by Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd
We now have the REIV inventing, and forcing its own legislation on real estate consumers. When will journalists, regulators, lawyers and consumers start thinking for themselves instead of simply watching Enzo Raimondo and the crew at the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) make fools of them. It’s time to put vendors and purchasers back in control, and to return the real estate agent to the role of salesperson.
In an article in the Sunday Age, Chris Vedelago reports, “Estate agents who use misleading prices in advertisements will be punished under a promised crackdown by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.” (The Sunday Age 25 October, 2009 p.5). According to the article,
“The REIV board has voted to ban member agents from using controversial “price plus” advertising practices (for example, $500,000-plus), which industry regulators have long regarded as misleading to home buyers.
A new code of conduct will require all REIV members to advertise and quote properties for sale using only a single price figure, a price range or no price.
The ban is expected to cover more than a dozen other misleading pricing terms such as “in excess of”, “opening bid”, “offers from” and “expect over”.
‘[This will be a positive for consumers and give some clarity and some consistency in the way that property prices are advertised,’ Mr Raimondo said.
…Consumer Affairs Victoria issued similar, but voluntary, price guidelines about two years ago, although they have been routinely ignored by the industry.”
How is it that Consumer Affairs Victoria can be “routinely ignored” while the REIV can introduce, and enforce its own new “laws”?
The answer is in the long standing tradition of real estate agents, the real estate industry, and REIV to tell lies. It is only through its ability to tell lies, and have those lies readily accepted by all and sundry, that the REIV will be able to maintain its role as lawmaker and enforcer. The REIV also relies heavily on journalists and other real estate industry participants to promote and comment favourably on the role of the REIV in “regulating” the industry.