendor clients, and have had to put up with arrogant and reckless real estate agents ignoring our instructions and causing problems for vendors and purchasers alike.
We are no longer allowing real estate agents to participate in real estate negotiations, and we have set out a number of reasons in support of our stance.