Albury real estate agent welcomes NSW underquoting laws

PRINCIPALS PREPARE: Ray White Albury's Sharon Jacka, pictured with Nigel Horne, of Hutton Real Estate, says new laws to stop underquoting are fair to buyers and sellers.
PRINCIPALS PREPARE: Ray White Albury's Sharon Jacka, pictured with Nigel Horne, of Hutton Real Estate, says new laws to stop underquoting are fair to buyers and sellers.

NEW NSW laws that aim to stop real estate agents understating house prices have been welcomed by a Border property principal.

Sharon Jacka, of Ray White Albury, said her staff had undergone training to be ready for the regulation changes, which came into effect on Friday.

“I think it's terrific that they've actually brought it in, I think it's very fair for purchasers and vendors,” she said.

NSW Fair Trading said an underquoting offence occurred if agents stated or published a house price less than their reasonable estimate of the property’s likely selling price contained in the agency agreement with the seller.

The new legislation contained clearer rules for agents, such as not providing understated or vague property prices, for example offers above $450,000.

Agents must be able to provide appropriate documentation to show they complied with the new laws.

Underquoting offences could attract fines of up to $22,000 as well as lost commission and fees earned from the sale of an underquoted property.

Mrs Jacka said people could be disappointed if they had prepared emotionally and financially to buy a property that had been underquoted.

“That is, you know, going through pest, building inspection, setting up finance, all of those things to find that they could be $50,000 or $100,000 away from buying a property,” she said.

“To level it all out now and having it formalised, agents will be accountable now, which I think it's time it has happened, definitely.”

Zelle director Philip Bell said the new laws would not require much change by his agency.

“Really it just reinforces best practice, we should all be doing that anyway,” he said.

Mr Bell said underquoting tended to be more common in Sydney sales rather than Albury.

“But I think with the rising market which we've had in the last 12 months, you see it, but it's not intentional necessarily,” he said. 

“If you're quoting figures on real estate in a rising market and then it goes and sells at auction here for $40,000 or $50,000 more than you've quoted, that's probably more just market forces rather than anyone intentionally doing anything incorrectly.”