FALSE QUOTES FURY

What do agents hope to achieve?

I am looking to buy a property for around $300,000.

I found one advertised on the Internet for $290,000 by Philip Webb Real Estate. I arranged for an inspection.

However, I continued searching and found the same property advertised by another agent, Max Brown Real Estate, for $335,000.

I called the salesman at Philip Webb Real Estate and queried the difference (knowing full well that they had under-quoted).

The Philip Webb salesman (Paul English) said the other Agent was ‘unrealistic’ and that he had already received an offer of $308,000 but it was rejected.

The Philip Webb salesman didn’t understand why I was angry. I queried why the property wasn’t advertised for maybe $305,000 plus. He rattled on with the usual excuses.

I then cancelled my appointment with Philip Webb and said I would rather deal with Max Brown who obviously had a more honest view on the price of the property.

On speaking to Max Brown, I was told that the property was sold the week before for $325,000 but finance was rejected, therefore the property was back on the market and the sellers hadn’t lowered their price ($325,000).

Why is this under-quoting still happening? Why wasn’t Philip Webb Real Estate honest with me; and, knowing that my top price was $300,000, why waste my time and his getting me through the property?

What do agents hope to achieve by this underquoting?

I am so angry about this false advertising and time-wasting. Can anything be done about this?

A recent article in the Age cited one property source as saying that “underquoting is rife in up to 80 per cent of advertising in the residential market”.

One agent, Greg Hocking (of Hocking Stuart Real Estate) said that agents are blatantly abusing the law. To his credit, Hocking even admitted that his agents were not blameless.

There are two main reasons that agents under-quote the selling price of properties. The first is to attract more buyers and the second is to condition the sellers down in price (lots of buyers are attracted who can only afford the lower price and so the agents tell the sellers that the price has to be lowered).

Both reasons are morally indefensible, of course. Unfortunately few buyers can be bothered reporting this sort of dishonesty to the authorities; consequently, many agents continue to flout the law with impunity.

Meanwhile, Enzo Raimondo from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria rejects claims that under-quoting is a problem. Raimondo, it must be remembered, once claimed that he had never heard of dummy bidding.

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To view the dishonest quote, click here.

To view the honest quote (for the same property) click here.

To read the Age article, click here.

Footnote: The buyer has submitted a formal complaint to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about the conduct of Philip Webb Real Estate.

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