Brisbane's sales market, Real Estate Marketing

Buyers beware – of being misled

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Real estate agents, in my humble opinion, are often wrongly cast as fibbers and cheats. A vast majority of us work hard, do the right thing and know that to be in this career for the long term we need to look after our clients.

But occasionally I’m reminded why a handful of idiots drag our industry back into the gutter.

A friend rang the other day, excited that he’d seen an apartment in a near-city suburb that looked like a great buy. From the description it sounded good value and it was close to cafes and a train station. But because we know inner-Brisbane well, my thoughts immediately turned to January’s flood levels. I came back to the office, double-checked the maps and rang to let them know that water had inundated that street.

But the advert didn’t mention it, nor did the agent when the buyer had called to book an appointment. Maybe the water missed this property, so my friends went ahead with the inspection today. They decided to wait for the agent to raise the issue, and after a thorough look through the apartment the conversation went something like this:

Buyer: “This looks great, new floor tiles and fresh paint?”
Agent: “Yep, looks good doesn’t it?”
Buyer: “Ok, anything else we need to know?”
Agent: “Nope, that’s pretty much it.”
Buyer: “What about the flood level in January?”
Agent: “Oh yeah… well yes the water came inside the apartment and (running his hand along a line on the wall 10cm from the floor) rose to about here”.

If confronted this agent might argue that he would have told them about the flood had they proceeded to make an offer. Maybe. But of course this buyer would have preferred to have known in advance so they could make a decision on inspecting or, at worst, have been told at the start of the inspection so they could see the place with a full understanding.

It was 6 months ago yesterday that Brisbane held its collective breath as the murky waters rose from the waterways. Plenty of homes were inundated and there are still buyers for them. Some of the discounts are not as bad as first feared. But covering the facts is childish and illegal.

What a shame January’s floods didn’t flush away more of our rubbish.