by Peter Mericka B.A., LL.B
Real Estate Lawyer
Qualified Practising Conveyancer Victoria
Director Lawyers Real Estate Pty Ltd
There is little doubt that the real estate industry in Victoria is the most corrupt in Australia. This is largely due to the power and arrogance of the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV). The recent dismissal of Mr. John Keating from the REIV ethics committee is an example of the contempt the REIV has for ethical conduct, and for consumers generally.
In a front page article appearing in The Age newspaper, titled “Real estate rebel gets axe” (The Age, Saturday 13 March, 2010 p.1) journalist Marika Dobbin reports that a long-serving member of the REIV’s ethics committee has been dumped “because of his struggle against misleading price quotes“.
Estate agents are NOT valuers
The ongoing squabble over real estate appraisals can be summed up by referring to this sentence in Marika Dobbin’s article:
“Mr. Raimondo said the industry did not have a problem with underquoting, saying it was difficult to predict prices in the current market.”
The problem with real estate agents is that they receive no training whatsoever in valuing real estate. I have examined this problem in detail in a submission to the Estate Agents Council titled Modernising The Estate Agents Act 1980.
(See also “The Pricing Dilemma – An Agent’s View” by real estate agent Chris Warren, in which Warren concludes, “The only solution to my mind is for every owner to arrange their own independent valuation from a registered valuer. Then they have a price given to them in writing by a professional not involved in the sale of their property.”)
If, as REIV CEO Enzo Raimondo believes, it is difficult to predict prices in the current market, then why do real estate agents act beyond their competence? The answer is quite simple: real estate agents need to pass themselves off as valuers in order to control real estate transactions.
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