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22 October 2004

This is not a joke

Investment advice from a licensed agent.

In March this year, we were approached by a real estate agent and offered an off-the-plan townhouse in Doonside with the guarantee that we will be assisted by her throughout the process and that no money will go out of our pocket.

With the assistance of her recommended solicitor and her recommended finance consultant, we were persuaded to sign a contract for this property. The expected completion date was February 2005.

This is our first property investment.

The project is already completed and we were given notice to complete the purchase by 11 October 2004.

Because the valuation of the property turned out to be less than the purchase price we cannot put up the shortfall.

The real estate agent is on holidays so we have no one to talk to. We face the forfeiture amount of $38,500.00 representing 10% of the purchase price.

All we can do is cry.

My query is….Do I have a case? Should I contact a new solicitor to chase my real estate agent for her lies and the unthinkable amount of stress and unhappiness she has caused me and my family?

Unfortunately, you are one of thousands of buyers who have been stitched into poor investment deals by agents whose primary thought has been their commission from the developers, not your welfare.

The Real Estate Institutes create the impression that the people responsible for atrocious investment advice are not real estate agents, but seminar spruikers. The Institutes urge consumers to deal with licensed real estate agents which, of course, creates the erroneous impression that dealing with agents is safe.

Meanwhile, the Real Estate Institutes big-note about how they are “working with the government regulators to stop the seminar spruikers”.

Yes, the seminar spruikers have created enormous damage, but so, too, have real estate agents who dispense investment advice like confetti.

You should now approach a lawyer of your own choosing (as you should have done in the first place) and seek advice about whether you have a case for misleading and deceptive conduct.

You certainly won’t get much help from the real estate industry.

One of the biggest secrets in the real estate industry is that many of the worst spruikers are licensed agents who are members of Real Estate Institutes. And the Institutes are “working with” the government to clean up property spruiking.

It sounds like a joke. But it’s not.

It’s heartache for thousands of na├»ve and trusting consumers.

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