Lawyers Real Estate Well Received

Posted on June 30, 2010 by | 13 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


View Peter Mericka's profile on LinkedIn


 


We have been overwhelmed with emails, texts and telephone calls from well-wishers. There were plenty of consumers interested in having Lawyers Real Estate sell their property for them, but also lawyers, conveyancers, accountants and even some real estate agents who are interested in owning a Lawyers Real Estate franchise.Lawyers Real Estate was featured on Channel 7's Today Tonight current affairs program.


Lawyers Real Estate featured in an item on Channel 7’s Today Tonight program on Friday 25 June, 2010, and the response from consumers and real estate professionals alike has been amazing.


As expected, we received calls from people who are intending to sell their homes in the not-too-distant future, but what was surprising was the number of callers from outside of Victoria who called about franchise opportunities.


Participation by non-lawyers


Non-lawyers, particularly conveyancers and real estate agents, have realised that it is possible to own a Lawyers Real Estate franchise without having to be a qualified lawyer, provided that a “legal practitioner director” is appointed as required by the Legal Profession Act.


The Lawyers Real Estate franchise model has been developed to ensure that compliance with the Legal Profession Act is an essential part of the system. The system itself ensures compliance. By combining of the requirements of LAW 9000, the Ten Objectives of Affective Management Systems (TOAMS) established by the Legal Services Commissioner and the Lawyers Real Estate Franchise Operations Manual, we have created a tight and virtually fail-proof real estate law firm model.


While our target franchisees are existing law firms, we are maintaining contact with interested non-lawyers as well.


Consumers are in the mood for change


The response to our TV exposure has confirmed a strong consumer mood for change. Suffice it to say that consumers generally are resentful of the ever-increasing cost of commission-based real estate services, the refusal of the real estate industry to share the costs saved by advances in technology, and the misconduct that has become commonplace, and almost expected of real estate agents.


Enormous response to one night’s exposure on one TV channel


Here are some of the email messages we received after one night’s exposure on just one TV channel. We have not included the text messages received, as they were too numerous to retain. If your email is not among those reproduced below we apologise, but as you will appreciate, there is simply not enough space to include them all. We will, however, reply individually to each email received.



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13 Comments

  • http:// says:

    WEll done, Peter. But how come I never get that sort of positive (or any) reaction when I appear on Today Tonight (or A Current Affair, for that matter)?

  • It’s because you’re telling consumers about deception, lying, cheating, swindling, underquoting, dummy bidding etc. etc.  and they already know about these things, and have come to accept them as part of life in the real estate industry.

    What we have told them is that they can avoid all of this misery.

    While you’ve been telling the slaves about how miserable their lot is, we have been able to tell them how to break free of the system that exploits them.

    How does that sound as an explanation Tim?  (Or am I sounding like a spruiking real estate agent?)

    BTW – Thanks for advising me to tell Today Tonight about our concept. The fact that they recorded Enzo Raimondo’s false statements helped us no end!

  • http:// says:

    The truth is, a real estate agent takes the emotion out of selling your home.

    An agent is very well informed about market trends and what affects the final figure you receive on the sale of your home. The fact that a home owner is able to “point out the very special aspects of their home that an agent doesn’t know or care about” to buyers is not necessarily a positive. You must realize that these aspects of your home are very subjective and most probably not appealing to the majority of home buyers out there. The fact that you chose blue couch grass for your front lawn instead of the standard buffalo variety, or that Great Aunty Dot gave birth underneath that bay window in 1902 are details that may appeal to you, but may detract from the main positive aspects of your home that buyers are looking for, ie. potential to renovate etc – which are always well emphasized by an agent.

    Most potential purchasers are not going to disclose to you what they don’t like about your home out of respect. They will, however, disclose this to an agent. Agents provide unbiased advice that helps buyers around problems that prevent them from purchasing your property. As well as this, agents are well rehearsed with the ins and outs of renovations, flood zones, development opportunities and leasing options. We work for you, with the buyer (even difficult ones that only seem to see problems with your house) to secure a deal.

    Real estate agents rarely put a set price on a home. We mostly give an approximate range in list price, which is affected by the number of and motivation of buyers in that particular market. A price range also gives us more room to negotiate with buyers, a process that many home owners have little experience at. We don’t, and are not allowed legally to outrageously undervalue your home.

    Another point that needs to be looked at here is accreditation. We have undergone training and need to stick unwaveringly to the standards of the Office of Fair Trading. Home owners haven’t received training, and don’t work under any set of guidelines. We may just see an insurgence of home owner – sellers copping flack on today tonight in a few years time for exactly the same reasons that real estate agents frequent the show.

    Although sensationalist programs such as Today Tonight rave on about “unscrupulous agents”, we are not all like that. The media only feeds you the “bad guys” for ratings… You’ll notice how so many stories focus on religious extremists, death doctors & unorthodox politicians who have fallen from grace, when the majority of each group is actually inherently good. Give real estate agents a chance. If you are not happy, then certainly, sell your home by yourself.

  • Hi Anon,

    What an excellent example of real estate agent spin.  Let me address each aspect in tur

    n.

    First, you’re anonymous.  Real estate agents are never big on assuming responsibility, and you clearly don’t want to take responsibility for what you’ve said in this posting.

     

    < ?xml:namespace prefix = o /> “The truth is, a real estate agent takes the emotion out of selling your home”

    Indeed, this is the truth.  However, the falsity of this statement is not in the statement itself, but it the premise of the statement.  Real estate agents work hard to convince purchasers that emotion is a “bad” thing, when the opposite is true.  Emotion is pure, emotion is transparent, emotion is contagious, but most of all, emotion sells.  Just have a look around you at the advertising material that works – it invariably taps into the emotions.  Of course, most emotional advertising is contrived, and consumers are wary that their emotions are being manipulated.

    Lawyers Real Estate is aware that emotion sells, and we use the pure emotion that naturally flows from a vendor who has lived many happy years in their home, and whose innocent conversation with a potential purchaser offers a transparent view of the reasons why the vendor bought the home in the first place.  For example, the statement, “We’ve had 20 good years in this home, and the kids will be sad to see it sold” is based on emotion, but conveys the personal attachment the vendor has developed with the property.

    But here’s the rub for the real estate agent!  Real estate agents don’t like it when a vendor feels emotionally attached to their home, because the vendor may be reluctant to lower the price when the real estate agent’s Exclusive Sale Authority is nearing its end.  Thus, for the real estate agent, emotion becomes an impediment to a quick sale and a commission.

     

    “An agent is very well informed about market trends and what affects the final figure you receive on the sale of your home.”

    Again, the obvious truth of this statement belies its devious use.  Because the real estate agent is well informed about market trends etc., he is able to easily deceive the vendor.  Underquoting and overquoting in order to win the listing is possible only because the real estate agent has greater knowledge than the vendor.  When the vendor obtains an independent valuation on the property, provided by a qualified valuer who has no pecuniary interest in the outcome of the sale, the real estate agent is effectively “de-fanged”, and cannot savage the vendor through conditioning (the processes whereby the real estate agent attempts to convince the vendor to drop the price of the property so as to achieve a commission-releasing sale before the agent’s Exclusive Sale Authority ends.

    When the vendor is fully informed of market trends and the things that can affect the final price, who cares what the real estate agent does or doesn’t know about such things.  Vendors are not stupid, but they can be tricked when they don’t have important information provided to them by a reliable and unbiased source.

    Remember, real estate agents are not valuers, they receive no training in valuing real estate, and are prohibited from calling their free appraisals “valuations”.  A free appraisal from a real estate agent is worth what it costs.

     

    “The fact that a home owner is able to “point out the very special aspects of their home that an agent doesn’t know or care about” to buyers is not necessarily a positive. You must realize that these aspects of your home are very subjective and most probably not appealing to the majority of home buyers out there. The fact that you chose blue couch grass for your front lawn instead of the standard buffalo variety, or that Great Aunty Dot gave birth underneath that bay window in 1902 are details that may appeal to you, but may detract from the main positive aspects of your home that buyers are looking for, ie. potential to renovate etc – which are always well emphasized by an agent.”

    Take a look at any of the myriad real estate agent self-promotion videos now being produced, and you will see smiling real estate agents in neat suits walking into rooms and doing no more than pointing out the bleeding obvious.  “Imagine curling up in front of this cosy open fire” says the real estate agent in a voice-over while the camera pans the fireplace. 

    But what would the real estate agent know about how effective the open fireplace is?  Who would provide the answers to the following questions asked by the potential purchasers?

    ·         Does fireplace actually work? Or is it just for show?

    ·         Does it smoke?

    ·         What sort of fuel do you use?

    ·         Where do you get fuel from around here?

    ·         Do the neighbours complain about the smoke?

    ·         What about fire-ban days?

    ·         Do you leave the fire going when you go out?

    ·         Does the cast-iron surround get hot when the fire’s burning?

    ·         Do you need a council permit to operate it?

    When the real estate agent has finished saying, “I don’t know” to all of these questions, he then says, “I’ll have to ask the vendors and get back to you.”  The potential purchasers roll their eyes, because they know they’ll hear nothing back from the agent.

    However, if the purchasers are present they’ll answer every question.  And if they say, “I don’t know”, it won’t matter because there’s no-one else to ask, and the potential purchasers understand that they’ll have to make their own enquiries.

    Portraying the vendor as a stupid person who wants to tell a potential purchaser that “Great Aunty Dot gave birth underneath that bay window in 1902” is patronising and arrogant.  And anyway, so what if the vendor does want to provide a bit of trivia?  It all helps with the rapport that can develop between vendor and purchaser – another emotional hook that can lead to a sale.

     

    “Real estate agents rarely put a set price on a home. We mostly give an approximate range in list price, which is affected by the number of and motivation of buyers in that particular market. A price range also gives us more room to negotiate with buyers, a process that many home owners have little experience at. We don’t, and are not allowed legally to outrageously undervalue your home.”

    The real estate agent is not a valuer, and should not presume to advise a vendor as to what should be expected or accepted.  The is a massive conflict of interests where the person who seeks to gain a windfall profit of $20,000 just by having the vendor say yes to an offer, seeks to have some say in whether or not that offer should be accepted.  Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING to do with determining the value of the property, and determining whether or not an offer is acceptable, should be left to the vendor, without any involvement whatsoever from the real estate agent.  As for the motherhood statement, “We don’t, and are not allowed legally to outrageously undervalue your home” I can hear the collective eyeballs of all readers rolling!

     

    “Another point that needs to be looked at here is accreditation. We have undergone training and need to stick unwaveringly to the standards of the Office of Fair Trading. Home owners haven’t received training, and don’t work under any set of guidelines. We may just see an insurgence of home owner – sellers copping flack on today tonight in a few years time for exactly the same reasons that real estate agents frequent the show.”

    I know all about real estate agent training, and I note that you have not attempted to list any of the areas in which real estate agents receive training.  Rather than look at the training real estate agents do get, which is little more than business training associated with the running of a real estate office, listing techniques, and how to gain vendor-paid-advertising, let’s look at what real estate agents are NOT taught:

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in valuing real estate, or in appraising real estate.

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in negotiation.

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training on the concept of agency.

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in drafting contract terms.

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in offering legal advice.

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in interpretation of legislation.

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in the application of the Sale of Land Act

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in the application of the Transfer of Land Act

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in the application of the Instruments Act

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in the application of the Privacy Act

    ·         Real estate agents receive NO training in the application of Common Law 

    Remember, it was the CEO of the REIV, Enzo Raimondo (yes, the same Enzo Raimondo who made a fool of himself of the Today Tonight segment) who said,

    Entry-level requirements (for those entering the real estate industry) are far too lenient and low – at present you need a 50 hour course to call yourself an expert.
    (Enzo Raimondo, quoted in the Sunday Herald Sun October 13, 2002 p.78)

    Nothing has changed since Enzo disclosed this.  I actually completed the real estate agent rep’s course at Swinburne TAFE, and found that the course was more focused on how to win listings and stay out of trouble.

    When it comes to the very concept of agency, the true “agent” in a real estate sale transaction is the lawyer!  (See “Real Estate Agent – What ‘agent’ means”).

     

    “Although sensationalist programs such as Today Tonight rave on about “unscrupulous agents”, we are not all like that. The media only feeds you the “bad guys” for ratings… You’ll notice how so many stories focus on religious extremists, death doctors & unorthodox politicians who have fallen from grace, when the majority of each group is actually inherently good. Give real estate agents a chance.”

    All real estate agents benefit from the dreadful reputation they have developed for themselves.  All of them, the shonks, the crooks, and the incompetents included, all use the line, “99% of real estate agents give the rest of us a bad image.”  Being able to identify as the only one who’s any good, or the only one in the area who’s honest is a great sales tool for any real estate agent.

    Those who complain about “agent-bashing” do so half-heartedly, because if they were serious they’d do something about cleaning the industry.  They don’t because it suits them to keep it grubby.

    Give real estate agents a chance?  They’ve had their chance.  It’s time to give Lawyers Real Estate a chance to give consumers a fair go!

  • http:// says:

    Mr. Mericka you can go and get well and truly f****d. real estate agents work hard for their commissions and lawyers like you are no better than the discounters.

    Watch yourself or you will find yourself in that f***ng fireplace!

  • Hi Anon,

    So much for taking the emotion out of real estate.  Perhaps you could put forward arguments instead of anger in future blog postings.

    Can you also use your real name, and not the name of that well-known Melbourne identity, the dummy bidder.

  • It would appear that there are numerous real estate agents who go by the name of “Anon” and who wish to post abusive (and some of them quite perverse) comments on this blog posting.

    If you wish to post comments on this blog please use your correct name.

    I note that comments made on the Lawyers Real Estate Facebook page (CLICK HERE) do not contain abusive or offensive language, and I assume it’s because those who leave comments there are identifiable, and therefore responsible for what they say.

  • http:// says:

    I missed your interview can you post it please

  • Hi David,

    You will find it in the list of videos at http://au.todaytonight.yahoo.com/video.

    It’s titled “For Sale By Owner – No Agent”.

  • http:// says:

    Peter, wonderful, wonderful story on TodayTonight. Good for you!

    I agree with every thing you said and was pleased to that te show didn’t do the usual retort from a biased agent.

    We have l also been approached by channel nine just last Friday regarding our business.

    I would be interested to have a chat with you again as its been more than a year.

    Andrew

  • http:// says:

    My second favorite quote from Sea Change’s villian Real Estate Agent, Bob Jelly was to his son, “Don’t worry son. any dumb bastard can be a Real Estate Agent.” My favorite was, when surveying the landscape…”The rest of the world sees a Wetland. We see a future shopping mall”.

  • http:// says:

    My niece just purchased a house and forked out $600 for a building report. she is only young and and as it happened she used to work with the young “agent ” who was selling the property. He knew the property had issues because of the 2 previous building reports. but he kept pressure on her to buy Quickly. That is a Grub Act.. After looking at the building report, I told her not to touch the house as it required at least $30,000 in repairs.
    As a construction worker myself, I have seen too much of this garbage over the last 30 years.
    Real estate agents have made far too much for too long.

  • Matt says:

    @Rob – ask the agent if they will include the cost of the building inspection report in their commission. I do.

    There’s a lot of bad eggs in RE, I won’t deny it. I have to compete against it on a daily basis.

    Not sure this is the way to go about it though, despite the good aspects of your service.

    I know I would want to be represented by someone who spends time trying to sell my house, not by someone who evidently has the time to write 1462 word comments on blog posts.

    “Being able to identify as the only one who’s any good, or the only one in the area who’s honest is a great sales tool for any real estate agent”

    Absolutely, and that’s what I do.

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