Book Exposes Real World Of Real Estate

Posted on October 18, 2009 by | 6 Comments

Peter Mericka B.A., LL.Bby Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd


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I was watching “First Tuesday Book Club” on ABC TV a few months ago, and I saw the host, Jennifer Byrne hold up a copy of Brendan Gullifer’s book SOLD. According to Byrne, “I thought it was tremendous fun. And let me tell you, you’ve met these people. They probably sold your house.” Having read SOLD, I can confirm that the characters and behaviours portrayed in the book are true to life. I recommend this book as compulsory reading for anyone contemplating a career in real estate, or doing business with those involved in the real estate industry.SOLD - Selling your house will never be the same.


The real estate industry in Victoria has a well-deserved reputation for dishonesty and improper behaviour, but getting the message to consumers can be extremely difficult.


Brendan Gullifer’s novel warns and informs in a way that legal advice can’t. I have had personal experience with the estate agent stereotypes portrayed in SOLD and the shonky methods they use, and I now refer clients and other consumers to SOLD as a primer for anyone who will be coming into contact with real estate agents.


The book is available through most book shops. If not in stock it can be ordered. Alternatively, the book can be purchased on line at Readings Books.


I think the best summing up of the book is provided by The Book Show, ABC National:



“SOLD is a pacy, satirical novel exposing the dirty, scheming underbelly of a Melbourne real estate firm, and, well, the real estate profession in general. Anyone who’s had dealings with real estate — and let’s face it, that is or will be most of us at some stage of our lives — will be highly amused by Brendan Gullifer’s satirical dig at the industry.”
(See “What They Say“)


Struck by the uncanny accuracy of the attitudes and behaviours of the characters in SOLD, I contacted Brendan Gullifer and asked him how he gained such insight into the Victorian real estate industry.


Here’s how Brendan Gullifer explains it:



“In 2000, I lost my job. The media company I worked for went into bankruptcy. I was 40-years-old and couldn’t get work. So I went against everyone’s better advice and decided to become a real estate agent…


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6 Comments

  • http:// says:

    Just like you I saw this book on tuesday boolk club and I bought it. It made me cringe to see people I know in there and I saw myself in the main character called Will. I think any real estate agent or subagent or salesperson who read the book will be disturbed by it becuase it reallhy hits home

  • Hi Hector,

    I am sure that there are plenty of “Will” types in the real estate industry, but they don’t last long.

    I have known a couple of them.  One was a family friend who was retrenched, and decided to get into real estate because he saw it as just another form of salesmanship.  I was disappointed with him because I know that to operate in the real estate industry one must be prepared to go along with improper conduct or turn a blind eye to it.

    He didn’t last long.  When I bumped into him some months later he said to me, “Peter, you would not believe the things they expected me to do.”  He went on to tell me that the mantra of real estate agency was “condition the vendor, condition the vendor”.  He told me that he took pride in being a good salesman, but selling real estate was not salesmanship, it was fraud and he wanted no part of it.

    Other “Wills” have contacted me after reading material on this blog, and have even put me onto other shonky practices I would not otherwise have found.  It was a “Will” who alerted me to the bribery program established by Goodman Group Conveyancing and another “Will” who directed me to a Facebook page on which a young “GC” (readers will have to consult the book to find out what a “GC” is) boasted about the bribe payments being “pocket money”.

  • http:// says:

    Hello Peter,

    As a solicitor you have an interest in selling your skills to consumers who are unsure or fearful of a particular situation.

    As far as I can see what you are doing is intentionally stirring up a hornets nest about real estate agents in order to instill fear amongst the community. I am sure that your hope is that as a result of your spruiking more frightened consumers will approach you for help i.e. pay you.

    Neil Jenman is no different.
    For years he has instilled fear amongst consumers by running the real estate industry down. His hope is of course that more consumers will only deal with the agents who pay him $1500 p.m. to have his name on thier door. At the end of the day the result is the same, Neil Jenman gets paid more.

    This is a very clever and sophisticated scam Peter. By instilling fear within the community and then positioning yourself as the the only saviour you are actually creating a need that “surprise surprise” your industry can help people with.

    It really is clever. I have no problems with creativity and new ideas for creating more business. However, when it involves instilling fear in people and then in turn preying upon those same people it becomes a little unethical.

    If this comment gets posted I hope that anyone reading it realises what you are up to.

    By the way. I’m not a real estate agent, I’m a full time property investor who has dealt with many real estate agents and attended many real estate semminars. I understand the concept of the real estate business model and can tell you that after my own research and after listening to people like you I know who’s more ethical and it’s definitely not you.

    You are running a clever scam that drives business towards you and it’s simply based upon instilling fear in people. Clever yes, ethical… no.

  • Hi Alan,

    Robert Mugabe says similar things about Morgan Tsvangirai, and like you he doesn’t bother to justify what he says with any evidence or examples.

    The fact that Gullifer could write such a book is, of itself, testament to disgraceful reality of the real estate industry.

    People who read the book find it funny, because they have experienced the stereotypes portrayed in it, and the behaviours the author describes.

    I note that you offer no criticism whatsoever of any of the behaviours described in Gullifer’s book, or in this blog generally.  Nor do you attempt to defend any of the criticism I have levelled at the industry.

    You seem content to shoot the messenger, and accept the industry as it is.

    I note that you attempt to establish credibility by describing yourself as, “…a full time property investor who has dealt with many real estate agents and attended many real estate semminars.”

    Have you not come across anything in the real estate industry that warrants criticism?  Does anything you have read in Gullifer’s book ring true to you?  Did you laugh when you read the book?

    Or did you simply see the book as a blasphemous attack on your belief system?

  • Joel says:

    I am not in the real estate industry at all – just an interested observer. I’m certainly going to get my hands on the book – it sounds controversial which makes for an interesting read!

    Thanks.

  • Hi Joel,

    What you will find interesting about this book is that it rings true for anyone who has had contact with the real estate industry.

    The real estate industry can be compared with organised crime, insofar as everyone knows it’s wrong, very little has been done to genuinely control it, and everyone is familiar with the misdeeds that make it what it is.

    That’s why Gullifer has been able to write a fictional story that has parallels in everyday real estate experiences of the average Melburnian.

    You will also note that not a single real estate agent has had anything to say about the accuracy of the characters or methods portrayed in the book.

    Let us have your comments when you’ve read it Joel.

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