The REINZ and the protection of real estate agents.
Article originally published AUGUST 26, 2004 –Reviewed and approved.
By Neil Jenman
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ) – the organisation that protects real estate agents – has launched a savage attack against Australian consumer advocate Neil Jenman.
In a press release issued yesterday, the REINZ said, “We find it deplorable that this man is attempting to bring our industry into disrepute.”
The President of the REINZ, Graeme Woodley, said Jenman’s claims that “real estate is riddled with dishonesty” were “clearly nonsense”. Woodley had previously advised consumers not to “waste their money” by attending Jenman’s free talks in New Zealand.
It seems clear, however, that many New Zealand consumers are not listening to the REINZ. More than a thousand people turned-out in Auckland at Jenman’s first presentation of his Inside Secrets of Real Estate talk on Monday night. Another 800 have booked to hear Neil Jenman speak in Tauranga this evening.
Documents obtained by Jenman indicate that the REINZ is desperate to avoid new laws to protect New Zealand consumers. “Storm clouds gather in Victoria, NSW and Queensland,” said the REINZ to agents in May when referring to new consumer protection laws in those Australian states.
“They are terrified that consumer reforms occurring in Australia will be introduced in New Zealand,” said Jenman.
At his consumer talks, Jenman reveals the result of his investigations into New Zealand’s real estate industry. “The real estate scene here is far worse than I expected,” he said. “If these practices were going on in Australia, agents would face severe penalties.”
In New Zealand, all agents are required by law to belong to the REINZ. Agents are then forbidden by the REINZ from publicly criticising real estate methods. “I have seen cover-ups, gags and threats in Australia, but never anything as bad as this,” said Jenman. “Agents lips are sealed tight in New Zealand.”
A New Zealand agent yesterday confirmed Jenman’s cover-up claims, “If we spoke out about what went on, our businesses would face ruin,” he said. Another agent said he “could not risk hurting his business by speaking the truth.” Naturally, both agents declined to be named.
And a student who is currently studying to become a salesperson in New Zealand said he is being taught methods that “border on criminal”.
The REINZ says the purpose of Jenman’s visit to New Zealand is to “build his business” of having more ‘accredited’ Jenman agents. In reply, Jenman said, “If I wanted to help agents, I would speak to agents not consumers. My purpose in coming here is to help consumers.”
As for payment, Jenman says he is getting plenty – not in money, but in thanks from consumers. “I may be shocked at the savagery from the REINZ, but I am delighted with the public response.”
One Auckland resident wrote, “We applaud the work you are doing and wish you all the best in your quest to get the truth out there.”
The REINZ says “most New Zealanders recognise the value of dealing with a real estate agent.”
The commission rate in New Zealand is around four per cent, whereas the Australian rate is around two percent. In the United Kingdom, it’s commonly one per cent.
Are New Zealand real estate agents twice as good as Australia’s agents? And four times as good as British agents? Of course not. The message for Kiwi homeowners is this: Refuse to pay more than 2 per cent commission. Just say no.
PLEASE NOTE: Our focus is upon helping consumers. Abuse from agents on our web site or Facebook page will be deleted, ignored or well publicised – it depends on our mood.
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.