Author Archives for Peter Mericka

About Peter Mericka

Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B is a Melbourne based property lawyer and real estate consumer advocate, whose law firm Lawyers Conveyancing has been leading the real estate and conveyancing industry in online conveyancing services for the past two decades.

EXPOSED: How Banks Manipulate Property Values

April 1, 2015 10:20 pm Published by 1 Comment by Brian White I’ve been involved in the property industry for 25 years (as a mortgage broker, real estate agent and investor). In recent times,flawed valuations have become a significant source of complaint, with manyagents advising that valuers are routinely undervaluing property and causing contracts to fall over. Buyers also accuse builders and developers of overpricing property, resulting in low valuations and contracts being terminated. While these scenarios do occur,the hidden culprit is often the type of...


Size Matters When It Comes To Defaulting On A Home Loan

December 12, 2014 8:12 pm Published by 1 Comment An article by Clancy Yeates Bad housing loans will increase one day, and bankers say that many of the loans that will go bad are probably being written now, when interest rates are so low. Australian borrowers are a fortunate bunch. Unlike households overseas, they’ve managed to avoid the wave of painful mortgage defaults that have brought other economies to their knees. Indeed, local banks say the share of people falling behind on their mortgage...


When A Successful Auction Bidder Renegs On Signing

December 7, 2014 5:46 am Published by Leave your thoughts by Tim O’Dwyer M.A., LL.B Solicitor Consumer Advocate From time to time some consumer advocates suggest to successful auction bidders, who might have a sudden change of mind, that they should refuse to sign anything and walk away. This is dangerous advice because in most parts of Australia auctioneers may lawfully sign a sale contract on behalf of a reluctant buyer (and hesitant vendor). (See “Winning Auction Bidders Beware“). Even if no signed post-auction contract, a...


Christmas Comes Early For Queensland Real Estate Agents

November 26, 2014 10:11 pm Published by 4 Comments An article by Tim O’Dwyer, Solicitor and Consumer Advocate On Monday 1st December POA, the Property Occupations Act 2014 (and POA Regulation 2014) come into effect in Queensland, and replace the much-amended-and-maligned Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 (PAMDA). While real estate consumers (in particular residential sellers and buyers) will find little to rejoice over and less protection of their interests than before (despite one of POA’s expressed objects being “the protection for consumers...


Victorian election real estate dramas: Underquoting and “election stunts”

November 26, 2014 3:23 am Published by Leave your thoughts An article by Jennifer Duke “In Victoria underquoting is endemic, rampant, it’s grubby, it’s misleading and deceptive and it’s a fraud on home buyers,” explained Rowe. “Consumer Affairs Victoria lacks the necessary laws and resources to police underquoting. Real estate agents enjoy the luxury of loop holes in the rules to bait home buyers into attending auctions which are outside their budget.  This frustrates buyers. Underquoting causes home buyers to waste their time, money and...


Rental road to riches can be rocky

November 22, 2014 11:15 pm Published by Leave your thoughts An article by Mary Holm Even with skill and good luck there are many risks that can make or break would-be property investors. My partner and I have our own home at the moment with a sizeable mortgage, and we’re thinking of starting a property rental portfolio. We’ve been told that it works best to have a few properties, rather than just one or two. Would you be so kind as to give us your...


Why New Homes Should Be Inspected For Defects

November 19, 2014 9:57 pm Published by Leave your thoughts If the house is brand new there should be no reason to have it inspected for defects, right? This article by Reuben Saltzman explains the reasons why a newly constructed home should be inspected by s qualified and independent building inspector. While the article was written for an American audience, it is just as applicable in Australia. One of the newest inspectors on our team is Patrick Brennan, who worked as a project manager for...


Real Estate Agent Referrals – They’re Not What Consumers Think They Are!

November 11, 2014 11:39 pm Published by Leave your thoughts “No one refers more clients to other businesses than real estate agents, so top agents understand the importance of capitalizing on this power by developing real estate referral networks.” So begins an article about the value of using referrals as a lead-generation strategy. What’s forgotten is that the consumer is reduced to being a mere commodity, to be bought and sold by those whose interests are not necessarily the same as those of the consumer....


Deceptive, unscrupulous techniques in property marketing

November 11, 2014 10:49 pm Published by 2 Comments An article by Jonathan Barrett – AFR Asking prices for houses in the ­Pilbara town of Port Hedland have dropped 40 per cent, but a local agent tells investors “demand for new dwellings will continue unabated”. In Collins Street, Melbourne, a commercial agent reckons buying the office he is selling represents the “best investment” in the city. Both statements are probably untrue, but are they illegal? Stephen Meagher, from the West Australian government’s Consumer Protection department,...


ASIC commences proceedings against property promoter Park Trent Properties

November 11, 2014 10:34 pm Published by Leave your thoughts An article by JENNIFER DUKE Park Trent Properties Group Pty Ltd, known as Park Trent, is under scrutiny from ASIC. ASIC has commenced proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, where they seek interim and final orders that will stop the property promoters from carrying on an unlicensed financial services business. Park Trent’s property promotion includes the use of SMSFs to purchase property. ASIC alleges that they are unlawfully carrying on a financial...