REIV Confusion On Estate Agent Role As "Go-Between"

Posted on July 7, 2009 by | 18 Comments

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

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Is it any wonder that the REIV (Real Estate Institute of Victoria) misleads, misguides and misinforms its members when its own CEO Enzo Raimondo fails to understand the role of the real estate agent in a sale transaction?

In his regular propaganda piece in the Domain section of The Age newspaper, Enzo Raimondo tells consumers that when negotiating for the purchase of real estate “…the agent will act as a go-between. (“Negotiating Hurdles” p.3 Domain, The Age 4 July, 2009)

In the very next sentence Raimondo then tells consumers, “When negotiating, keep in mind the agent acts for the seller, not the buyer.

This is followed by, “Buyers can use a buyer’s agent to help with the negotiation process.

The article concludes with “…obtain legal advice before signing any documents.

So, according the the CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), the negotiation process involves a real estate agent who represents the vendor, a real estate agent who represents the purchaser, and a real estate agent who acts as the mediator, or “go-between” during the negotiations.

One could imagine a purchaser being coached by Mr. Raimondo on how she should go about purchasing a home in Victoria; perhaps it would go something like this:


Enzo Raimondo – The Role Of The Go-Between

Raimondo: “Hello Ms.Lee, let me explain how real estate negotiations are conducted in Victoria. This is Mr. Sharkey, and he represents the vendor of the property you hope to buy.”

Sharkey: “Remember, I represent the vendor, not you.”

Ms. Lee: “Oh, I thought the real estate agent is supposed to help me to prepare my offer, to write special conditions for me and the like. Who will represent me then?”

CEO of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) Enzo RaimondoSharkey: “I’ll represent you as well as representing the vendor, I do it all the time. I have prepared plenty of offers for purchasers and I always use REIV special conditions when I prepare purchasers’ offers, and…OWWW!”

Raimondo apologises to Sharkey for accidentally stamping on his foot, turns to Ms. Lee, and says,

“What Mr. Sharkey means is that part of his role as the vendor’s real estate agent and representative is to act as a “go-between”, assisting both you and the vendor in the negotiation process.”

Ms. Lee: I don’t understand this role of “go-between”. If Mr. Sharkey represents the vendor, and is working for the vendor, and is not going to assist me, what is this “go-between” role?

Raimondo thinks for a few moments, then replies:

“As a “go-between”, Mr. Sharkey will help you and the vendor to negotiate a successful outcome.”

Sharkey: “That’s right, the job of the “go-between” is to get the sale all wrapped up and…OWWW! Stop doing that Enzo.”

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  • http:// says:

    Dear Sir, if the play you have written is an accurate portrayal of the goings on in the real estate profession then I must express my disgust.

    I hope members of the R.E.I.V. bring it to the immediate attention of the membership and their CEO.

  • http:// says:

    what if you make it that raimondo comes good and bangs the agents heads together and says sorry to ms lee and they all have a happy ending. i know that is far fetched but woudnt it be nice.

  • http:// says:

    lol, sharkey and shonk and enzo raimondo

    together there the real estate dream team

    more like the 3 stooges, rofl

  • http:// says:

    hahaha that was funny and so accurate

  • http:// says:

    You really know how these bastards operate don’t you. Loved it, looking forward to the next episode!!!

  • Hi Lawman,

    Why don’t you write the next one. Or give some suggestions as to how it might develop.

    Perhaps if there are any frustrated cartoonists out there we could have some caricatures sent in to illustrate.

    It seems that readers are enjoying this play/comic strip format. There are plenty of real estate situations that lend themselves to such a format – the offering of conveyancing bribes, real estate agents inserting of special conditions, and how a real estate agent would deal with a thief at an open house come to mind as possibilities.

    What do readers think?

  • http:// says:

    Certainly very funny post. Maybe you missed your calling Peter?
    I would just like topoint out that although there are certainly some agents who should be drummed out of the industry, many of us try very hard to provide an honest and upfront service. We also get very little input into what the REIV does or doesn’t do. In the interests of fairness not all agents are crooks, just some.

  • Hi Agent,

    You have raised two very important points: the criminal element in the real estate industry, and the infiltration of the REIV by this criminal element.

    Your comment “not all agent are crooks, just some” is probably true. However, it belies the fact that the majority of real estate agents engage in criminal conduct. Those who knowlingly engage in criminal conduct are the real crooks. Those who unwittingly engage in criminal conduct probably less so.

    The major problem for you and most other real estate agents is that the REIV has been infiltrated by the criminal element. How can I say this? Well the fact that the REIV actually prints and distributes “Sprecial Conditions” for use by real estate agents is the most obvious manifestation.

    Purging the REIV and your industry of this criminal element will a huge challenge. The first, however, is for the industry to realise that the crooks are in control, and to start doing something about it.

  • http:// says:

    I am currently no fan of the REIV. It is my experience that they reward the rogues. I don’t want to screw any one over, however I don’t always agree with your concept of what is or is not fair but my frustration, esspecially with the REIV grows daily.

  • Hi Agent,

    OK, given that you believe that the REIV rewards rogues, while I believe that the REIV has been infiltrated by the rogues, where to from here?

    What do we do about it?

  • http:// says:

    peter you did miss your calling i agree with agent

    why dont you go and be policeman and get rid of this CRIMINAL ELEMENT !!!!!

  • Hi Austin,

    I served 18 years as a policman, and have turned my forensic investigative instincts to the real estate industry.  The trouble is that criminality is so firmly entrenched in the real estate industry, and it is the sort of “soft” criminality that exists without being too obvious – a bit like a melanoma in the small of your back.

    However, in a similar manner to the sunsmart campaigns, this blog is making the problem more apparent, and consumers are seeing these nasty growths for what they really are.

  • Hi David,

    You were warned previously that extreme and personal attacks on other commentators will not be tolerated.  You obviously have things you would like to bring to George’s attention, and I would like to allow you to do so.  You can be as forthright as you wish to be, but you must exercise a little more self-control.

    You’ve had two strikes.  A third comment containing personal and defamatory attacks will be your strike 3!

    George, to put you at ease, David is a conveyancer who disagrees with a couple of minor points you have made.  Unfortunately he is a little over the top in the way he expresses himself when he’s annoyed.

  • http:// says:

    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for that, unfortunately there are some topics we all cannot amicably agree on, but debating or disgreeing with items of information, crucial to the subject matter, or to the determination of an issue at hand only leads to unnessary debate and personal attack.

    Which is not needed on this blog.


  • Hi George,

    I don’t like to moderate people, but I won’t allow anonymous commentators to snipe at those who are brave enough write under their full names.

    David has the blogging equivalent of an anger management problem – I think it is the result of frustration more than anything else; he doesn’t like what he reads, but has difficulty in framing counter-arguments.

    He’s been warned, so if he comes back he will need to be on his best behaviour.

  • http:// says:

    Perhaps you may want to write an atricle on the R.E.I.V. and its role toward its members. Are they an Institute or a business. I know of one company that had an “idea” which was beneficial to all members but it conflicted with Real Estate View – the subscription management portal of the Institute. Therefor members were not made aware of this free technology.

  • Hi John Rogerson,

    I think the REIV treats its members the same way as some real estate agents treat their “punters”. You know the saying, “A fish rots from the head down”.

  • My real estate agent happened to tell the seller’s real estate agent that we found out some of these things on the property – most importantly about the flooding – and now the selling real estate agent wants me to sign a bunch of documents listing out what I found out as if she had told me about them. I don’t want to do it – it took considerable effort for me to uncover these issues and I have already signed off on contingencies.

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