More lying on the beach in Queensland.
Article originally published DECEMBER 15, 2005 –Reviewed and approved.
By Neil Jenman
Once again, the annual Morgan poll says only one in ten Australians believe agents are honest.
Why can this be?
Ray White Agnes Water in Queensland provides a classic example of why we don’t trust agents. The agency is marketing 13.8 hectare of “absolute beachfront land” with “outstanding development potential”. Sounds good.
In its Memorandum of Information, the agency devotes an entire page to a disclaimer which says, in part: “Potential purchasers accept this document on the condition that they make their own inquiries … Ray White Agnes Water does not warrant that the information is true and correct.”
Here’s why. The marketing spiel – including the Internet, newspaper ads and the Memorandum of Information – glosses over (or completely ignores) three essential details: –
- Although the land is “absolute beachfront”, coastal protection laws prevent any building within 110 metres of the beach.
- A 5m-wide strip along the property’s road frontage – half an acre in total – will be lost to council road widening.
- There’s a creek, flood zone and “sensitive vegetation” on the land, which creates more areas where nothing can be built.
No mention of any of this on the Internet or newspaper ads.
The 16-page Memorandum of Information has three different aerial photos of a site with 106 metres of beach frontage and 489 metres of road frontage. But it doesn’t say anything about losing 2,445 square metres of land to council road widening. There’s nothing which says you can’t build on the beach frontage – or anywhere near the beach. And no mention of the flood zone where nothing can be erected or the vegetation that must be retained.
There’s one oblique ten-word reference for the most eagle-eyed readers: “Approximately 1.22 hectares may be affected by Coastal Protection laws.” That’s it.
Close questioning of Ray White salespeople reveals the detrimental detail, with most responses prefaced by “it appears”, “it seems” or “apparently”.
Queensland’s Fair-Trading Minister Margaret Keech has said that real estate is the second largest source of consumer complaints in Queensland.
Yep, lying on the beach in Queensland certainly has a double-meaning.
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But one thing will never vary: We will never stop doing what we love most – helping polite and honest consumers get the best deal possible in real estate. And, of course, if any agents are serious about taking care of consumers, we’ll help you too. Thank you.